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Termite Mounds & Teak Roots

It was a frigid morning in South Sudan—the guard was warming himself by a fire in the backyard, and I put on a long sleeve T-shirt to go for a run with my wife. How cold was it, you ask? It had dipped to 61 degrees! After living at 85-105 degrees, that truly does feel cold.

On our run, we run up and down the potholes, which, being dry season, are filled with powdery red clay dust which poofs up with each step. The air is filled with dust and smoke, as it so dry, and because people are burning the fallen teak leaves and baking mud bricks stacked in giant rectangular piles resembling Mayan temples.

We cross the main road, greet some men standing near the “boda boda” stage (the place where the motorcycle taxis pick up customers), and proceed to run a loop around the expansive tobacco warehouse which was recently built. It is a veritable fortress, with a paved street within the fence with several houses for the management, two immense metal buildings, and a separate entrance with a large metal gate where delivery trucks are seen coming and going. The entire square compound is enclosed with a high chain link fence with human barbed wire, and thorny bushes growing up just outside the fence. To circle it is nearly a mile in length

We cross back over the main road and enter a footpath in our community again. In places, the path is wide enough for a car to make its way through the dense teak forest—and sure enough, we come upon a well-built house with a metal roof, that has a small sports utility vehicle parked in front of it. We pass other homes that are simple thatch roofs and mud walls; some have painted a black border at the base of their home (as the rain splashes the dirt onto the lower 18 inches during rainy season). Some homes are very neatly painted, despite being made entirely of grass, mud, and sticks—a small tin of paint to cover a “tukul” like this costs 6 pounds at the local hardware store ($1.50 US).

As we make our way toward home, the trail becomes rougher, and we pass by some recently formed mud bricks still drying in the early morning sun. We run through the soft sandy soil, hopping over termite mounds and teak roots. Says Elizabeth, “this is true cross-country running!” So goes our early morning run in South Sudan during dry season.

Last Updated on Sunday, 02 March 2014 15:05

First Time Mothers in South Sudan

The 17 year old first time mother brought her 1 week old baby to clinic after delivering at His House of Hope. She complained of the baby having a fever. Our nurse had already evaluated her, and the vital signs and labs were normal. She was eating well and didn’t look sick. As I reviewed the case, I looked more closely at the baby, caught a knowing glance and poorly-concealed smile from the nurse, then began explaining to the mom in my broken Arabic that everything seemed normal, and perhaps she should dress her in lighter and less clothing especially during the afternoon—as the baby was wearing a long knit outfit and was wrapped in a heavy knit blanket, and it was at least 100 degrees outside. The young mother smiled and nodded appreciatively.

The day after reopening the hospital, our second labour patient arrived. Sadly, the woman was somewhere between 30-34 weeks in her first pregnancy, and our staff could not find a fetal heartbeat—even using ultrasound. Our missionary nurse and I stood back and talked, sad that this mother's first pregnancy should end in a death.  The nurse on duty easily handled the delivery. As we were conversing, the staff nurse suddenly exclaimed, “The baby is alive!” Sure enough, the tiny baby girl was breathing and even crying a little. Weighing only 1250 grams (2 lbs 12 oz) and appearing to be about 30 weeks gestation (7 months), she did remarkably well. Over the next 16 days, she struggled to maintain her body temperature and gain weight, but was then able to breastfeed and demonstrate she could eat on her own and continue to gain weight. This first time mother surprisingly went home with a healthy, albeit small, baby—when at first it did not seem she would.  We thank God for granting her life.

Last Updated on Sunday, 02 March 2014 19:07

Kawajas again

After a longer time away than we had intended, we are "kawajas" again-- back in South Sudan, where foreigners are called "kawaja" by the locals.  Gone are the past months of relatively blending in-- once again, we are noticed when we go out.  Especially now, as many foreigners have left and not yet returned to South Sudan.

