"Whats in the bag" the police demanded?
"I have no idea" I replied
"Who’s bag is it?"
"I have no idea", my stomach twisting in knots....
They emptied the bag in front of me and my face turned white, I was in big trouble....
I was leading a team of Kenyan doctors and nurses as well as some visitors from the UK and Germany, to run a medical outreach in a remote location in South Sudan. One of our dreams is to see our missionaries full funded, supported and encouraged by the local Kenyan church. This team of doctors is one step closer towards realising that dream.
It was so great seeing the teams eyes opened to the amazing work God is doing out here in South Sudan. Thousands of people who have never encountered the gospel are turning to Christ. Their eyes are being opened and for the first time in what feels like millennia - there is transformation taking root. (Check out the video at the bottom)
The medical team working into the night
The team was able to treat many people over the course of the outreach. The majority of these people tested positive for maleria and had illnesses caused by de-hydration. We treated people with cuts and even bullet wounds. TB was another illness we saw that seemed so horrible. From what I could understand the TB over time had caused the bones to rot resulting in the flesh all over the back to break out in sores and puss. The typical treatment required 6 months to 1 year of strong antibiotics. This treatment might just cure the TB but would not treat any damage done to the bones or flesh. The Dr said unless a miracle happens there is no hope for these cases, they will be dead in a few weeks to months.
We also saw many hydroceles, where mens testicles had swollen to the size of a small watermelons, not directly painful, but causing discomfort and some pain. In the middle of one of the nights we were called as an elder of the village had just had a hernia where his intestines has slipped and were protruding out down his leg. Dr Geofry, the family physician, was able to massage this back into back into the correct place. I should say that without this intervention the man would have died, it might sound dramatic but having no access to health care is the situation out here.
TB 'rotting' though the back
As we were heading back to Kenya, two men asked for a lift to the next market town, some 40km away. Now I should make it clear that GFI has a policy that does not allow us to carry hitchhikers. However I had worked a bit with these men and thought I knew who they were, if I did not help them the poor guys would have to carry out the 80km round trip on on foot. So I told them to hop in the back....
A few hours later....
We pulled up at the border, and had finished all the paper work in record time. I was shocked nothing was stoping us from leaving .... or so I thought....
Just as I jumped back in the vehicle a security guard asked to have a look through our belongings, I was a little annoyed, wondering why he couldn't have done it while we were waiting for all the paper work, instead of holding us up now. But oh well, this is just how things are out here. They went though all our bags and belongings, asking questions about this and that, before they stoped mid sentence.
"Whats in this bag" they demanded?
"I have no idea" I replied
"Who’s bag is it?"
"I have no idea" I replied, my stomach twisting in knots....
They emptied the bag in front of me and my face turned white, I was in big trouble.
Some how there was a old beaten up bag that I had never seen before sitting in front of me, in fact if I hadn't seen them remove it from the car I wouldn't have believed it came from the car and was perhaps planted.
I was taken to a small office where they sat me down and turned the bag upside down, in my gut I already knew what is was before I saw it. BULLETS...
Now if you have done any travel at all, you will know that carrying certain items over international boarders is a big no no. With somethings like fruit or soil, you might get away with a small telling off. But when it comes to other things you're looking at a whole new world of pain. I was thinking to my self this has got to be in the top ten list of big no nos.
They left the room to talk and I snuk a quick text to my wife to pray.
When they came in they were fairly rough and harsh, telling me that I would get 2 years in jail per bullet (there was more than 1) and really just trying to rattle me. Fortunately the Lord helped me to keep my cool and just reason with them. After some time another person joined the group, by Gods grace he was a local Imigration officer who knew me, and knew our work. He was my person of peace that was able to advocate on my behalf.
After some time and a good telling off I was released to carry on with our journey.
I'm sure there is a sermon or two in there somewhere but by Gods grace the situation didn't escalate. THANK-YOU JESUS.
I wasn't able to get a prayer request out on my WhatsApp this time, but prayer is the fuel behind what we do, and we need a lot of it.
If you would like to get on my WhatsApp prayer list, to pray for us in times like this please let me know and I will add, you believe me we need all the faithful prayer partners we can get out here.
God is good, and his mercy endures forever.
Check out some clips I pulled together of this outreach....
A longer video from the out reach
A short video from the out reach