Lots of people have been part of Rosebank Union Church over the 100 plus years of her existence. It’s interesting to meet people who are no longer a part of our church and to discover what they are doing with their lives.
Earlier this month, Leigh and I had the privilege of attending the SIM Southern Sudan spiritual life conference (SLC). We went thinking that the only person we knew was the one who invited us, Claire Inoue, whom we met while pastoring Central Baptist Church in Victoria, Canada.
To our surprise and delight, an ex-Rosebank Union girl was part of the missionary team. Vicki Beattie and her family, Americans who lived in Johannesburg from 1974 to 1980, attended Rosebank for some of that time. Vicki shared that her time in South Africa had a great spiritual impact on her and she has fond memories of attending SALT–the young adults group at Rosebank at the time.
Vicki became a nurse, and while attending URBANA ’84 (one of the largest student missionary conferences in the world), she had a desire to return to Southern Africa, using her nursing skills to reach people for Christ. She worked in Zambia with AEF/SIM before joining SIM/Sudan, doing community health outreach with TB/leprosy patients. Vicki is fulfilling her desire to disciple and equip the Sudanese people.
Leigh and I were struck with the youthfulness of this team of 42 missionaries. There was only one other couple in our age group with everyone else being much younger.
One of the six people from Nagaland, India, was Asule Angami, who incidentally knows 6 languages! When asked why she chose to come to Sudan to do missionary work, she replied that she wanted to go to a hard place. “I wanted to go where people don’t just want to be comfortable.”
Sudan is probably one of the hardest places to be a missionary–unbelievable heat, sand, loneliness, and danger.
A young woman who studied hairdressing in Canada, is ministering alone in an isolated region of Southern Sudan and seeing remarkable things happen. There is an amazing openness to the Gospel among these people who have suffered so much and one of the Darfur converts in a refugee camp told her that “if you just tell them, they will believe.”
Ryan Weeks is a 26 year old California boy who came to Sudan to do water purification work and has become so burdened and excited about having a relational ministry to the Gauza people. His excitement for being involved in this ministry was infectious, as was his love for the Lord.
I’ll never forget Karissa Cail’s story of how she came to be a missionary nurse in Sudan. Born to missionary parents and raised in West Africa, she struggled at the age of 14 when her folks returned to the States on home assignment. Most kids in her class either ignored her or excluded her but one girl, Sarah, didn’t. Sarah who was “kind, gentle, friendly and godly” was the kind of friend that Karissa needed right then. After that year, Karissa and her family returned to Africa. Sarah died in a car accident at the age of 17. This catapulted Karissa into a time of deep questioning which resulted in her making the decision to spend the rest of her life investing in people. She concluded her story by saying “I am who I am in large part because of Sarah. I am serving the Lord here because of her.” (See her photo with the other nurses at the beginning of this blog.)
We heard so many wonderful stories during our time in Kenya. Leigh will continue to share them with us in his sermons.
Most missionary retreats have a skit/comedy slot and this one was no exception. Some items were ‘in-house’ but I’d like to share one with you to give you a bit of an idea of how missionaries in Southern Sudan live. This song was composed by two of the missionaries.
THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVOURITE THINGS
Sweat drops on noses and lizards in kitchens
Thanks to no junk food my clothes are loose fitten
Many care packages tied up with strings
Again it’s for Lori—she has enough things!
Green coloured doxy’s, each station has oodles
Eating our lentils and living in tukles
Mosquitos that fly with the moon on their wings
This is a list of unfavourite things.
BOOK ME A FLIGHT, GET ME OUT TONIGHT!
CAN’T YOU SEE I’M HAD.
HAVE MERCY ON ME, HEAR THIS SONG THAT I SING
I REALLY JUST WANT MY DAD!
Mud on our dresses and skin with heat rashes
Dust flakes that range from our toes to eyelashes
Ginger in coffee, the heartburn it brings
Kisra and okra with green slimy strings.
Rumbles in tummies and fevers in bodies
Escaping the bug net to run to the potty
Taking co-artum, relief that it brings
These are some common, yet least favourite things.
BOOK ME A FLIGHT, GET ME OUT TONIGHT!
CAN’T YOU SEE I’M HAD
YET SOMEHOW VENTING THROUGH THIS SONG THAT I SING
SUDAN DOESN’T SEEM SO BAD!
Another nurse, Sandy Ewan who attended the same Bible school in Canada that we did, shared with us some advice she was given at the beginning of her missionary career by missionary stateswoman, Helen Roseveare. “If you think you are going into missions to save souls, you are wrong. You are going to grow in Christ!”