We arrived back safely, without any serious difficulties, on January 25th.  The hospital, His House of Hope, reopened on Monday January 27th, and by the end of the first day there were 7 patients in the hospital, and 11 babies were born by Friday-- including 2 C-sections and one set of twins.  Almost all of our hospital staff have returned, and none were harmed-- though some had family and friends that were hurt or killed in the violence of the past month.

Life in the Perry home is also getting back to normal, with home schooling, chores, cooking meals, playing with friends at the orphanage, going to church, and encouraging one another in following Jesus.  

Last Updated on Saturday, 08 February 2014 06:41

Back to South Sudan

On January 25th, 2014, we head back to Yei, South Sudan.  His House of Hope Hospital for Women & Children is scheduled to open again on January 27 after closing on December 20, 2013 due to increasing fighting and instability in South Sudan.  

We have been in East Africa since January 4th, first attending a conference in Ethiopia, then getting visas and doing other business in Kampala, Uganda.  For the past week, we have been only 100 miles south of Yei, in Arua, Uganda.  We have completed additional security training, and sought the guidance of leaders under whom we serve in South Sudan.  In the midst of this, we feel that Jesus is leading us to return to South Sudan at this time.  Several factors had to come together-- including receiving our visas to return, finishing our security training, arranging a flight, and paying for it.  We also felt it would be a real bonus if a cease-fire was signed prior to re-entering the country.  God could have shut the door at any of these points along the way had He not wanted us to go back at this time.

Not only did all these logistical points come together this past week, but a cease-fire agreement was signed on January 23rd.  Our trust, however, is not in politics or agreements, but in the Lord who is sovereign over the kingdoms of men.  And we thank Him for leading us-- closer to Him... and back to South Sudan.

Last Updated on Friday, 24 January 2014 18:16

Return to East Africa: One week

As we have been making preparations for our return to South Sudan in January, we have been saddened to hear of fighting along tribal divisions in the army of South Sudan. Our sending agency, Pioneers, and the ministry of Harvesters have been closely monitoring the situation there, and up until December 20th, they felt it was safe for the missionaries in Yei to remain. We were on the phone with our teammates on the ground in South Sudan last week, getting the latest from those in the midst of it. Last Friday, however, our missionary team met, prayed and felt the time had come to close down the hospital and leave for Uganda. They were scheduled to leave on January 2 for a conference in Ethiopia, but felt it was prudent to follow the advice of many to evacuate at this time.

Elizabeth and I have both sensed from the Lord that we are to return to East Africa, but we are uncertain in what capacity and place He will use us. Our hearts long to return immediately to the people of South Sudan and the work of which we were a part of beginning together with the team at His House of Hope Hospital-- but this may not be what God has for us right now. He is Sovereign, and He alone knows the outcome of this situation. We DO know that His goal is not any particular work, but that we and the people of South Sudan know Him Himself.

With that in mind, the guidance we are both sensing is to still plan to leave the US on January 2, fly to Ethiopia, and attend the conference with the rest of our team. We will then proceed to Uganda and reassess the situation for the people and our return to South Sudan (January 11-16). Historically, missionaries seeking to serve the people of South Sudan have spent a considerable amount of their time doing so from the neighboring countries of Uganda and Kenya (there are many refugees who reside there). Perhaps we are entering a time such as this; or, perhaps the Lord will allow continued progress within South Sudan for the sake of those who know suffering too well.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 December 2013 21:06

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Our Mission:

Share the gospel of Jesus Christ and strengthen His Church through medical care and education, discipleship, and loving the people of South Sudan as a family.

 

Exciting Bridge Jeff and Elizabeth had to cross
Filtering water one bottle at a time
Moyo District - our new home
Our property with Mango and Avacado trees and a soccer area for kids to play once we mow.
Hazel in our new kitchen.  Here you have to provide everything:  cabinets, counters, applicances
Exciting Bridge Jeff and Elizabeth had to cross
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