A letter from Aliamma George in Sudan
Dear families and friends,
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17
One day when my husband and I were walking through the street to go to a market, we saw a lady in her mid 30s sitting with her 8-year-old son on the sidewalk. As she was smiling at us, we smiled back, and after greeting each other we started talking. We asked her what she was doing there and she replied with a broad smile, “I am just begging.”
“Didn't you have to go to school today?” I asked her little boy.
“It is Saturday, no school today.”
“Yes, true, it is Saturday; I forgot what day it was. Thank you for reminding me. My name is Aliamma. What is your name, please?”
“My name is Florence, and I have four more younger children at home.”
“Is your husband watching them?”
“No, I do not have a husband.”
“So, who is watching them, Florence?”
“Nobody” — with a smile!
Then Jacob said, “Oh, you have a famous name. Florence Nightingale was the very first nurse, and she started the first nursing school. She is a nurse too” (pointing to me).
Then Florence really laughed loudly. She was happy to hear that she has a good name.
Then I said: “Florence, it is dangerous to leave your children alone at home and it is not good for your son to sit here and beg like this — he will learn begging from you. You are a beautiful lady, with good smile. You speak good English, you can easily get a job.”
“Yes, I asked my friend to find a job for me, but she did not get one for me,” Florence said in a louder voice.
Then I said: “You, and not your friend, need to go and ask for the job. Just walk straight to the market and ask in any store whether they need any help, and they will tell you what to do. You have to show your desire to work.”
Jacob told the smiling boy, “Please ask your mother to get up from here, and you go with her.” Jacob gave them a small amount of money for food.
Florence said with a smile, “Thank you for the good advice.”
I also reminded her that the following day was Sunday and it is important for a parent to get the children ready for church and Sunday school. She mentioned that she occasionally visited a church and said she would try.
We had to go that same way on Monday, and then I said to my husband: “Florence is not here today, but somebody else is sitting in that shade.” When we came closer to the sidewalk, I saw a lady sitting with her head covering and a long blue scarf hanging down, covering her whole body. I recognized her, and she started laughing loudly. I called: “Florence, how come you are here again today? How much money did you get today?”
She said, “Nothing.”
“How much did you get on Saturday?”
“Nothing, except what you gave for my son’s food.”
Then Jacob said: “Do you like to sit here because you like that building in front of you, the Haven courtyard? Do you think that you are begging in front of heaven?”
She laughed louder and said, “That is not heaven, but The Haven!”
Jacob continued: “Florence, you know the spellings and the meaning of those words. You can easily become an elementary teacher right here. Did you go and ask for the job in the market yet?”
“Thank you for the advice. I will try.”
While we were coming back from the market, we saw Florence, getting up from her seat and coming towards us. When we were closer she said: “I am going to the market to ask for the job.” We congratulated her for getting up from there. Then Jacob took a few steps forward, while I stayed with her for some “lady to lady” talk! I asked her whether we could pray together and whether she would like to invite Jesus to be the master of her life. She was very happy about it. We prayed together, she repeated the sinner’s prayer very clearly, and Florence accepted Jesus Christ as her master and Lord. We prayed for her children and her job also.
Florence said, “Thank you,” and we left.
I am sure that she got the job and her life was changed for the better. We had to leave that city when we got our travel permit. So we cannot go through that way again, but we see her through our prayers.
In the Gospel of Mark (10:51) Jesus asked the blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man answered, “Master, I want to see.” We can imagine people standing by thinking, What kind of question is that? Can’t he see that the man is blind? Jesus was not going to assume anything; the man had to redefine his desire and reach out for it by faith. “Master, I want to see.”
We find purpose in our lives by having a goal that is worth striving for. Purpose in life is one of the essential requirements for happy living. Those with the strongest sense of purpose have survived best, under suffering, war, pain and punishment. Both past and present are already fixed, but the future holds the possibility of growth. We dream about how things could have turned differently, but that is a waste of time unless we apply the lessons from the past to our life in the future.
Paul was right when he said, “But one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and striving forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)
Our teaching responsibility at the Giffen Institute of Theology of the Presbyterian Church Of Sudan is going very well by the grace of God. We have 45 pastors and evangelists as our students. They are eager to learn more about the Bible, community health, evangelism principles and English. We have 45 simple chairs in the classroom. There are no tables or laptops — only the top of their laps to write on! It is a joy to teach them and they are going to take the knowledge to their respective village churches and spread the good news of Jesus Christ to the whole of Sudan and enrich the lives of the people. Your prayers and support make it possible and we are thankful to God and to you for the same.
Thank you, prayer partners and supporters. May God’s grace be with you.
“And let us not be weary in doing well. For in due season, we will reap, if we do not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:9)
Jacob and Aliamma George
The 2011 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 54