Jonah and Jovan: “Wow!”

Traditional Murle hut in Boroli Camp
Traditional Murle hut in Boroli Camp

A word from Curt:


We got out of the Land Cruiser on the dusty Ugandan road.  In the distance, about 3 km away, was the refugee camp called Boroli.

I turned to Jovan one of our young church leaders, “Jovan, that’s Boroli Camp.  The Lord may send you to be pastor of that camp.”

He stared a while before cutting his eyes at me.  “Wow!”

View of Boroli Camp (Background) from neighbouring Ulua 2 Camp
View of Boroli Camp (background) from neighbouring Ulua 2 Camp

I wonder if that was Jonah’s response when God told him to go to Nineveh.

“Wow!” as in “God, I can’t believe you want me to do that.”

Now Boroli Camp isn’t Nineveh but it stirred the same emotion of fear in Jovan.


Here’s why:

Boroli is the most unique of the clusters that make up what is called Adjumani Camp.  It consists of twelve tribes, with the Murle being the majority.

All of the other camps are mainly Dinka.

The UN knows best to separate the Dinka from the others.

They don’t play well together.

Their main tribal rivals, the Nuer, are across the Nile at Rhino Camp.  It’s a fact that the experts have tried to separate these two warring tribes with the world’s greatest river.

Ethnic areas of South Sudan
Ethnic areas of South Sudan

But there are no Dinka or Nuer at Boroli Camp.

The Murle are capable of creating enough trouble on their own.

I love the Murle but they are South Sudan’s most misunderstood and feared tribe.

They are known as baby stealers and perceived as always ready for a fight.

Both of our visits to Boroli have been fraught with tension.  I wrote about one such excursion in our prayer letter: Elizabeth’s Phone.

The week that Jovan and our team stood staring toward Boroli was a tragic week.  Several Murle refugees and local Madi had been killed in clashes.

It began over a football (soccer) game that went awry.

There was a tension in the local community you could sense as you drove by.

Boroli was off limits for us during that time.

That’s why my statement that God might send Jovan (a Madi) to a Murle camp elicited that one-word response that spoke volumes.  “Wow!”

I’m asking you to place Boroli on your prayer list:

  • 1. Pray for peace and in the camp.
  • 2. Pray that Jovan will be faithful to however God leads his life. My statement was in jest but I’m serious in about how obedience to God may lead us anywhere.  Need I say “Dry Creek to South Sudan”?I express it this way:   Ready to Go/Content to Stay. It’s all about following Him. Everything else is just geography and a willing heart.
  • 3. Pray for our friend Justin Wani and the church being built at Boroli.
  • 4. Pray for Juliet, a friend of DeDe’s who is a person of peace in Boroli. Pray also for positive tribal leadership and inclusion in the Camp.
  • 5. Pray for our Chadan Engagement Team that we’ll wisely know when and if to begin work in Boroli.
  • 6.  Pray for Albert,  a Madi who oversees the camp on behalf of the Ugandan government.  He emotionally shared of that week’s killing, “They killed one of my refugees.”  This Madi took it personally that a Murle under his watch care died.
  • 7. Pray for John K. a Murle pastor I’ve come to know.  He’s starting a new church in Juba, the capital of South Sudan. John is very concerned about his mother and family who are stranded in a refugee camp in Ethiopia.

I want to invite you to read the blog linked below.  It’s my Dry Creek pastor, Charlie Bailey, preaching on Jonah.

All I can say is “Wow!”

Pray daily.

Pray deeply.

Pray for Boroli Camp.


My pastor Charlie Bailey's blog features his weekly sermon. He is an excellent writer as well as speaker. Learn more at
My pastor Charlie Bailey’s blog features his weekly sermon. He is an excellent writer as well as speaker.
Learn more at

Read the sermon at


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