Destination: Middle of Nowhere

Mambo!  My family and I have settled into Dar es Salaam and have started our ministry to ABWE missionaries.   A few weeks ago, we went on our first trip to South Sudan to visit the Siglers who are missionaries out there!
                                                                       The Siglers
We had to fly on a tiny plane that only has six seats to get there, and we arrive and the runway is a dirt path with cows that decided to lay down in the middle of it.  They should have had a sign that said: Welcome to the Middle of Nowhere!  If any of you are wondering, that is where we were.

See that windy path that just looks like a road? That is the river we had to cross to reach the village.  If you thought that was the river....wishful thinking.   

   This is not the road either.  That was the runway that is not as smooth as it looks....

We were out in the African bush, complete with the tribes and villages.  You know, the classic African tribe where clothes are optional, everyone has a million piercings, they cut themselves and the scars will form designs, voodoo magic and witch-doctors are welcomed, all the men have many wives, and the wealth is counted by how many cows and goats they have.  The specific tribe that they are working with are the Taposa.

 This is how they make the flour.  They take the grain from the stalks of sorghum that you can see in the background, and they grind it on the rock until it turns into powder.

I am filled with awe and admiration at how well the missionaries out there are holding up.  Their two girls, Jillian and Grace, go to a boarding school in Kenya and Gannon is home-schooled.  Their compound is a half an hour away from the "airport", but their compound is a fenced in area with a small guest house, an outdoor sitting area where they meet with some of men from the village, and then their main house.  Their electricity comes from solar panels, but they have to limit their use of electricity since there is only sun in the day. (That proves they don't live in Alaska, if any of you were wondering!)

As we were there, I noticed something about the Taposa that was kind of unusual to me, and something that would wear you out very fast.   People are constantly at the gate of their compound asking for things, but when they don't get what they want, they will try and guilt them into giving it anyways.  Like this one time a lady came to the gate wanting Mrs. Sigler to buy some bracelets, but Mrs. Sigler had already bought tons just the week before!  When Mrs. Sigler said no," I don't need anymore", the lady at the gate said she was mean and walked away!  I was amazed when Mrs. Sigler came back into the house and just shrugged it off by saying that it happens almost everyday! I have to say, I greatly admire the Siglers for being able to handle that day after day.  I could barely handle it for four days and after that short amount of time I was ready to pull out my hair!!

The Taposa speak absolutely no English, so the Siglers have had to learn the Taposa language.  There aren't any books for them to look at, or dictionaries, or anything like that.  You can imagine how hard it would be for them to try and minister to people when you are still trying to learn the language!  Mr. Sigler spends much of his time witnessing to men of the village, whereas Mrs. Sigler balances her time with homeschooling their son Gannon and doing bible studies with the ladies.

 It has been slow progress for them, but they have made a ton of headway.  When we were there, one of the ladies that Mrs. Sigler had been ministering to decided to be baptized!!  On Sunday, the Siglers took us to the church service that many people from the village attend (they meet under a tree by the river)   Sometimes up to 200 people attend!!

                This is Mrs. Sigler and her friend who got baptized while we were there.

At the church service, there is over an hour of singing as a group.  As they stand in a large circle and sing, people will go out into the circle and jump all the way around, hopping to the music!  It wears you out after three or four times around the circle!!

The Taposa girls would want to jump with us around the circle, and Natalie was a favorite.  She didn't jump to the beat, but it was so cute because she hopped so high and so hard...and she loved it!!

We had a fun time seeing how the missionaries live in South Sudan, and also how the Taposa live!  While we were out there, I asked one of the Taposa girls to pierce my ear with a thorn!  Now I have a second piercing in the left ear.  Granted, I had forgotten that I am my daddy's girl, which means I get queasy with needles, shots, or anything like that.  So, I threw up after that in front of all the Taposa girls.  Yup, that's just me.  It doesn't matter which country I go to, I also draw attention to myself, for good or bad. (Mostly bad, but you don't need to repeat that!)  One thing that I thought was really funny is that there is no word for braces in Taposa, so there was no way to explain my braces!!  Everyone was so confused when they pointed at my mouth and looked amazed!  We ended up having to say that my teeth were "sick", so I was known as the girl with sick teeth.  Again, attention magnet.  *sigh
                                             This is the girl that pierced my ear for me! 
  (I wanted her to pierce my nose also, but dad said no.  I think they look really cool!)

I hope you have a Merry Christmas, and please enjoy the snow if you have any!  I am sitting in our house right now with the fan on and sweat is rolling down my face!  Don't complain about cold weather, count it as a blessing!  At least you can put on more clothes and use is not like I can take off any more clothes!!

         South Sudan's version of a limousine.  To be fair, this was one of the few cars that I saw during our whole trip!

This is Natalie on the smallest plane, the one with only six seats.  I took one look at the plane and asked :"So, are they taking us one at a time?"

P.S. A very big thank you to the AIM (Africa Inland Mission) and MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) pilots that flew us to South Sudan and back.  You guys did an amazing job!


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