Discoveries at the Asian Market

Today Grammy and I visited the Asian market. In addition to our regular purchases (veggie meat and produce) we each got something new to try, something we'd never had before. Grammy got a small can ofmelon-flavored milk. Turns out it was carbonated melon milk. Interesting.

I got a jar of pickled lemongrass. Very interesting. Anybody have a good recipe that uses pickled lemongrass? (Emily?)



Last Installment of Kotobi Church Pictures

This is the welcome sign for the town. We took this picture on our way to the inaugural church service :) Notice the public service announcement on the bottom of the sign. Apparently the notion that malaria comes from mosquitoes isn't as widely held as you might expect.

And this is the (mostly) completed church from the road, as it looked Sabbath, January 22, 2011.

A closer shot.
Some of you more knowledgeable builder types might wonder why that the roof overhang becomes well nigh nonexistent towards the back corner. We're slightly ashamed of that, but once we noticed it, there wasn't much we could do. The problem partially stems from the fact that our roofing sheets, while obtained in Juba at a substantial discount from Mundri prices, were apparently two centimeters narrower than those used in our calculations. This magnified what we think was the root cause; that our building wasn't exactly square. But at least the sheeting extends over the walls. Shelter-seeking churchgoers will just have to stand under a different eave during the rainy season :)

Church members bringing their chairs to Sabbath School.

Song service. You can get a sense of approximately how wide the sanctuary is by noting that there are only three chairs per side in a row. It's cozy, but the high walls and the tall windows give it an airy feeling. (The plentiful ventilation and hilltop breezes help with that too :)

Luke and I both shared a little bit during Sabbath School.

On Sunday, we completed the veranda roof and poured a suspended slab over the pit latrine hole (not pictured).

Kids excited about the new church.
One thing that really amazed me was how hard the little girls work. By the age of 5 or 6 they're full-time babysitters, water-haulers, and all-around helpers. Unfortunately, this often leads into an unbalanced lifestyle where women do a lion's share of the work.

Luke is standing next to Sylvester, our faithful assistant, helping us with building, masonry, digging, mixing concrete, and whatever we needed to get done. He's a really sweet guy who works his heart out to support his family and extended relatives. He's relatively new to Mundri, having recently been repatriated by the UNHCR from a refugee camp in Uganda. During the war, he and his family fled from Maridi during heavy fighting, walked to the Congo, and finally ended up in Uganda, where he grew up.

Luke, Pastor Julius, and I, in front of the new church.

Pastor Julius with his wife and daughter.

The church, shortly before we left for Kenya.

This is a neat object lesson of what God wants to do in each of our lives. To me, it is clear that the Kotobi SDA church would not have been built without Divine supervision and intervention at every step. But Luke and I had to work awfully hard as well. God wants to craft each of us into a temple for Him to dwell in. We can't do it without His miraculous aid, and He won't do it without our earnest effort. But in the union of the human and the Divine, a beautiful monument to the glory of God, for the blessing of humanity, can be built.