In the last few weeks Marlene has been able to follow up with her friend, Ilouru, who expressed a desire to follow the Lord. They are now meeting on Tuesday mornings for Bible study! Pray for Ilouru and her husband, Itak, to “turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus” (Acts 20:21), to invite neighbours to learn from the Word, and for the light of the gospel to continue to grow in the village of Ohilang.
We give thanks for the opening of the Ohilang school. Some of the teachers are involved in the weekly Bible study with Marlene. Pray that they and Marlene would set an example of living out their faith in the school and community. Pray the school will run consistently, despite many distractions.
This weekend Luka and Umjuma will be in Torit to share about their ministry and their needs with the church. Pray that their stories of what God is doing among the Lopit will encourage and bless the church. Pray they will also have the courage and boldness to share about their needs – both physical and spiritual. Ask God to work in the Torit AIC church to step up their commitment to support missionaries so they can remain in these tough places.
Thomas and Clement continue to persevere and remain faithful to Jesus in the village a couple hours walk from Ohilang. Their wives have been very resistant to the gospel in the past; however, Marlene is starting to see a softening in their hearts toward the Lord. Pray these women will “know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture” (Psalm 100:3).
Marlene has been encouraged by the commitment of Aaron, his wife, and several other women in the village to the twice weekly Bible study she is leading in Ohilang. These mostly illiterate women are learning to discuss what they are learning from God’s Word and how it impacts their life and home. Pray that this Bible study will deeply impact the Ohilang community, as well as other Lopit villages. Pray for the new believers to “live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse [them] of doing wrong, they may see [their] good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us” (1 Peter 2:12).
This week, from the 2nd to the 6th, Lohutok is hosting a peace dialogue between various tribes in order to bring stability, and hopefully lasting peace, to the region. It involves State and local government, representatives of the Toposa and Lopit communities, and representatives from the church and missionaries. There is also hope for a dialogue between the Lopit villages of Lohutok and Ibahore for lasting peace. Please pray for this week of meetings, and for all involved to have hearts that are open to lasting peace and reconciliation. Pray for reasonable and truthful communication. And pray that the believers (local and missionaries) would have the opportunity to share the gospel with those attending, even though this is a state arranged meeting.
We thank God that Luka was able to go to Juba last month for medical treatment. He received a new concoction for his skin rash that seems to be helping. Please continue to ask the Lord for complete healing. Pray that through Luka and Umjuma’s discipleship, the believers in Iboni will become a strong, unified body of Christ among the Lopit.
The books of Genesis and Exodus are now complete in Lopit and work on Mark has begun. The translation team are hopeful to have a draft of Mark by the end of year. As more and more of the Bible is translated into Lopit, pray that, “the unfolding of [God’s] Word gives light; it gives understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:130).
Marlene has recently been able to start a bible study with her neighbors in Ohilang, meeting every Monday and Friday morning just after sunrise. Pray that everyone will be faithful to come, be eager to learn, and will grow in their understanding of who God is.
Luka and Umjuma continue to do well in Lopit and are very much appreciated by the AIM team and the local community. We are so encouraged to hear that when Luka is away, his wife Umjuma leads the weekly bible studies and Sunday morning church services – she is thriving in village life and ministry, and we praise God! They ask prayer for good relationships and for peace among Lopit villages (there has been an escalation of insecurity in the area due to inter-tribal conflict). They also ask prayer for more opportunities to start more DBS groups (Bible study), and for more students to join TEE (Theological Education by Extension). Please join them in their prayers for the Lopit!
Luka is also asking us to pray for his health condition. He has been suffering greatly from a skin disease since he and Umjuma moved to Iboni. There is one medicated cream that seems to help, but it is not easy to obtain. Please pray for healing.
Pray for more workers to be sent to the Lopit field. There is darkness here- pray for the Light to shine, for the Lord to give endurance to His people, and for an end to the violence and instability in the region.
Marlene had an excellent week in Mura, Lopit doing a teachers’ training course. William, a Lopit man from this village, is starting a secondary school (grade 9-12) for his community, and Marlene was able to spend the week with the teachers (who all profess faith in Jesus), encouraging them to see the classroom as a place for the light of Jesus to penetrate the darkness. Pray for the teachers to grow in their faith and to have courage to stand for Jesus in the school and the community. Pray for William as he leads the school and the church in Mura, Lopit, that God will give him endurance, courage, and faith.
The TEE (Theological Education by Extension) group continues to meet in Lopit, and Robert has been greatly blessed by the growth he has seen in the participants. Pray that God will provide for Thomas and Clement and the other young men studying God’s Word through this program, to continue on with their studies, and for each of them to “go home to [their] family and tell them how much the Lord has done for [them], and how he has had mercy on [them]” (Mark 5:19). Pray that as they share their testimonies, the Lopit will be amazed and worship God.
