3 Key Prayer Points:
- Our home church, Dry Creek Baptist (La), arrives on May 7 for a week among their people group, the Kakwa.
- Curt and DeDe as they plan a late May trip to the Gambela region of Ethiopia.
- Wisdom and safety as we choose where to go in the coming months.
Different Mother, Same Father
I’ve always had a love affair with trees. Growing up in what is known as the Louisiana Piney Woods, I’ve always felt a kinship with the beech, oaks, and longleaf pines.
After over two years in Africa, I’ve come to love the trees of this continent.
The umbrella-shaped acacia trees. Be careful of those thorns!
The dozens of palm species found throughout Uganda.
Plantations of teak and eucalyptus trees.
But my favorite tree is the one shown at the top of this post.
It’s on the road south of Gulu, Uganda.
It’s what Louisiana old-timers called a “landmark tree.”
A majestic landmark for travelers.
As we travel Up Country, the region north of the Nile River, this welcome tree signals our entry into Acholi Land and the end of a long rough day of driving.
A people group with dozens of stories about their culture, history, and background.
Acholi country: the home of Joseph Kony and where the infamous LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) began their reign of terror.
Acholi District: home of the Invisible Children. Thousands of school children who walked into Gulu Town nightly to escape the kidnapping and maiming of the LRA.
Many probably passed this tree on their way to town.
However, there’s more to this Acholi Landmark tree than meets the eye.
Nearing it, we realize it’s not one tree.
Two towering trees.
Uncut by generations of charcoal makers, lumbermen, and road builders.
Two trees that appear as one.
It gets me to thinking. Two shall become one.
I recall my closest northern Ugandan friends, Joseph and Jessica Anyovi.
Joseph is a member of the Madi tribe.
He met his Kakwan wife, Jessica, at seminary.
They live in the heart of Madi country (which is west of the Acholi) in a town called Adjumani.
Adjumani district holds a dozen refugee camps.
There are over one hundred thousand refugees scattered over the district.
All are from South Sudan and most are Dinka Bor.
Joseph has led the Ugandan Madi to reach out to the Dinka, Murle, and a hodgepodge of twenty more South Sudanese tribes.
He and Jessica make a great team.
Joseph’s out front planning, speaking, and moving about.
Jessica is much quieter. More behind the scenes.
A lovely young couple.
Two becoming one.
Like our Acholi trees.
I ask Joseph, “Why are the Madi reaching out to the Dinka refugees?”
“Mzee (that’s my name here. It means elder), we Madi have been refugees. We know all about how it is to suffer and lose everything. How could we refuse to help? “
Joseph picks up his firstborn, Desire. “Besides we’re from different mothers but have the same Father.”
Wow. I am old enough to be Joseph’s father, but he is teaching Mzee a valuable lesson. Caring for others—especially the downtrodden—is a mark of following Jesus. I see this modeled in the lives of oneyoung couple from two tribes.
A two-become-one couple. A Madi. A Kakwa. Reaching out to the Dinka.
If you enjoyed this story, you’ll want to read our latest ebook, Trampled Grass. It contains stories about Joseph, Jessica, and dozens of others who are displaying the love of Jesus with human hands and hearts.
You can read a sample at Amazon or download a copy at www.creekbank.net.
You can read more stories at our blog, www.creekbank.net/blog