Jordan’s Story

I just got back from Nairobi where I taught theory training to our translation partners from various African countries. They gathered  from Nigeria, Tanzania, South Sudan, and Togo. Kenya was our central gathering place, because of the political unrest and danger in so many of the other countries. Once again I’m overwhelmed by the powerful movement of God’s Spirit in dark corners of the world. The suffering and danger these translators face, and their willingness, not only to persevere, but to put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of the gospel, challenges and inspires me. Jordan’s story is just one example of that.

Jordan is a man of maybe 30 years with a wife and two children. He is from South Sudan, but lived in Kenya for awhile to get his degree in Theology. He joined our team  last year and became the leader of the  translation project to get God’s Word into his own mother tongue. Jordan is a quiet, unassuming man, with a conviction and dedication that is staggering.

South Sudan is in a state of political unrest that has plagued them for almost 20 years. Rebel fighters in the countryside attack travelers and often completely block roads, making travel impossible in many areas. Violence is a part of life. Jordan worked as a school teacher in his village. He taught for 6 months without being able to get out to town to pick up his pay check because the roads were shut down by rebels. When he was finally able to travel to the office of education, they refused to pay him, challenging him for not coming in sooner, and suggesting that he must be a rebel himself. Realizing that an accusation of rebel activity from the ministry of education would spell real trouble for him, he was forced to back off, and forfeit his pay. His wife, who was working as a nurse in a clinic, has  recently lost her job. Because of the constant danger of their situation, they have sent their children to live with their grandparents in Uganda. Now with no jobs left for them in their own village, they are preparing to leave as well, and have been considering moving to Uganda.

But over dinner one evening Jordan told me, “Most of the translators on this project have fled from South Sudan, now because the rebels have made it so dangerous to live in my area. They have scattered, and the work is no longer getting done. I can only trust one man on our team. He is still there. I have to go back to my village. I have to find out where they have gone.  I have to try to figure out a way for us to regroup and continue the translation–maybe even in Uganda where so many have gone.”

And so when we said good by on Saturday after the workshop, we headed home to the freedoms and security we so often take for granted, while Jordan headed back into the fire, back to the dangers of political unrest, rebel fighting, and lack of basic necessities for life, back to the work of getting his own people Scripture in their language. But he didn’t go back out of drudgery and duty. Jordan went back with a smile on his face, insistent that this is his calling, this is what he must do.

Pray for Jordan and so many like him in war-torn regions where Satan has ruled supreme for far too long. Pray for courage and safety. But most of all pray that the Light of God’s Word would penetrate the darkness. Pray for His peace and His hope to reign supreme.

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