This is a part of a series on daily life for us in South Sudan. Read more here…
One thing I am trying to be better at is writing what “typicals” are for our family here in Melut. So I grabbed my camera off the shelf this morning hoping to document a typical Sunday for you and the result is this post. If there is anything typical about life here it is that days are never the same and this Sunday was no exception of a “break from the expected”.
This Sunday I made breakfast (oatmeal) and J– finished preparing to preach at the local church. I heard about five times as I was cooking, “I am not a preacher!” echo from the walls of our bedroom. I love that my husband doesn’t allow his limitations to limit his obedience to God though and he got up and preached anyway on grace in Galatians. Here he was pouring over his study notes as I cooked.
D-man seized my distraction with food prep to run outside (without sunscreen) and play wtih Ngarill.
J– headed off to church ahead of us to sit up on stage and secure an interpreter which is pretty normal (guys and girls sit separately in church here so we often walk at different times over to church as well). The kids and I set off to church with D-man leading the way (it is very close by)
We got to church in time to hear the adult choir (drums are the instrument of choice)
The kids sit in the back (with me) for as much of the service as D-man can last through (this week it was just to announcements or about one hour). They are such troopers not understanding word and expected to sit relatively still and quiet. We’ve had alot of conversations about church not being about just what we love but about encouraging others and they know they encourage folks just by being present.
The kids choir enters (below) this is my kids favorite part as they recognize many of their friends. Even D-man sits still to watch and sing along. They do a dance/march down the aisle.
Announcements are next (and can be long!)
This is where D-man heads outside and I head out to watch him. (the kids usually follow me at this point too).
I sit in the “nursing mothers lounge” of the church (ie snack time along the outside wall) and try and listen to the sermon while the kids play in the trees or by the river.
I snuck back in to catch a picture of this handsome man preaching. It was an exciting Sunday because when he was done 11 youth accepted Christ’s gift of salvation and came up front.
After service (which lasts around 3 hours) we head into town for lunch. We can feed our family at a local restaurant for around $10 USD so it is our Sunday treat. The kids love getting restaurant food and I love not cooking so it is a win win…the walk is a bit hot some days and we usually have a large following of kids that walks into downtown with us.
These next photos are of our restaurant (outside, inside and cooking area) and food. Mmm… Flower girl’s favorite is kissera and sammack (fish) PJ loves it all (as does D-man). J– likes a dish that looks like green snot (it is made with a leafy green) and W-man eats the bread.
After eating we head home arriving home around 2 or 2:30. This is when we try and take Sunday naps and this is also when our day almost never goes as planned. Today was no exception. I nursed D-man when Marsa arrived (our friend from the very outskirts of town). We had gone to visit her yesterday but she wasn’t home so she arrived today to invite us to her home so we decided to skip nap and put four very tired kids, Marsa and her daughter (she has six kids total) on the quad bike and drove down the dirt “roads” to Marsas house.
This is where the photos of my day stop and narration will have to do. I decided to leave my camera at home and just focus on visiting and soaking up time with this dear woman’s family. Marsa and her family don’t speak any English so it takes all of my concentration to communicate and show love through words. I love her so though!
Marsas home is way on the outskirts of Melut. We arrived and were surrounded by all the kids wanting to greet. Marsa ushered us inside and we met her husband (who has been away in Juba and just returned) and her brother-in-law. Her home is a mud room about the size of our bedroom with a tin roof (that J– helped fix leaks on about a month ago). She has two beds and some mosquito nets hung as decoration. While the men visited I walked to the nearby Suc (market) with her to buy coffee and cinnamon and charcoal. She then made coffee for her guests. While we visited her mother-in-law came to greet us and as we watched the girls play she commented on how glad she was that we were here. This sweet haboba spoke blessings over my unborn children (this is not a pregnancy announcement she was just giving me blessings), named my unborn children, and blessed each of the children. A few days ago she also gave the girls Dinka names (which they love!) While we were visiting PJ was jumping rope with the neighbor kids, W-man played on the quad bike, D-man was causing trouble (!) and Flower girl was sitting observing. We all ran outside when we heard wailing in time to see a mourning procession. After much chatter we learned a local Dinka man had been killed in a brawl. We continued to visit with Marsa and her family as the mourners and wailers past. After three hours of visiting we invited Marsa and her husband to our house for coffee tomorrow, praised the coffee again and headed home. Daniel fell asleep on the quad bike ride and we arrived onto campus just in time for our fellowship time with other kuwajas (white people).
Each Sunday we meet with others to pray together in English and worship together around 4pm. This Sunday many were gone (or late…us) so it was cancelled. It is such a normal part of our Sunday I thought I would share a few photos from past gatherings.
We head home around 6:30 and eat “hummis and pita” for dinner (I cook lentils and make make-shift hummis with them) which is our every Sunday dinner meal. We then do a special family devotional together (we are reading through John together) before heading to bed.
Sundays are one of my favorite days. I love the rhythm to them (and the lack of cooking). Even with the unexpected it is so amazing to fellowship with our Sudanese brothers and sisters, to worship in English with our kuwaja brothers and sisters, and to embrace the unexpected joys of communal living.
We seek to empower our children, our teammates and our Sudanese friends to love and know more of who God is through acts of loving service and biblical teaching.