Day 1 (Friday): After a long journey from the states involving four planes and a few hours of sleep, we arrived in the capital city just after 3PM. We met up with our previous translator and our translator for this trip and got out of the airport as quick as possible. (It tends to be a bit hectic there with all the taxis and customs). We went to the guesthouse for a bit to put our things down and then Brenden and I went with our translator to run a few errands for our week. After this, we went to the "American Rec Center" for dinner (a 2-hour process). When we got back to the guesthouse, we were greeted with the electricity being out. Not looking so good for sleep (since it was 100 degrees in our room) we were a little discouraged. However, after about 30 minutes the electricity came back on and then a little bit later it rained really hard, cooling down pretty quick. All of us were able to get some good sleep.
Day 2 (Saturday): The long journey to the village, was made even longer today, when the 5-hour bus ride turned into a 7.5 hour ride, due to the fan in the bus breaking and us having to wait for another bus. We arrived in the 2nd city 2.5 hours late which meant we had to skip lunch to be able to get to the village before dark. After running errands in town to pick up some of the members of our partner church, groceries for the week and our supplies, we finally headed to the village, arriving just at dark. Since we arrived so late there wasn't much we could do but take bucket baths and wait for dinner which was finally served around 9PM. As soon as we finished, we set up camp and promptly went to bed.
Day 3 (Sunday): Last night, I had many dreams that I can't really remember the details of, but one "dream" that I discovered was reality was when I woke up to find a big black cow, just about to step on my head. After making some noises for it to leave, I was able to fall back asleep. Which was good, considering I woke up about sunrise when I heard some of the villagers already at work. After having breakfast (coffee and tea) we went to church. This time they met in the school because there were so many people, but in previous weeks they have been meeting under a tent.
The service was amazing! If you have never sat in a service in multiple languages, you should. This particular service consisted of four languages. The pastor taught in Galatians 5:16-26 and it was very challenging and encouraging. Our team was asked to sing a song in English, as well as, pray a couple different times throughout the service. At the end of the service, there was a time of prayer for those that were sick and we prayed over about 8 different women and kids who had anything from coughs to muscle pains. We closed out the service with prayer and pastor taught an additional class after on baptism for those that need to be baptized. We were able to rest during this time (and eat lots of mangos)!
Brenden - Noah (No-we)
Travis - Isaac (Isaacka)
Seth - Abraham
Spencer - Joel (Jo-el)
While we were resting, some of the believers gave our guys the African names above which was fun. Later in the afternoon, we went to greet one of the believers who no longer goes to church, as well as, the old chief's family and the new chief.
Day 4 (Monday): This morning started a little earlier with the sunrise waking us up about 6A. After putting up camp, we waited for one man to come visit who said he would, but when he didn't show up, we went into the village to pray and share stories.
The first house we were able to share stories at, showed quite a bit of interest. They asked some really good questions and had good discussion. One lady asked how Jesus raised people from the dead and how he was raised himself. After some discussion they seemed to understand Jesus to be the Son of God. After this house, we sat under a tree with about 10 men, 8 women and a lot of children. Once again, we were able to tell stories. One question that came up here was: if you become a believer, and your father asks you to sacrifice to idols, what do you do? Pastor was able to speak on this matter and told a very relevant cultural example. In this same group, one man asked us to pray for him and his family to understand and accept Christ. The last house we visited in the morning, led to the conversion of a very sick old woman.
In the evening, I was able to sit with Abraham and Pastor and encourage them and ask how we could pray for their ministry and the churches. They would like for us to pray for many others in the church in the city to want to share their faith, for leadership to be raised up in the village of Carraba, and for the believers in Donna. Also, they asked that we pray for the church's land in Carraba as they were given land but someone has built houses on it and they don't know exactly how to handle the situation. They were very thankful, as I was able to give them the bible stories on SD Cards that they can put in their phones and listen to. They send all their greetings back to America. It was a great time of catching up and sharing our hearts on ministry among the B people.
Day 5 (Tuesday): This morning we were able to have two different story sessions, one with a lot of men and another with a lot of women (one woman we prayed for at the end is currently pregnant but has had many miscarriages and asked us to pray that this baby will be healthy). They all had some really good questions and we enjoyed being able to discuss with them what it means to follow Jesus. There was one man at the first story group, that was very interested and Aaron gave him one of the SD Cards to continue to learn more. We have encouraged all of them to follow up with us or Aaron, Abraham or Pastor. Please pray for understanding of God's word and courage to speak up.
Day Six (Wednesday): Today was hard to say our goodbyes in Carraba, as we have definitely experienced family with the believers here this week, but it is time for us to go to visit Donna. After a long day on the road (with a few stops in the big city), we arrived in Donna to be greeted by our friend Saul. However, on the way, we were informed that since our last visit to this village a false prophet has come and led him and others away from the true faith. We knew we were going to have to have some difficult discussions with him during this time, so we all spent some time in prayer over this. After arriving, Pastor asked if we could stay someone that had shelter in case of the rain. (Forgot to mention that our last night in Carraba it started raining at 5A and we all had to move inside). We did not have any discussions on his night since it is customary to let your guest rest when they arrive from a long journey.
Day Seven (Thursday): Since we were unable to discuss with Saul his new beliefs last night, when he arrived to greet this morning Pastor made sure he stuck around to discuss. A little while later the chief arrived and we were able to share stories with the chief, Saul and one other man. They admitted that they know the guy they were following was a false prophet and wanted to discuss the differences. After a long discussion, they left. However, Abraham and Pastor did not feel well about Saul as he had not made a decision to follow the right path, so we went to visit him at his house. He then truly admitted that he was following the wrong way and asked what he could do to go right. We encouraged him to read his bible, and pray everyday. He said he wants to and will try to go to another close village to go to church. After this, we asked for the road and headed out for the city. We are looking forward to an afternoon of rest, showers and getting prepared to head home.