WHY SUDAN? Alcoholism is epidemic in southern Sudan after 22 years of war and a shattered economy. WHY ME? In the Fall of 2005, I was hopelessly numbing out my pain with alcohol.
On Dec. 27, 2005, in absolute desperation, I walked into an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.
In January of 2006 I got to Step 3, "Give your life and will to God." Life hasn't been the same since.
This June-August, I will share the Gospel of Jesus and alcoholism recovery to the men of Sudan.
We just finished talking on the Grace FM of Kajo Keji, Sudan, for 2 hours straight.
I was there with five of my new favorite people in the world...here is a little about the people you are praying for...
Scopas (a young man who I am convinced would be an instant movie star - he is lean, muscular and is the most animated talker I've ever met - he gestures with his hands, inflects each syllable and smiles from one corner of his mouth with bright white eyes while wearing his tattered shorts and a used-to-be-white button down - he's getting used to my hugs slowly but surely),
Rose K. (she's a ex-moonshine brewer and alcoholic as of last week - she professed over the radio tonight that she used to hate people like me...Christians who talked about the hope of Jesus - in fact, we first met because she was mocking me from the brew pots as I walked by her...we began talking, I told her my story of pain and addiction and the mocking stopped...she has attended every meeting since...tonight she told about her relationship with her husband and how it's improved immensely in just a week and that her skin is changing),
Joseph L. (he's the one you keep hearing so much about. He literally looks like a different man. He drank for 25 years straight. He would drink himself into unconsciousness daily and then eat the spoiled moonshine mash for food. He lives across the street from the brew house and has been sober 5 days...his hand and hip are crippled from the war, but he is quickly on the mend. His mud and straw hut used to be a complete mess of overgrown grasses and trash. When I jogged by this morning, he was out cutting it all down w/ a machete. Literally, the most incapacitated town drunk is now God's greatest picture of transformation here),
And there's Emmanuel (He told me his friends are asking him why he doesn't sleep during the day like a dog anymore, why isn't he passed-out at his little shop in the market place. He started drinking when he was at the refugee camps in Uganda and drank every morning since. Last week his daughter asked him why they can't eat meat like the neighbors - he knew it was because he spent all of their money on alcohol. This week, he has been repairing bicycles and is providing for his children),
Finally, there's Kenny S., my translator (this man faithfully arrives at 7am every morning to our compound. He rides his bicycle beside me as I jog a little loop through the dried, cracked mud streets and sand past the children in uniform walking to school...in the mornings, I call him Coach. He's a brilliant guy who always sees the big picture. He's been sober 11 days now. What I love the most about him is his shepherd's heart - I'll often be thinking that we need to go buy bread for the communion meal or get him through another step and he'll say, "Yeah, okay, but I think we should go and pay a visit to Peter or Moses...they should know that we are thinking of them and that we want them to come to the meeting."). I put my arm around him and thank him for teaching me.
I love you all. Thanks for your prayers - God is at work in mighty ways and seeking and saving the lost sheep...like me.
John A. Elmore