“Our Lord Jesus didn’t ask us to remember His birth. We’re not even sure of the exact date. But He did tell us to remember His sacrificial death on the Cross for our sins. This is the center-point of all history – His story! Three days and three nights later He arose victoriously from the grave! Paul said, “For me, to live is Christ.” Phil. 1:21 Trust Him as your Savior and let Him live His resurrected life in terms of your humanity. Happy Easter!” Bill Bathman, ITMI Founder
“IT IS WRITTEN…”
In Touch Monthly Newsletter, April 2009
Sudan is one of the many examples of man’s failure to be at peace with his neighbor because, ultimately, man is at war with God. Sudan has been devastated from every side: in the south by false claims put forth by a demon-possessed Acholi tribesman, Joseph Kony and his so-called LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army), a quasi-Muslim gang based in northern Uganda. Kony uses kidnapped teenagers to spread terror in a 3-state area. Arab Muslims from the north continue to crush black Muslims in Darfur. This ongoing outrage recently prompted the International Criminal Court to issue an arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir, the President of Sudan.
It was into this situation that ITMI Director Steve Evers and First Baptist Church Missions Deacon Bob Fulkerson traveled on the second leg of their African journey. Landing on the dirt airstrip outside of Mundri, the MAF plane was guided safely in by beacons of smiling children who lined the intersection of the main north-south road which bisects the east-west runway, thus preventing trucks from driving through!
ITMI Project Partner Vicky Waraka led the proceedings like a true mother figure, full of wise directions to her young helpers as she organized on the spot the caravanning of supplies and guests into town.
Less than 3 hours after landing, Steve and Bob attended a mid-afternoon church service in the town cathedral. With no A/C unit or fans temperatures inside reached 100 degrees. The row of open windows could not dissipate the heat quickly enough from the auditorium’s brick walls and the concrete benches that serve as pews. So Steve taught the first lesson of the SALT discipleship material he brought with him to about 20 residents who met outside under the shade of a mango tree.
Over the next few days, Steve taught several more SALT lessons to a growing audience of eager listeners. By the end of the seminar, the size of the original group had doubled. Many attendees wrote letters of thanks to Steve, Bob, and the supporters of this project. One man gave special thanks to the elderly on fixed incomes whom he believed had sent Steve and Bob over to Mundri. He wrote: “Thanks to the poor persons/women who sacrificed themselves to offer their treasury so that this workshop training reached to us in order to know the Truth of the Bible spiritually. May God bless them with all their belongings.” Another said, “Before this seminar I felt rejection due to my failures. But now I could see God’s love and acceptance of me, because I believe in his word of how wide-high-deep is His love for me. I thank God for the partners that have funded for this seminar. We hope to see our facilitators again.”
When people are taught the truth of what God says, the devil lurks about looking for an opportunity to prove God a liar through methods ofargument or annihilation. And so, the harsh reality of Satan’s activity in the area displayed itself during the closing ceremony of the seminar with the arrival of truckloads of wailing terror victims. Just a few days prior to this, rebel leader Joseph Kony and his soldiers snuck into Mundri County burning villages and butchering people along the way, in a path of destruction that snaked its way through the borders of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Southern Sudan.
When word got out that survivors of the attacks were trying to make it to safe haven in the town of Mundri, the leaders of the diocese sent a convoy of rescue trucks to pick up any survivors – and soon found itself in the midst of an ambush only 30 miles away! These “rescue rangers” were able to bring back survivors – including children, although they incurred casualties as a result of the ambush. In addition to the tragic loss of life and property, Kony’s forces abducted 9 girls and 10 boys between the ages of 9 and 13. For more details on this attack and others in Mundri County, visit our web page under Projects/Sudan.
To stop the violence and injustices that are so commonplace in Third World countries, rebels must be divinely re-made by the power of God’s Spirit and His Word. The next day, began one of the more critical phases of the Sudan trip. With the help of Steve and some new digital recording equipment, Vicky began to translate the Gospel of John into the Moru dialect, which is the everyday language in the Mundri home and marketplace.
Even more important is the fact that the Moru dialect is a vocal language and not a written one. Our goal at ITMI is to put a modest 100 solar-powered MP3 players, with certain books of the Bible translated by Vicky into the hands of rural villagers, especially village chiefs who will gather the community together to hear the word of God. These particular MP3 players are loaded with proprietary software that prevents them from being recorded over or erased. At $100 each, the potential to reach the Moru with “what God said” versus “what the world says” is enormous! Our plan is to send Steve and Bob back, fully armed with 100 Moru MP3 players, to personally hand out these priceless treasures to the local people in partnership with our own Vicky Waraka.
Consider how our Lord Jesus overcame the devil when tempted in the Judean desert. He answered Satan’s temptations with, “It is written…” We, too, can equip a largely illiterate people to say the same to the devil – in their mother tongue. A beautiful sentence in Revelation awaits translation into the Moru dialect and it says this: “They overcame him (the devil) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” Rev 12:11 We know the sweetness that comes from our salvation by the blood of the Lamb. What “word of testimony” informs and encourages us, along with the Moru people, not to deny our Lord even in the face death?
“It is written…”
May God’s eternal, infallible, and inerrant word move us to partner with Him!
Jeff Black – Tempe, Arizona