Ax Head Soup

A displaced woman and her child at Faith Baptist Church in Nimule, South Sudan,


Scroll down for an update on today’s trip to Tulane Medical Clinic. 

I was told this story by a South Sudanese.

It’s a tale of optimism.

The right story to share on the fourth birthday of the world’s newest country, South Sudan.

During the worst years of the previous civil war, famine accompanied the violence and displacement.

A mother, facing small children with no food, continued stirring a pot of boiling water over the fire.

She’d put an ax head to make the water roil.   “Children, you just want.  This soup’s gonna be ready later.”

In spite of the hunger, the children would one by one nod off to sleep.

She was making ax head soup.

Trying to keep hope alive.


Such a good word.

Such a big word.

Hope.  It’s a word in short supply in our adopted country of South Sudan.

We arrived the year of the country’s second anniversary.  Hope and optimism were everywhere.  The days of ax head soup seemed in the past.

Realistically, things are much worse now than two years ago.  The country is going backwards.  It’s falling apart.

I’m firmly convinced that only a work of God can heal the nation.

I believe God can do it.  Our job is to hold the rope and pray.



Irony:  We’re in New Orleans, the epicenter of great food and I don’t even have any appetite. 

DeDe and I are in New Orleans after a day at the Tulane Medical Clinic.  

The day had good news:  I don’t have any bad things:  no cancer, Cron’s, HIV, Tropical Sprue, C diff, etc.

However, the tests reveal no parasite, disease, or reason for my continued sickness, loss of appetite and weight loss. (I look like I’ve been on the Ax Head Soup Diet). 

The doctors seem to sum it up this way:   Something I caught in Africa messed up my digestive system and caused a “bacterial overgrowth” in my gut.

They are placing me on a special diet to get me tweaked and running on all eight cylinders.  I’ll have a follow up appointment later in New Orleans.

I’ve always heard it’s a sign of elderly people when you keep talking about your digestive problems.  I guess I fit that bill for now.   

However, so many of you are praying for us and we need you to hold the rope more than ever.

We thank you in advance for your faithfulness. 





  1. Love your stories!!

    • Thanks Rose.
      I love your family. So many connections going back to your grandparents, parents, your children and grandchildren. Wow.

  2. If you have good elimination, you really don’t have problems!
    Old saying…

  3. Martha Weeks Eskine

    Greenwell Spring baptist church is praying for you. Love you and I’m glad your home.

  4. Praise God. God has been very good to you. Praying that God will bring healing and wholeness to your body.
    Wanted to give you an update on Marilyn Ford. (She just loves you!)Marilyn and her dear husband, Glen, have both recently been diagnosed with Dementia. Truly is heartbreaking…BUT GOD.
    They have sold their home and are living at The Verandah in Graywood. Marilyn has been in and out of the hospital over the last 8 months. She is in rehab rehab now and should be going home soon. Her daughter, Rhonda Allen, a Missionary to Zimbabwe is moving back to LC to be here in order to help.
    God bless you and Dear DeDe.
    Please do as the doctors say do!
    Wanda Carnahan

  5. David and Margaret McGraw

    We pray for complete healing for you, Curt. You just have to get well and keep on writing; we know a tremeous book must be in in the works when you get back on your feet We can’t wait, but most of all, to hear that you are improving. Love from Alexandria.

    • Thank you McGraws.

      Your words means the world to me.
      Thanks for a lifetime of our families loving and supporting each other.

  6. Peggy Sue Miller Pinder

    Praying for you and Miss.Dede, I don’t have what you have, but have mystery diagnosis, God Bless you

  7. john and Sandra Gray

    So glad your home and for all the encouraging words and advice you b shared with Grays and Greens before we leave for africa Sunday! It was just what we needed to hear!
    Love you both!!

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