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Saturday in the life of the Perryclan

Maybe it feels a bit cooler because we have not been in air conditioning for over 2 months and are therefore adjusting to the heat, or maybe it actually is a bit cooler today because it's overcast and raining off & on.  Saturday is our favorite day here on the Harvesters' compound-- the children of the orphanage are not in school, so we get to spend more time together!  Here is a taste of our day on August 27, 2011...

Elizabeth and I get up while it is still dark, between 5 and 6, and use our battery-powered lamps to read Scripture, pray, and journal.  I call my mom on the cell phone (since the power is out, we have no internet to use Skype) and we actually connect-- it is still Friday evening for them.  We have a good chance to talk about some health issues she is facing (please pray).  The children gradually awaken and occasionally come out to check on us (and we send them back to their room).  The children at the orphanage awaken at 6 to the sound of the bell, then the singing for chapel begins at 6:40, which we can faintly hear from our house.

We start our day with a single pancake each, then most our children eagerly head out to find the other children at their chores.  Some are picking maize, some are washing their clothes in plastic tubs, others are mopping off the cement porches, and still others are "slashing" the grass... yes, the slashers are sharp as one boy can attest to, after a fourth stitch (Vicryl, figure eight) had to be placed a day after he was cut on the chin, as it was still bleeding!  I (Jeff) stay home for a while, trying to arrange for a driver for our upcoming trip to Kampala, Uganda, where we will attempt to purchase a vehicle and establish contracts with medical suppliers for the hospital, His House of Hope.  Sophia also stays behind to wash breakfast dishes-- we are blessed to have a dishwasher, and today that blessing is named Sophia!!  When we are done, we head out of our gate and toward the main compound to find the others.

I find Elizabeth talking with James B., one of the older boys that we enjoy so much, and several other older girls, as Hazel and Given "help" some of the children wash their clothes; Olivia is behind the dormitories picking and shucking maize with about 10-15 children; Logan is slashing grass with his friend Thomas; Lillie is playing with a group of kids in the playground; Winnie is being held by one of the older girls; Eva is mopping and cleaning with some of the girls.  (Follow the tab marked Gallery above to see pictures!)

I meet up with John, who is a gifted artist, and we head over to His House of Hope / Bet Eman to look at the signs that have been prepared by a recent group from the US.  We talk about how the writing should look and what it should say, and he begins work penciling in the lettering.  I then go to talk with some of the young men who work here on Saturdays, most of whom now live on their own just across the road, after leaving the orphanage.  Logan joins me then, and we begin slashing the grass around our house.

At noon, all of the Perry clan meets up at the house for a lunch of rice, beans, cabbage salad, and pineapple.  This is our time to reconnect in the midst of a day spent with the 155 children from the orphanage!  After lunch, Winnie and Given go to rest time, while the others spend a quiet 1-2 hours in the house.  Four older girls stop by to work with Elizabeth on a sewing project they have been working on the past few Saturdays-- aprons for the cooking staff!

Elli, a German missionary whose husband is the administrator for another medical clinic, stops by with several trees for us to plant-- avacado and meringa.  James B. has also stopped by, and he helps me plant these trees, along with Samuel, our guard (they all know far more than we do about local plants).  As we finish, some of the work crew comes by as they have finished their work day.  We discuss some medical ailments they have had (no HIPAA concerns here-- privacy is not a huge concern), and one of them walks with me over to the orphanage clinic and I give him some medications.  James and I then take some "rubbish" (trash or garbage in American English) we picked up in the yard to the pit near the edge of the compound, which smells badly and coincides with what I imagine the valley just outside Jerusalem where they threw trash must have been like.

Back at the house, Elizabeth continues sewing and discipleship with the girls, right up until five o'clock!  It has been a sleepy afternoon and is lightly raining, so we have to wake up the youngest two.  Dinner at five is a repeat of lunch, but we eat in the pyat ("meeting place" in Juba Arabic), for we have prayer meeting at 5:45.  Most of our children go to the boys' and girls' meetings held in the school classrooms, while Elizabeth and I head to the church with Olivia and our 2 youngest.  We love this time.  Sylvia, one of the older girls, leads out in a mixture of English and Arabic praise songs.  "Bi wala, bi wala, nur ta Yesua bi wala"-- (Shine, shine, the light of Jesus shines...) We then break into groups and begin praying for the different tribal groups in South Sudan: Dinka, Nuer, Tama, and others... as well as the global church.  It is wonderful to pray for and alongside people of different tribes and tongues... any given meeting at church involves 2-3 tribal languages plus Juba Arabic and English!  We close by praying for the church service that will happen the next day.

It is nearing 7PM, and it is getting dark.  Here near the Equator, it is light from 7-7, with little change during the year.  And here, when it gets dark, you go inside--because for one, it is very dark here (no city lights around!), and two, the mosquitoes come out--and with them, the risk of malaria.  Inside, we start filling plastic tubs (the same used by our house helper to wash our clothes) for the kids' baths.  Back in the US, we bathed our kids 1-2 times a week, but here where there is much dirt and no "tarmac" (asphalt), we do it 1-2 times a day!

The generator finally kicks on for the evening run to charge the batteries for the compound and provide power for the well pumps.  As we notice our water pressure is down a bit, I go outside with a flashlight, unlock the well house, and switch the pump on.  I stand there for about 15 minutes as the tank fills, as the sky grows black and the stars come out.  I can hear the sounds of our children in the house playing after their baths, as all of our windows remain open most of the time.  Across the back fence, through some teak trees, I can see the dim outline of Bet Eman (the clinic/hospital) under construction.

We meet in the living room and practice our memory verse (John 3:16 in Juba Arabic) and read more of the biography of Eric Liddell (Olympic sprinter and missionary).  After praying for the children, we begin tucking them in their mosquito nets and trying to get them to stay in their beds!  Bedtime is not as smooth as it used to be in the US.  We take our showers to rinse off the accumulated sweat and dust of the day (which doesn't bother us quite as much as it first did).  Elizabeth and I are tired, but we try to call a friend on his birthday (Happy Birthday, Tom!), chat briefly with another friend in New Orleans by Skype, and try to call her parents through Skype as well.  After tucking in our net, turning our fan on for some moving air, and turning off the light, we drift quickly off to sleep.

A missionary, originally from Sudan, now back serving here, says that "life in South Sudan is hard on the flesh, but good for the soul."  We agree.  And we thank God for the privilege of sharing life with the people here.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 March 2013 19:16

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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.


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