Update on new missionaries

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.

Needs a savior

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.

Transformed

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).

New workers!

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!

Weekly training and studies

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.

TEE

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.

Initiative to grow

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!

Faithfully attending

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.

Meeting together

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.

Using his gift

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).

Healing and trust

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).

Children’s ministry

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.

Asking to study the Bible!

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.

Holy leaders

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.

Language and loving the Lopit

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.

Faith in the Mountains

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.

Bible Translation

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 to the Lopit!

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.

Living good lives

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).

Seek Peace

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.

Delayed Rainy Season

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.

Peace needed between villages

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.

Women

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.

Pressure

Recently the church leaders told a story of the village elders visiting and threatening to close the church because the church leaders refuse to take part in cultural ceremonies which contradict their faith. We are thankful that the issue seems to have died down for now, but please pray for the church and the leaders. Pray for discernment and strength to say no and how to do this in a way which points people to Christ. Give thanks for their boldness and courage as they face these pressures on a daily basis.

Dry Season

As this season of rest comes to the Lopit communities, ask our Father to bless them and protect them from associated distractions such as drinking. Pray that the Spirit would move people to desire Him above all else and to use the extra time to meet together to hear His word. May they enter into true rest in Jesus Christ.

Pressure

Recently the church leaders told a story of the village elders visiting and threatening to close the church because the church leaders refuse to take part in cultural ceremonies which contradict their faith. We are thankful that the issue seems to have died down for now, but please pray for the church and the leaders. Pray for discernment and strength to say no and how to do this in a way which points people to Christ. Give thanks for their boldness and courage as they face these pressures on a daily basis.

Marriage

We had the opportunity yesterday to attend the wedding of a young lady in our village. She just completed primary school and is probably around 17 or 18. Pray for this girl, whom we have known for some years. Pray that as we continue to sow into her life she may come to know Christ as her saviour and have a godly home. Many girls here still marry very young and see little other options for their future. Pray that the Lopit communitites may come to see girls as God our Father sees them.

Christmas

Just like the rest of the world, Christmas here in the Lopit Mountains is a pretty big deal. People go from house to house receiving yummy food treats, children get new clothes, and there is a general feeling of celebration. Pray that at this time people may come to celebrate the gift of salvation through Christ and not get hung up on worldly celebrations. Ask the Lord to speak through His word during church services and community meetings.

Rain

As the dry season approaches the rain has slowed to an almost complete halt. There is still Sorghum crops in the fields which need rain to make it through to harvest. Stalk borer destroyed much of the first crop so please pray that the Lord would provide the rains needed at the end of this season to bring in a good harvest for the Lopit community. Pray that as He does this, the eyes of their hearts will be opened to know Him as the bread of life and the living water.

Godly Leaders

Pray that the Lord would provide godly leaders for His church. Ask our Father to provide all His workers in Lopit communities with wisdom about how best to disciple leaders, and pray for strength for these leaders as they face spiritual attacks of cultural pressures and discouragement on a daily basis.

Funerals

This time of year sees many funerals in the Lopit mountains as rain spreads water born diseases and this combines with the end of the hunger season and a lot of hard work in the gardens. Pray that the words shared at funerals may cause people to think about their eternal destination and the great gift of eternal life in Christ.

Harvest Time

Praise God for the harvest of sorghum and peanuts being brought in this month. Pray and ask that the Lord would bring in a harvest of souls among the Lopit people. That the Word being shared might take root and transform hearts and lives.

Peace

As unrest continues between and within villages, pray that the Lord of peace would reign in the hearts of men. Pray for pride and greed to be brought to its end and young men of the Lopit mountains to bow their knees to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.

Baby born to young believers

Praise the Lord for the safe arrival of Ihisa, daughter to young believers Ediofo and Apuke. Give thanks for God’s answer to prayer in providing a daughter, after 4 sons! Pray for the Lord’s protection over this child and her parents’ young faith. Pray that as they grown in faith they may lead their children in the ways of the Lord.

Theological Education by Extension (TEE)

Praise the Lord for the three men who are working through the TEE program. Pray that Thomas, Clement and Aaron may be faithful in attending the program sessions and that the Lord will increase their knowledge and understanding of Him and His ways through this program. Pray that what they learn might be worked out in their lives each day and have a great Kingdom impact in their communities.

Captivity

Recently the sorghum gardens, which were looking great, were attacked by stalk borer. As the Lopit people continue to walk as captives of this world and the deceptions of the evil one, they sought the ‘land lord’ to perform a ceremony in order to remove this plague. Pray for the hearts of the people to turn to the Creator of the world, rather than His creation as they seek solutions to the daily challenges of life in this harsh land. Pray for release from fear and that they may receive freedom in a knowledge of our loving heavenly Father and His care and provision for us.

Independence Day

South Sudan’s Independence Day is 9 July. Pray that all those who celebrate the anniversary of their country’s independence will personally come to know the freedom they can have in Christ. Pray also for the safety of all who celebrate the three day holiday.

Medical

Give thanks for improvements in the health resources available to the people and opportunities to share the gospel with them as we transport them to the larger clinic. Praise the Lord for healing and pray those who have received His grace in this way may give thanks in heart and soul.

Youth and Young Adults

Alcohol, fighting and idleness is a large issue among youth in these communities. Pray for transformed hearts of forgiveness, compassion and love among the young Lopit men. Pray for godly men to minister to their hearts and needs. Pray that they may be the future leaders that the Lopit church needs.

Hunger

Every year around May, June and July we hear the same call. Hinga, hinga! Hunger, hunger! Pray for sustainable solutions to the problem of insufficient crops and funds among the Lopit. Pray that they may fully recognize and utilize the resources the Lord has provided for them and acknowledge Him as the giver of all things.