Luka and Umjuma are now leading the fellowship of believers who are meeting for Sunday worship in Iboni (Lopit). They are also continuing with the Discovery Bible Study groups that meet during the week. Please pray for the new believers to “flee evil desires…and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22). Also, please pray for healing for Luka – he has suffered a terrible skin rash since arriving in Iboni two months ago.
We have prayed for God to move in the hearts of Lopit believers, to return to their people to be proclaimers of the gospel among their own. God has raised up a Lopit family who have recently returned to their village, after being in Kenyan refugee camps for years, with a calling to share Christ with their people! Pray for this family to stand firm in the faith and bear much fruit for the glory of God’s kingdom among the Lopit.
There has been much intercommunal tension and fighting in Lopit near villages that our team is working in. They are not fearful for themselves; rather their concern is for their friends in these villages. Pray for the believers in Lopit to trust God’s promise to “guard the course of the just and protect the way of his faithful ones” (Proverbs 2:8).
Last month we were privileged to be a part of sending out South Sudanese missionaries, Luka and Umjuma. It was wonderful to see the church in Torit take steps to send missionaries, we were encouraged and so were Luka and Umjuma. We praise God that they and their children (all seven that they care for!) are settling in well, thriving under Robert and Carol’s leading/mentoring, and even starting to gather the believers in Iboni together for Sunday worship. Pray for a good start to a fruitful ministry. Ask the Lord to build His church in Iboni.
By now Luka and Umjuma have been in Iboni for a few weeks. Continue to pray for their integration into this Lopit community. And pray that the church in Torit will be faithful in their role to support this family in prayer and finances, as Luka and Umjuma commit themselves to living among the lost as a light for Jesus.
Please pray for Michael Uhuru, a man who, despite lack of training, has faithfully served the Iboni community at their local clinic. He has been given the opportunity to train at the Health Institute in Torit as a clinical officer, with the intention of returning to his community again at the end of the three years of training. He is open to God but does not have a full understanding of the gospel and his need for Jesus as Savior. Pray for connections with believers while he is in Torit, and that he would return to the Lopit to bring healing to his community both physically and spiritually.
Bible studies in Iboni are going well! We praise God for consistent and regular attendance at each of the six groups that meet for discovery Bible study each week. Pray for each one who attends to grow deeper in their knowledge of and love for God, and that they would “be transformed by the renewing of [their] minds” (Romans 12:2).
We praise God for Luka and Umjuma who have responded in faith to God’s call on their lives to move to Iboni. This young South Sudanese couple will be living in the house left by Marlene and Andrea and will be mentored by the Betts. Pray for the Lord’s provision for their physical needs, and that the church in Torit will walk this missional journey with them. Pray for spiritual strength, assurance of the Lord’s presence and guidance, and strength to persevere. Pray the Lord will open a door for fruitful ministry and that many Lopit will be saved!
Pray for the weekly Bible studies and teachers’ training that Marlene continues to lead, that there would be a hunger and thirst for more knowledge and understanding of the Bible, that people would commit themselves to attending the studies and training, and that God’s Word would be a light that reveals truth and hope to all the Lopit.
We are grateful we have been able to continue doing TEE (Theological Education by Extension) with Thomas and Clement since Robert and Carol have gone on home assignment. Pray for these men to grow in their knowledge of God and His will for their lives, their families, and their communities. Pray that their wives would see Jesus’ love lived out in their husbands and come to believe. Please also pray for Paulo, a Lopit pastor in another village who was doing TEE with Justin. Pray the Lord will provide a means for him to continue in his studies.
Praise God for the gathering of believers in Torit to pray for the Latuko and Lopit last month. This is a new initiative among the Christians to meet once a month for early morning prayers. Pray that those who have committed to this will be faithful, and that nothing will hinder them from meeting. Please pray for this initiative to gain momentum and grow!
Pray for the head teacher in Imuluha, that he (and others) will faithfully attend the teacher training and Bible sharing that I have planned for the teachers of that school. Pray that the Lord would use these teachers to be a light for Him in the schools, and that the light would penetrate every home through the children who are receiving the Gospel message at school.
Marlene asks for prayer for Grace, her long-time Lopit friend in Iboni. Upon Marlene’s return to Iboni last month, Grace immediately asked her to meet on a specified day and time each week for Bible study. Pray for wisdom for Marlene, and for Grace to have a growing understanding of the Word and a closer relationship with the Lord.
