It may be a few months since the SERVE team left Pokwo but that does not mean that God is not at work still. There are several needs still prevalent in the region. Currently Jack Jordan is working in the Gambella region with both the Nuer and Anywaa people. He has been working on finishing the last details of the house that the groups were not able to finish.
There are still needs to be met in the area. Now that the guest house is finished we need people to fill it. We need doctors and nurses to work at the clinic to help the needs of the locals.
There is also a need for English teachers. The school that is near the house teaches all high school subjects in English. The unfortunate thing is that there are few who can teach in English so much of what the students learn is hard for them to understand. An English teacher could work with either the high school or elementary students to teach them so that they could be able to better understand their studies.
Please pray for the continued needs as God fills them. He has not abandoned these people, and he could use you to help them, or someone you know.
The two weeks I spent in Pokwo, Ethiopia with family and friends working with the amazing people in that village was life-changing. Our purpose is to build a building, but more than that we are there to be a light and a witness to people who need to know the Love of God. David, Leah and the gang are still there and I hope you will pray for them.
One of my favorite memories is simply getting to spend two weeks with my Aunt Rachel and seeing life from her perspective for a while. The day I left, she and I had lunch together and talked. It was refreshing. One other memory that stands out to me is the Sunday afternoon I spent with Dale and Okello walking along the river enjoying what God made. We walked from Pokwo up the river for about half an hour and I thoroughly enjoyed taking in a different part of God’s earth. Across the river on a sandy beach were three or four crocodiles sunning themselves with their mouths open wide. They didn’t look intimidating from across the river but I’m sure I would have had different thoughts if I were closer!
I think sometimes it’s hard for Christians to embrace the truth that God loves and is with everyone everywhere. I was intimidated by the area’s remoteness and also by what I thought was spiritual remoteness. I was wrong…at least about the spiritual remoteness. God is everywhere and even if someone tried, he could never get away from Him. God is in Pokwo and He is working. I’m thankful for the time I spent their and for how God grew me. I hope I get to go back again soon!
(Pictures to Follow)
A big huge thanks to all who helped build the little guesthouse in Pokwo! Many people were involved in this building project using their hands to build, their voices to pray, or their resources to support the work team and purchase materials. This is the beginning of God’s project of building Hope in that small village and the villages around.
As a member of the East Gambella Bethel Synod (EGBS) work force, I would like to extend very sincere thanks from Okello Oluch, synod president; Okello Ager, clinic nurse; and Ahema Choro, the can-do guy who keeps it all together. The building project did bring together the young people and the old people of the area and it showed the community that the people who first brought (or sent) Hope to the Anywaa people of Ethiopia still care about them.
There is a lot of work to do to help the community dig out of their routines of poverty. It is the hope of the EGBS that this house will be the first step in building relationships.
Please be in touch if you hear God’s call to Pokwo – the village of hope! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
. I’m on facebook: Rachel Vandevort Weller. I’m on skype: rachel.v.weller
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Please check back in a few days for more about the experience of some of the volunteers throughout the project as well as lots more pictures.
Today the third team left a finished house complete with septic tank in Pokwo.
Check back in a few days for more information and lots more photos.
Today is the beginning of the end. The third group has started the journey. This group includes David and Leah’s two daughters, Leah’s oldest brother, and three family friends leaving from the United States. And two people from The Preston’s South African church.
So far today Eve and Anna-Marie have run into some problems with their boarding pass to DC.
Please continue to pray for safety for those coming home and those leaving today.
Being in Pokwo has meant a reflection on the past. The locals have spent time reflecting on Dave and his family from almost fifty years ago. Dave’s parents were church builders in Pokwo in the 60’s and the locals have shown their gratitude to Dave for the things that God did through his family. Because of his family the Gospel was spread throughout the villages.
Sunday means a day of rest for the second crew working on the guest house. Week three saw a lot of progress. There are now 6 of the 10 floor tiles put in. The walls have been going up, and the roof is finished. Leah has been the only woman in this crew of 8 people. Everyone is working hard.
I recently have returned from a mission trip in Ethiopia where I spent 2 weeks in a small village called Pokwo where I slept in a tent and had no electricity! I remember as I was leaving on my first flight from Charlotte, NC to Washington D.C. I couldn’t help but think about a line from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey where Bilbo was running off to catch up with the Dwarves and a fellow hobbit asks him what he is doing and Bilbo responds excitedly: “I’m going on an adventure!” I felt like that was me at that moment since like Bilbo, I was going on this trip begrudgingly at first but at the same time I was excited about doing something new and challenging. Continue reading
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The SERVE workgroup has been at the Pokwo building site for a week now. John, Jim, Dale, and Dan arrived in Gambella on Friday’s plane, the day after David, Leah, and I arrived by car. We all drove out on Sat and began by setting up camp. I was amazed how the four Atlantic travelers fought off jet lag and kept going all day. The next day, Sunday, we worshiped in the round church where Dave must have spent many a Sunday morning in his childhood. The drumming, as usual, was phenomenal.
Sunday afternoon, Leah and I tried to keep it holy by just messing around. Dave and John couldn’t help but do some preliminary laying things out to get ready for Monday’s work. That afternoon, we were greeted by the leader of the “Woreda” (something like a county) who thanked us for coming. “Its good to see you back”, he said. We talked about the cooperative nature of the project and he completely agreed that everyone needed to participate. He promised to organize groups who would take turns showing up day by day to do what needs to be done.
I can’t tell you many stories from the work of the week, because I went back to Gambella on Tues morning to get some things that were lacking including a generator and some fuel. That proved to be a challenge. Because of the major relief effort for the people of South Sudan, Gambella is crawling with government and non-government organizations doing their thing. Hotel rooms are hard to come by and all the shops shelves are have half the products they usually do. Diesel fuel is rationed when it available. It took me three days to get the permission and then get the fuel and get it out to the work site. Coming and going is a challenge because my Toyota van doesn’t have 4 wheel drive and part of the road out to Akado, the village around the Pokwo Bethel Clinic, was rutted pretty well by the trucks carrying rocks and sand. I’m planning to continue twice a week forays as long as the weather allows it, or I can find a more suitable vehicle.
The rains are creating a more comfortable work space, cooling the air a bit. Even better are the days that it threatens to rain, but never quite does. The clouds block out the 100 degree rays of the Sub-Saharan sun.
We are thankful for mostly good health – some minor issues have passed uneventfully. We are thankful for the enthusiasm of the local community. Continue to pray for health and safety. Pray for the community to be encouraged by the building efforts and to build on the hope that they already know from reading God’s Word.
David and Leah have arrived in Gambella and have visited the site in Pokwo. The majority of the supplies have arrived and are ready for use. However there are still a few more truck loads of things to be delivered so continued prayer for dry weather would be appreciated. One of the trucks has already gotten stuck so please keep praying.
The first crew should be arriving today in Gambella. Please pray for safety for those traveling.
Most of the older Anuak people remember Dave from when he was a kid in Pokwo and wondered when he grew up. He pointed out that not only had he gotten gray but they had as well. Such a blessing to be remembered by old family friends.
Many things to keep in your prayers as the crew starts, safety, supplies, and God’s blessing for a speedy project.