Torit Part 2
Our second day in Torit we got up early to have breakfast with Ray Noah, Founder of Petros network, and the team from the Colorado Vineyard church. Petros Network has a vision for planting churches in Africa. They team up with churches to reach the unreached for the Gospel. The other team had been teaching and training the earlier part of the week, so Thor and Mark were scheduled to teach today and tomorrow.
After breakfast we walked to the church where the training and interviews were being given. The life stories of all these missionaries were amazing. There are a few though that stayed fresh in my mind. Brief descriptions of their stories are below:
One missionary had a dream where God appeared to him. In the dream he was to be called to missions in Sudan. At the time, the man did not know how to speak, read or write English. English and Arabic are the two main languages spoken in Sudan. So not knowing both of these languages would be a hindrance to any missions work in Sudan. In the dream, the man was told that in seven days he would be able to speak, read and write in English. Seven days later the man woke up and was able to speak, read, and write in English. If that is not amazing enough, the man’s English was so good that he was one of our interpreters during this trip!
Another missionary told how she fled the war as a refugee in Uganda. There she had a curse put on her by a witch doctor. Later, that curse was broken by the power of Christ. She now is being sent out in missions.
The last missionary story is that of Elijah Ojok. It is quite amazing.
He was born into a family which had a lot of cattle. In his tribe (Otuhol), a family that has lots of cattle is considered rich. When he was six, his father was shot dead by a man. Elijah knew the name of the man who killed his father. After his fathers’ death, the family’s wealth was scattered and soon gone. Elijah’s mom took care of them for three years and then she died when he was nine. Elijah, his brothers, and sister were now orphans. His aunt took him in and was caring for him for a few years and then she was killed when she was struck by lightning in her garden. This made Elijah more sorrowful.
Elijah stayed with his cousins for a while, but they treated him poorly after his aunt’s death. Eventually, they chased him from their home. Elijah went to stay with his brothers and sister. They were all still young, Elijah, 11 and his brothers and sister not much older, were starving to death.
Elijah was eventually offered a place to stay by another cousin if he would watch her child. While there he heard how his older brother had gone to a refugee camp in Uganda. A few years later his brother called for him to come to the camp. They went to Uganda on foot – a 72 hour journey from his village. His feet became sore and swollen from all the walking. His brother wept when he saw him. In Uganda he attended a church and went to school. He wanted to attend secondary school, so he lied to the IRC and Aids Commission, stating his parents died from Aids in hope of going to school. They considered him, but there was no sponsor.
In 2006-07, Elijah started living a wicked life and became a drunk. At the time, he was still trying to find something to do for a future, so he tried composing secular songs and wanted to be a secular artist. While in Southern Sudan in 2007, Elijah had an encounter with a man who preached to him. At the time, Elijah was drunk, confused, and hopeless. When the man preached to him Elijah again met Jesus and remembered the time he had spent in Uganda at Sunday School and all the joy he had there as a child. He began crying and the pastor also began to weep. He had an encounter with Jesus. It is a day Elijah says he will never forget. He began to attend his church but then eventually left to go to a village and began to drink again.
After two months, Elijah came back from the village and the pastor met him on the way. He said he had been looking for Elijah and that he was going to buy him a Bible and Elijah should go with him as he preached. Elijah disagreed in his heart, but the fact the preacher said he would buy a Bible for him challenged him. It gave him a sense of importance.
Later, upon the pastor’s instruction, Elijah went to his friend whom he used to drink with and told them how he had stopped drinking. He didn’t want them to buy him alcohol or force him to drink anymore because he was saved. His friends mockingly accepted his wishes.
As Elijah became more obedient to God, his friends began to see his life changing and the joy that filled his heart. This made them hate him. One day one of his friends stabbed him with a knife, so he no longer hung out with them. He then stayed with the pastor after his brother wouldn’t let him stay there anymore. He stayed with the pastor for three years.
When we met him, he shared with us how God was dealing with him. God wanted him to go back to the village and tell the man who killed his dad he had forgiven him.
Elijah’s full story, written in his own words, is located at www.VineyardNC.org.