Sunday, March 28, 2010

dads & daughters

you all know i think curtis is the best dad ever... he is wonderful with the girls! he's got some competition here, though... a single dad who read to his daughter every night for 3218 consecutive nights! through travelling, teenage years, her dating (and his!)...this is worth the 5 minutes it will take you to read it!

one more week of lent! whoohoo! next sunday i'll be back for good... until next year, probably, when i'll do it again. :) i have lots to talk about, so i'll see you next week!

Monday, March 01, 2010

from kristina

This letter was received today by mom's friend and student at asbury, Gary. It speaks for itself.

Dear Gary,

It is I Kristina. I pray Jesus is still holding your close in his mighty hands and I look forward to the time you will return to Sudan and I will see you again. Your prayers and letters are a source of the love of God to me. I feel now I want to tell you my story. When the Arabs attacked my village in 1998, they raped and killed my mother. My 2 sisters they also raped and then they, along with my brother were tied to the back of their horses and taken away as slaves. I have not seen them again. I was only about four years old, but I remember very well what they did to my mother and family.
My father was a doctor, and he tried to help our soldiers. But when the Arabs killed my mother, he took me and ran far away to Ethiopia. He was a good man and tried to keep me safe. But we traveled for many months by footing, and so many people died along the side of the road. I remember when my father would get tired and have to put me down, I was always tripping over the dead people because my legs were too small to lift them high over the piles of bodies.
We stayed in Ethiopia until the war reached there, too. So then my father ran with me trying to get back to our village. He hoped maybe it would be safe there by then. It took us many more months of footing, and I almost drowned as we crossed many of the rivers. They were so rough and my father was starting to go a little mad so he couldn’t hold onto me very well anymore. Finally, we made it back to Nyamlel, but shortly after that he died.
Some grown men helped me to bury him, but then they left me alone. I heard them say, “There are simply too many orphans to worry about this one.”
But, “this one” was me, and I was worried.
I laid alone on top of my father’s grave for many days just waiting for the hyenas to eat me, or to starve to death so that I would not be alone anymore, but with my mother and father. After some days, I grew tired of crying and began to go out into the bush looking for leaves to eat. I ate them, but they made me so sick that I just crawled back on top of my father’s grave.
Then one day a man came walking by. He found me sitting on my father’s grave. He told me his name was James Lual Atak; he asked me my name and where my parents were. I told him they were dead and I was alone. He said, “Come follow me. I will take you to New Life Ministry (NLM), and if you will follow the way I teach you, you will grow strong and you will not be alone anymore.”
I did not know what was NLM, but I wanted to grow strong and not be alone anymore, so I went with him.
At first, we didn’t have any proper food, but James Lual Atak taught us the right way. He taught us to pray. He taught us to read and to write, and then one day Mama Kimberly came to visit us.
All I remember about her the first time I met her is that she kept crying. I thought, “This woman will never be able to help us because she is always crying.”
But then she left and she returned after many months later and you were with her. You also cried and I wondered about your people. I did not understand why you had come. Lual Atak told us when you left, you left us money for food. Since that day, the food has never stopped. Even now that we are so many---500 orphans---the food never stops. I read in the Bible about Manna; I think it is like that. Only now we get “pigeons,” too, because we have a weekly bull slaughter for meat.
I read your letter to us how you told me about how many people in America pray for me and all my friends here at NLM. It also told me that you are the ones who send the money so that we can eat every day, learn about God and His only Son Jesus, and have a safe home to live in.
Sometimes, I still go visit my father’s grave where I used to sleep, and I feel sad. I am glad I don’t live there anymore. I know that he doesn’t live there either, but He lives with Jesus, where I will one day, too.
Thank you for loving all of us orphans, and for raising us up properly!