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.
Thank you for your prayers. God is at work in huge ways. Please read through to the end if you can spare the time. I can't convey how much we need your prayers.
Eleven people attended the meeting today and are beginning their fourth step (of twelve).
Yesterday, these same people moved through Step Three: Surrendering their lives and wills to Jesus.
Before the meeting today, something HUGE occurred to me. When a person is deep into years (even decades) of alcoholism, they can go through significant and life threatening withdrawal symptoms. NONE of our group members have had ANY side effects or symptoms. There is no hospital here. No doctors. No IVs. No Advil. In fact, clean water is in shortage. And yet, everyone is doing incredible. Clear eyes, clear speech, strength, walking miles to the meetings in heat and joy - such joy and peace....you see in their smiles and hugs. God, thank you for this miracle. We know it's from the Lord and answer to your prayers.
I told Joseph L., the old crippled soldier, today that there are over 400 people praying for him by name. He smiled after the translation came and shook his head. He physically looks like a different man. I joked with him by asking him if he had seen Joseph L. because I didn't recognize him and then checked the tag in the back of his shirt. He laughed and said praise God.
We now have four women in our group, which is amazing to have men and women sharing and finding healing in the same room. Three of them were brewers and hopeless alcoholics just three days ago. They have all given it up and are sharing the stories of destruction that they have been through and how thankful they are to now be on a journey of healing.
Tomorrow night we have been given 1.5 hours on the radio (Grace FM of Kajo Keji, Sudan). They've asked me to share my story of healing from alcoholism and then asked for five of our new Sudanese recovery group members to share about their experience and healing from this first week. These people will be on the radio testifying to the work God is doing in their lives and confessing openly to their peers and their community that they are alcoholics and that God is saving them. Amazing. Pray for their strength.
At our group, we talk about how difficult it would be to try and think about staying sober for 10 years starting today. Instead, we follow Jesus' instructions and we don't worry about tomorrow, or next week or even the month to come (Matthew 6). We look to God to give us strength to stay sober for the day - just for the next 24 hours. He is faithful to do this as we submit to Him. Tomorrow has enough worries of it's own and God will take us through those just like He did today.
Please pray for their strength through the weekend. Idle time is never good - no matter who you are or what your struggle is.
Love you all.