Tag Archives: Sudan

The Heavenly Olympics

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My husband is an avid sports fan.  In his sports world there are two great events:  The beginning of Fantasy Football Season and the Super Bowl.  These special dates are trumped only by the Olympics.  When the Olympics are on, the rest of life is on hold.  Thankfully, technology has made it possible to record this event for more convenient viewing at your leisure.  Remember when we used to record TV programs on VHS tapes?  Raise your hand if you’ve ever accidentally recorded over something important when you reused one of those VHS tapes.  Yep, been there done that.  Thank goodness for DVR and TVO technology.  No more tears over taping “Steel Magnolias” over the Olympics…

So while my hubby was camping in the jungle with a team of college students, I was sitting comfortably on the couch at home watching the opening ceremony of the Olympics.  Now let me clarify, due to my likely case of latent adult ADD which prevents me from watching more than 15 minutes of TV at a time before I must get up and fold a load of laundry or mop the floor, I was watching snippets of the opening ceremony.  Let’s see.  I watched the parade of nations from Iran to Sudan and I watched Paul McCartney singing the chorus of “Hey Jude”… and that’s about it.  But it was enough to make me start thinking about Heaven.

Apparently, it doesn’t take much to get me thinking about Heaven.  But I spent the rest of the evening wondering if we will have a parade of nations in Heaven.  When we are all reunited with our God, I think there will be a parade.  Imagine this.  The Bible says that there will be believers from every tribe and nation from all times and eras.  Every people group will have a remnant to present to Jesus as His inheritance as the Son of God.  How proudly God will display His Saving Grace!  Every color of face, every language, every culture will be represented as we parade before the Heavenly audience of angels.  Imagine the applause as we cheer for our fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord.  It’s a celebration that will cause the Olympics to pale in comparison!

I’m excited for that day!  On my blog, I get to see what countries readers come from.  Every morning I check and see if my 3 readers in Japan have checked in, my 5 readers in Thailand, my 6 from Costa Rica.  Whenever I see a new dot on the map, I get excited.  Today I had a new dot on United Arab Emirates!  Last week I had a new dot in Vietnam and one in Seychelles.  What fun!  Someday at the big parade in Heaven I might get to meet people who read my blog in far away countries.  Maybe I’ll get to play a part in bringing someone closer to Jesus through my blog, who knows!  God can use anything to draw people to Himself.  So I can’t wait to see all the Nations together praising God for saving them.  What a day that will be!

What have I signed up for?

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Excerpt from the Live Dead Prayer Journal.  Day 6 written by Jennifer Brogden, Sudan.

“Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep.  Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field,’Come along now and sit down to eat’?  Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’?  Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do?  So you also, when you have don’e everting you were told to do, should say. ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done’ our duty.'” Luke 17:7-10

Looking back, I had a handful of expectations that I thought were pretty realistic:  I expected [Sudan] to be hot, hard, dusty and dry, resistant;  I expected God to be faithful to His Word.  Most of my expectations were met without delay.  Daily temperatures over 105 degrees Fahrenheit for months on end, tears in my first Arabic lesson, huge walls of dust ushering in mere minutes of rainfall… and God was faithful to His Word.

He just wasn’t faithful in the way I expected Him to be.

I found it discouraging that language teachers weren’t interested in saying the sinner’s prayer after two years of life on life with them.  Neighbors were kind and hospitable but not ready for a Bible study.  Thoughts of Why am I here? and This isn’t what I signed up for started rapping in my brain.

…Everything in Sudan was exactly like I expected it to be.  Hot, slow, difficult, daily battles in the spirit realm, conflicts within and without.  Why was life such a struggle?  Why couldn’t I be content and satisfied?

Because I’d forgotten that it was my part just to obey, that Jesus is my just reward- that He can do as He sees fit with me, my family, and the work in Sudan.  Jesus makes every night without power and every delay over visas and permits worth it.  And only Jesus makes it worth it.

I didn’t expect God to bring me all this way to change what He saw in me.  But He has.  I needed Sudan more than Sudan needed me, and I didn’t expect that.  I thought God was bringing me to Sudan to change Sudan.  I did not realize that His primary purpose was to expose all the junk in my heart and change me!  I’m so grateful that in the “less” of ministry, as I thought it should be, I got more than I expected.

What do you expect dying to self will feel like?  Do you think it will be pleasant?  Painless?  Problem free?  What do you expect it to feel like when you live dead?  Do you expect people to understand, support you, praise you, clap for you?  Do you expect the devil to cheer and every demon in hell to yield to your noble aspirations?  Do you expect to be welcomed or affirmed by your peers and understood by your parents?  Do you expect people to get in line to support you financially?  Do you expect that your plans will be changed, your timing delayed, and your will continually crossed?  Do you expect to surrender once in an air-conditioned church, kneeling on a carpeted altar with a handy box of Kleenex perkily waiting to be plucked… and then from that point on to sail without contrary winds into God’s sheltered will?  Or do you expect God to wring the self out of you in a painful and lengthy process using circumstances and shattered expectations- and then surprise you with how good it feels to have His image stamped deeply into yours.

Click here if you’re interested in ordering the Live/Dead Prayer Journal or just browsing their website and learning more about their ministry to unreached people in East Africa.