Andrew and Anna Beckham are part of the Laarim Focus team and have been living in South Sudan since the beginning of September. They update us with some of the various ministries the team have been involved in so far.
Alongside the ever present need to continue progressing in the Laarim language we have had the chance to further develop relationships with many of the local people and begin to seek ministry opportunities.
At our Sunday gatherings in Chauwa we have started to tell Bible stories with the help of translators, using the picture books we purchased in Kenya. The assembled group has so far been a small crowd of children, they are very receptive and we enjoy sharing, singing and praying with them, and beginning to recognise the regular attenders.
Loriang translating the Creation story
One particular highlight came the week we returned from Kenya when we heard from Andrew and Jacob that another young man they had been discipling had decided to follow Jesus. Loriang, who is 20 years old, lives in one of our neighbouring villages, Ngarahac. From an angry youth who liked to tease the other believers to someone who now feels peace and love towards others, he now gives a wonderful testimony of a changed heart. We have now had the great privilege of seeing 4 Laarim believers begin to follow Christ during our short time here. Praise God for his saving grace at work in the Boya hills!
Another avenue for building relationships has been co-ordinating football in the local Napak Primary School, just 2 minutes’ walk from our house. This has been led by our team mate Noblesse, but Andrew has been a willing volunteer. A good run around, time to meet more of the local boys, language practice, and then the chance to pray together. This regular training culminated last week in the first ever Laarim football match as Napak took on Kimatong (the only 2 local schools). Kimatong were 5:1 victors, but we await the home fixture. A slight issue with this is that currently we have no pitch. First we have to clear, flatten and mark a football pitch here in Napak, a task designated to Noblesse by the local headmaster. We are also exploring the possibility of expanding this regular prayer slot in Napak school into a short discovery Bible study once a week. Praise God for the freedom we have here, and the support of the chiefs, to share the Word of God openly.
Advent is upon us and despite the sunshine we are trying to convince ourselves that Christmas will soon be here. Here in the Boya Hills the locals are also getting excited. Due to the Catholic history of our region people are aware of the Christmas festival and celebrate with new clothes, family visits and feasts (anyone else having goat his year?). However for many the celebration holds no more meaning than that. This year to try to introduce the Christian narrative Andrew Wallace has spent months at Kimatong School preparing the children for a Laarim Nativity. The Nativity will be performed across the region over the advent period; first here at Napak School on December 11th. We are very excited about this public dramatisation, along with a number of Laarim songs written especially for the occasion, to allow the community to understand the significance of the birth of Jesus.