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Letter from My Missionary friend in The Sudan


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Here is the latest email from my friend who is now a missionary in The Sudan:


Hello Friends,

Khartoum is many different cities all in one. It is an ancient place with 1000's of years of history. The two Nile rivers converge here: the White Nile coming from Lake Victoria in Uganda and the Blue Nile descending from the Ethiopian highlands and winding it's way across the plains of Sudan.


Khartoum consists of 5 million people, 2 million of which are from the non-Arab south or west. The ruling people group is descended from the Arab Muslims who inhabit most of North Africa. They represent the elite class who control religious, government, and business affairs. Befitting their wealth, they live in magnificent walled compounds. Many are three-stories high with asymmetrical tiled verandas and courtyard fountains to beat the ferocious heat.


However, today our destination was on the outskirts of Khartoum, in a sprawling suburb of mud-brick homes and rude streets. This is a decidedly middle-class area of tin-roofed, mud-brick homes that have running water and electricity. Pastor Peter Ombonyo had invited us "to come and pray with them in the church". Two men from the church, Budier and Yunis, came early in the morning to guide us to the church. We heard the choir singing from outside, but I could tell the words were not Arabic.


The service was done entirely in Shilluk, but by watching body language and the reactions of people, we got the gist of what was going on. We loved the music. They actually had drums and guitars! We were surprised to see our friend Budier playing the electric guitar! I loved it because the songs were not imports of Western praise music as is so often the case. These are Sudanese songs sung by Sudanese people in their own language - the language they think in.


Let me diverge for a second. In SIM training we were told half-jokingly that a missionary must be ready to Preach, Pray, or Die at a moment's notice. Well, two out of three notices came today, and since I'm writing this you can tell we did not die!


When the praise time was over, Pastor Peter leaned over to me and said "Do you have a text that you want us to read?" Uhhh, okay. In two separate conversations about our visit today there had been no mention of preaching. "Nehemiah 2:17", I blurted out. Peter just sat there as if to say, just one verse? So, I hurriedly picked out the surrounding verses to give it some context. A glance to my right - Beverly is looking at me with wide eyes. I guess I am preaching in about 30 seconds.


Fortunately, God had given me a few hours of insomnia the night before so I had found my brain wandering to my memory verse. I am trying to memorize a few verses about leadership so about 3am I had time to meditate on Nehemiah's challenge "Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem." Nehemiah is a perfect study of leadership in rebuilding, which is the challenge of Sudan right now. There are so many parallels between the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the rebuilding of south Sudan. And to be perfectly honest, I knew we would speak to the church, but I did not really expect to preach.


So, I talked about Nehemiah. I don't know if it was familiar to them because (as Peter informed me in a whisper) the Shilluk Old Testament is not finished and they can't read it in their own language. I talked about the leadership vision Nehemiah had been given, and how he was only a servant to the king, not a king himself. I drew parallels between the destruction of Jerusalem and the rubble that remains of their own homeland. I talked about how 21 years of civil war has affected our minds, our hearts, and our will--the things that represent the image of God in us. Hopefully it made sense and will be used in some way by the Holy Sprit.


After the sermon, we were treated to some baptisms. I don't mean treated in the sense of entertained but just happy to see such obedience. Over the last year in Kurmuk we had not seen many baptisms. This was Beverly's favorite part of our visit. About 10 young people had been through a class to learn what it means to be baptized as Jesus commanded. They recited their creeds in Shilluk and then one by one they came and knelt on a burlap sack in front of the church. Water was poured from a blue pitcher onto their forehead as a pastor baptized them "in the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit". All the kids seemed to flinch as the water cascaded over the forehead and down their faces, and I realized that they are not accustomed to swimming or even holding their breath. If they had grown up in their homeland they would be playing in rivers instead of the dusty suburbs of Khartoum.


After each baptism, the church burst into applause and ululations. The new communicant was given a candle. Afterwards, they showed honor to their parents by giving their candle to their mothers. The mothers lifted their candles and sang. The eldest grandmother came to the front and danced for joy in front of everyone. There were smiles all around. We found out later that this grandmother had survived a recent surgery to remove one kidney - she had many reasons for joy.


Then came the second "notice"! Pastor Peter stood before the congregation and announced that "our sister" will pray for the still-moist young people. He turned and gestured to Beverly. A bit surprised but always a true missionary, she stepped up and prayed a wonderful prayer of thanks for their learning, their discipleship, and their witness to the younger children who were watching everything.


_Prayer Requests_

It's been a busy first week in Khartoum, but we are getting the hang of running the guest house and also are so blessed with new friends. Please pray that we would find Arabic tutors and arrange our schedule to really buckle down and study. Also, please pray for Beverly's energy during her 2nd trimester. She continues to be well, but it is a struggle being pregnant in 45degC heat (understatement of the year). [Note: 45degC is 113degF]


With love from Khartoum, missing you all,

Chris and Beverly Crowder

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how long are they staying over there?????????


I dont know. Chris is an engineer and worked for our company for several years. His wife Beverly, is an RN. They decided to sell their very nice home in Franklin, TN, and all of their possessions and move to The Sudan. They felt a calling to "take of their crosses" and become missionaries. I have talked about them before. I have known alot of Christians in my life, but none like them.

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I dont know. Chris is an engineer and worked for our company for several years. His wife Beverly, is an RN. They decided to sell their very nice home in Franklin, TN, and all of their possessions and move to The Sudan. They felt a calling to "take of their crosses" and become missionaries. I have talked about them before. I have known alot of Christians in my life, but none like them.



Ya, i've read all the posts but just never thought to ask how long they were stayin, actually thought they'd be back by now........but when ya sell all your stuff and go, that prolly means awhile....and hangin with Muslims to boot.....THAT'S FAITH.... :D

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His wife is pregnant now. I would be up out of there on the next thing smokin if I was in his shoes. But I would have never done what he did either. As a matter of fact, I told him he was insane when he told me he was qutting his cushy job with a very nice salary, and moving to The Sudan to be a missionary. I cant imagine doing anything like that.

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