- AIM Air has been closely partnered with another organization in South Sudan, SIM, for some time. SIM had a large team working some ways away from here in a place called Doro, running a clinic and doing evangelism/disciplehip there. We have been able to get to know some of those missionaries on there way to/from their ministry location. Especially one couple, and another family whose kids we have enjoyed. On Christmas Day we started to hear about fighting in that area. AIM Air was all set to go get them on Boxing Day (Dec 26), but it was just too "hot", with fighting right on the airstrip, so they never got the go ahead. We did not know exactly what was going on, but we did not know the extent that they were struggling, caught in the violence. The next day began early with Patrick and 2 other AIM Air pilots having a strategy session on the front porch, discussing these details over coffee in a very calm and deliberate manner, which I eavesdropped on through the kitchen window whenever I could. I found their manner very helpful, because I was not feeling calm. Through an extremely well-planned co ordinated effort, they had all 3 planes on the ground, 32 passengers loaded, and wheels up again within 8 minutes. The planes landed here at Loki to refuel and although there was nothing I could do, I wanted to be there to hug them and was able to hand out some lunches and water. I don't use the term "shell-shocked" easily, but in this case it does fit. It had been a terrifying few days in the direct path of violence, hiding on the floor from shooting, and although they were so thankful to be out, you could tell right away that the grief they felt was not primarily for themselves, but for the people they had left behind. They have since heard that everything has been lost through widespread looting and ongoing violence. Many people they knew personally have been killed, and there is nothing left to go back to at the moment. More details will come out, but please pray for this team. There were 8 children involved, if I'm remembering correctly. Pray for peace and emotional healing, that member care and trauma counseling could be well used, and that somehow God's peace and will would triumph. So much work was being done through this team, in that clinic, it was just amazing to hear the stories of God's truth being shared with so many unreached. My heart aches, that it seems the enemy won this one. Death and destruction, desolation of the refugee camp and the clinic, and many who were bringing the Hope, now chased away. Not sure what the future will be there.
- We work closely with another team, not far mileage wise from us, in a place called Kimmatong. This new team is focusing on the unreached Laarim people. There are 3 families, some singles, and the team leaders, spread out between a few villages. There was an advance team in that location for awhile, and we were able to visit them earlier this year. They hit the ground running, and have been doing language study, relationship building, and Bible storying for some time. We got word to pray for a difficult situation involving one of the young men who had become friends with one of the missionaries. This Laarim man was being accused of witchcraft. He was innocent, but had to go through some traditional "tests" to prove his innocence, such as reaching his hands into a pot of boiling water to retrieve a stone. The physical world being what it is, most of us would be burned regardless of whatever sins we had or had not committed, and so did this man. It was drawn out over a few days, with the missionaries strongly interceding on his behalf. We all prayed, but they continued in the traditional way, and this innocent young man was hung in front of his whole community. They laughed and danced around the body, because to them, an evil had been rid from their village. Even family members participated. Our Laarim team did not hide their shock, grief, and even anger from their neighbours. They had been living among these folks for over a year, some of them, and praying that the hope and life of the Gospel would penetrate. That these people the enemy has in bondage to fear and evil could be set free through Jesus. It was a very dark night. However, they have already seen how God has used this situation. It can be a turning point, something everyone looks back to. The community was very surprised at the strength of the missionaries' reaction. 100 afternoons of sitting around drinking chai could never have communicated as much as these few difficult days. How much the Laarim people are loved, by the missionaries but even more so by God; how every life is important; that Jesus came to bring a better way! Please pray for how this tragedy, meant by the enemy as evil, could be used by God for good.
- There is another team working with the Didinga people, actually made up of just one little family in another location about 5 hours drive from Kimmatong. They do have experience here before, but they just came back married, with an infant. They are so committed, but it is a very difficult place to live. They depend on the airplane for even the basics. Up to this summer, we were able to bring supplies 2x/month. With the current restrictions due to security, it is so expensive to get to people, its nearly impossible. Currently, AIm Air has no means of subsidizing routine flights, only emergency medivacs. So it is up to the folks on the ground to pay not just for their groceries and cooking gas bottles, but for the plane to bring it to them. We do everything we can to make it affordable, but we really need to make progress with getting our permissions restored to fly normally. Most of the people we support live directly north of us. It is difficult to have to go all the way west to the capital, then backtrack. We will share more prayer requests on the work among the Didinga people as we hear about it!
- There is also alot to think about here in Lokichoggio. We have talked alot about the Treasures, the solar powered audio Bibles. This is an amazing resource, but its also extremely expensive. We share them on our own, and with the local churches, so they can distribute them in an intentional way. We try to be discerning with giving them to people who seem to have a sincere interest in hearing the Word, even if it means not giving to everyone who asks. Please join us in praying that the Holy Spirit would move in the hearts of those who have these "gadgets" as they call them. That it would not be just a nifty gadget, but a powerful tool to draw people to Jesus and for believers to grow stronger. We know many people just enjoy listening to something so they aren't bored, or enjoy the status symbol of having such a device. But we are praying that in the midst of all that, they could be mightily used, with visible fruit. I just gave out 3 this week, to friends in a neighbouring village, and am praying about starting some kind of a listening group there.
- There are two other groups that have been started at two different churches recently. One is a new believers discipleship group in a village right next to Loki. This church hosted a team from down country recently, and put on a crusade. 4 nights with alot of crowd-gathering entertainment and high energy. Now they are trying to follow up on the decisions made that week. The attendance has not been great. The pastor is working with a young man from that area whom he desires to lead the group. It is just hard to get people committed. As in any country, there are always excuses. Please pray for those who did actually repent of their sins and put their faith in Jesus to stand out from the others who just got caught up in the moment. Converts are easy; disciples are hard. The other group is an adult literacy class, taught by a Turkana man, designed to enable the oral peoples around us to read the Bible. This is very exciting, and we are praying for them to learn soon so they don't give up. Pray God speaks to them through His word and they experience the blessings of that relationship. Pray that nothing is taken out of context, but they can understand the whole counsel of God. They can then be ambassadors for Biblical literacy in their own circles.
- I have seen this article floating around on FB, and it resonated with us so much. It is so true, and explains things well. The seminary mentioned is held at the church we attend while in Nairobi. There are so many whose hearts are in the right place, but this prevailing culture can really hinder spiritual growth and strong churches who embrace the whole message of Jesus. It is complicated, as obviously each of us bring our own cultural bias to everything, even our faith. But at the end of the day, truth is truth. It doesn't do any good to tell people that obedience will bring material blessings, when the reality is that in this area, suffering will probably just be your way of life. We want to share a hope that transcends the physical, because that is the only true hope. Please pray for the local pastors in our area who are sincere in their desire to know the Word and preach the Word, that they would have the courage and the wisdom to say hard things, even if it means going against the majority. This event called the Proclaim Conference is held annually at our church in Nairobi, and we are praying about how to send some pastors from our area. It would be an amazing opportunity.
Hello again dear friends and partners. I have felt compelled to come back to the blog again so soon, to share more details on some situations here. As much as I love to share cute pictures of my kids, we don't live here so they can play with monkeys. I know it is just so difficult to imagine things that take place so far away, both geographically and other ways. And there is always so much on our minds, it is difficult to fit in more. But if you feel led, please take a minute to pray for these things, and share them with your community of believers if possible.
Thank you for sharing in the journeys of the Crisp family. We are ordinary people who know and love an extraordinary God, only because He first knew and loved us. Out of gratitude to Him, and a desire to see His name known, we follow where He leads.