I pray your year has started well. For some, however, our plans and resolutions may not be going well already. Is your future looking gloomy and hopeless? Is the pain in your body causing you to lose hope? Are your finances in disarray? Do you call on God, and He seems silent? Are you wondering why every door is being slammed in your face? Why? I am not be able to answer that question, but I want to encourage you to not lose hope. Hang on in there. Do not throw in the towel.
I would like to encourage you with the words penned by Matthew Ball. But first, please allow God to bless you through these verses:
Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Proverbs 19:21 – “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
2 Corinthians 4:7-9; 16-18 — “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned;struck down, but not destroyed.”
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Matthew Ball writes:
“To all who have prayed for us, loved us and supported this trip to Sudan,
Our trip to South Sudan has been postponed. The visa requirements changed and visas are now required before entering the country (aka before departure). We had been told that visas were available on entering the country. However, there was much confusion at the airport as my dad was allowed to board in error and Peter and I were kept from boarding.
Of course, while we are disappointed, God isn’t. Even as we prayed and planned and bought supplies and prayed some more and bought our tickets and arranged lodging and transportation in South Sudan and continued praying…, God knew we would still be home today. Nothing happens outside of his control and we are firmly in His will. Knowing that God had a different time in mind for our trip is very comforting. Also, knowing that our job is the same regardless of where we are: to bring glory to the name of God in everything (1 Corinthians 10:31). And so as I write this in my office in El Cajon, CA my prayer is that my life will bring glory to God today because of the things I do, think and say. God is good and he is worthy of my full devotion today.
About the situation with donations, flights, supplies etc. We will receive a refund for our flights minus a cancellation fee that I will replace myself. We have everything we need for a trip to South Sudan and we are actively planning our trip for a different day. Already we are tentatively looking at a trip in the summer perhaps. Pray that the way will be opened for us to go soon!
I wish you could all have talked with Peter when we found out at the airport that we couldn’t board. While I frantically began calling, texting and emailing to find a solution, Peter kept reminding me that, “This trip is not about us, it is about God.” He also kept quoting verses from Isaiah about God in control. He is totally ready for whatever God has in store and has his normal infectious God honoring attitude. It’s been 27 years since he’s been to his home country and yet he treasures God above everything. He was and is a fantastic reminder to me about what really matters in the face of disappointment.
As I’ve written many times in these updates, please pray for peace in South Sudan. On the day we were to depart, peace talks broke down yet again. The country is in constant turmoil and the peace of God is needed to bring reconciliation and forgiveness between the many tribes and people of the Sudanese region. God is at work there and we must pray that his kingdom come in South Sudan.
Thank you all for your prayers and support and know that I will continue to steward the resources and supplies you have generously provided. Lord willing, we are still going to travel to South Sudan and I will keep you posted as our plans progress!
In His name and for his glory,” – Matthew Ball