Last month Michael took a break from his ministry in Imatong to go visit his home village in Lopit. He is one of very few believers in Imohulwa. Pray that his words and life continue to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to his family and friends, and that many from there would turn to Jesus through Michael’s witness among them. Pray that Michael would “use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10), so that if he speaks, he speaks the very words of God, and if he serves he does it with the strength God provides, “so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ” (4:11).
A few weeks ago a group of Lopit believers met together to talk and resolve conflict among them. The Lopit team feel like it was a positive meeting, paving the way for healing and trust. Pray for these committed, faithful brothers and sisters in Christ not to quarrel, but rather “that all of [them] agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among [them] and that [they] may be perfectly united in mind and thought” (1 Corinthians 1:10); to resolve to know nothing “except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (2:2).
Pray for the children’s ministry among the Lopit. Children are coming! Please pray that the Lord will continue to grow these kids in His Word, and that He will call more workers.
Kenyan missionaries, Robert and Carol, have been really happy to see the Lord actively at work. What has been so encouraging is having people ask them to study the Bible, which has never happened before. They now have five DBS’s in their village and the sixth one is on the way. Their prayer is to have the locals lead without them. In addition to this, is the discipleship program they have been leading. They are hoping the team will continue the program while they are gone on leave. Please pray for Robert and Carol as they stand for the Lord in the midst of many challenges.
Pray for Thomas and Clement in Imoluha. They are faithfully leading the church in this Lopit village, and they recognize the need for others in the church to grow in their faith and participate in the ministry. Please pray for the Lord to raise up workers from within the church. And pray that as these men “make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with [God]” (2 Peter 3:14), their wives would see their example and come to a sincere faith in Jesus.
Micheal has recently moved to the village of Loumu, just 30-40 kilometers away from Imatong where he has lived as a missionary for the last 2 years. Pray for this young Lopit man, who speaks three languages fluently, to now learn another entirely different language. Pray for his acceptance in this community that is known to be difficult, and even hostile. Pray they will be open to receiving the Word of God.
We praise God for Bible study groups cropping up in the Lopit mountains! Pray for Robert’s Bible study with the chief and his wife – that they would be transformed by the gospel. Pray for Marlene’s DBS with some of the teachers at one of the village schools. The head master is really seeking – pray that he finds Jesus. The team would love to see a Bible study group start at Grace’s house – pray she will commit to it.
SIL has been working on the Lopit Bible translation for a few years now. Lopit believers are hungry for the Word in their mother tongue! Pray for those working on this translation work to persevere, that nothing would hinder the work, and that the Word of God will be well received by every Lopit community.
Luka and Umjuma are a wonderful Christian couple in Torit who believe God is calling them to be missionaries to the Lopit. Luka himself is a Lopit, and has felt God leading him back to his people over the last few years. This week he is (hopefully) in Iboni, getting a feel for the work that our Lopit team is doing there. He will be shadowing Robert, learning from him, getting a picture of the possibility of him and his family joining the ministry of that team. Pray for the Lord’s clear leading in all this! Pray for the Lopit team and us to know how to move forward to incorporate this couple into the team. Pray for the church in Torit to be ready to send them.
Pray for Clement, Thomas, and Paulo- Lopit men who are pastoring small churches in a number of Lopit villages. They experience a lot of persecution from their families (including their wives) and members of the community because they do not follow the traditional ways. Pray that they will “live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse [them] of doing wrong, they may see [their] good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (1 Peter 2:12).
Pray for peace between villages in Lopit. Cattle stealing and revenge have made it to where people of certain villages cannot travel to other villages. There is an effort underway to make peace. Pray those involved would be filled with wisdom and integrity. Pray for the church and believers to be strengthened to pursue peace and seek reconciliation. Pray the Lopit would come to know the God of peace, and the peace that surpasses all understanding.
The rainy season was late in the Lopit Mountains this year. Thank God that He has sent rain. Please pray that the Lopit will be able to harvest enough food this year. Please pray that they would see Christ as the creator and sustainer of life. Many believe in the rain maker, who is a go- between between them and God to ask for rain. Pray that they would know and experience a personal relationship with God in Christ.
Pray for peace between villages in Lopit. Cattle stealing and revenge have made it to where people of certain villages cannot travel to other villages. There is a effort underway to make peace. Pray those involved would be filled with wisdom and integrity. Pray for believers to be strengthened to pursue peace, seek reconciliation. Pray the Lopit would come to know the God of peace, and the peace that surpasses all understanding.
The Lopit church, which is small and in the infant stages, have almost no women believers. Pray that the Spirit would move the hearts of these mothers, wives and daughters to know Him and love Him. Pray especially for the wives of believing men to come to the Lord. Ask the Lord to show these men how to be an example of Christ’s love to their wives and children, especially in a culture where women are often not valued.