Mobilizing support, resources, and tools for missionaries
The unexpected gunfire erupting into our lives on December 15, 2013 changed everything for so many people. We have lived through this type of event in another country, in another century, and in another world, so to speak. In 1992, we found ourselves in the middle of an uprising with gunfire, looting, artillery fire, and drunken soldiers on the rampage. We had five children with us. I say it was a different world because we did not have a phone nor a shortwave radio, and of course, no Internet of any kind. Our news came from the British Broadcasting Company and Voice Of America, and our warning to evacuate came in writing via many hands. And, although in 1992 we also evacuated by road, this time the experience was quite different.
Throughout this volatile experience we were blessed to be in contact, via internet, with our sending church, with Pastor Dennis Jennings, with our family, and with the crisis support help of our Mission Office. One of the directors gave us his home phone number and urged us to call at any time. They sent us security information from their crisis sources, with current and pertinent information. So, as the bullets and artillery shells were flying, the emails and Skype calls were also flying, and it was good to know we were being supported in prayer and with valuable information.
When we made the decision to evacuate, via road, with the last of the Wycliffe Summer Institute of Linguistics essential staff, we were able to do so knowing there would be people praying for us and ready to support us in any way necessary. Thanks to our mobile phones, we were able to maintain contact throughout our evacuation from South Sudan and on the long road trip through Uganda and Kenya.
Because of the thousands of people at the border between South Sudan and Uganda, it took us over five hours to clear both sides, delaying us so much that we knew we would be arriving in Gulu well after dark. With the mass exodus from South Sudan, and all traffic heading to Gulu, we were concerned we may not be able to even find a room for the night. We decided to make the call to the associate director who had given us his home phone number. We were both amazed when we were able to make the connection from the dusty dirt road heading away from the border and ask him if he could try to Google hotels in Gulu and find one where he could book our entire party into four double rooms. We were requesting secure parking and hopefully Internet access! Thinking he may not be able to call us back, we requested him to text message us if he was successful, hoping there would be stretches along the road where we would have a mobile signal.
About an hour from Gulu, when we were all feeling hot, dusty, and exhausted, we received the incredible text message that he had been successful and had booked us all into the Churchill Court Hotel. The text message included a contact person, directions, and phone numbers! We were praising God the rest of the way to Gulu! What a blessing it was, after 13 hours on the road, to be welcomed by a hotel staff who were expecting us, and further, to find clean rooms, to have good Internet, to have secure parking, and to get a safe night’s rest. What a blessing to have a support team all of the way from the U.S.A.! This is just one example of the many ways in which we felt the firm support of the Mission Office throughout the ten-day experience, from the onset of gunfire near our home in Juba to our Christmas afternoon arrival at our friend’s home in Nairobi, Kenya.
We praise the Lord for His goodness, His answers to prayer, and His guardian angels throughout those ten days of crisis. And let us beseech you to join us in prayer for all of the South Sudanese whose lives have been irrevocably changed by violence and death. Our heart’s desire is to return at the earliest possible time, to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, the healer of the broken hearted and the forgiver of all of our sins. Thank you for praying with and for us. May Jesus Christ be praised!
Ron and Christine Enoch
To read the entire February 2014 Global Partners, click here.