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Phil and Linda Byler, missionaries in Sudan
July 30, 2010 3:21 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

The first call came about 11 AM. Danielle, our missionary in Sudan, was experiencing severe abdominal pain, suspected appendicitis. Unable to find a doctor in Yei town, they were looking for an emergency flight to Kampala. Several phone calls later confirmed that the thrice weekly commercial flight would wait on the ground in Yei to bring her to Kampala. Being her Unit Leader from Sudan even though wearing the acting REO hat in Kampala, I elected to meet her at the Entebbe airport. She arrived still able to walk despite the severe abdominal pain. I donned my M.D. hat to ask doctor probing questions as she lay in the back seat enroute to International Hospital Kampala (IHK) I repeatedly had to  pop on the chauffeur hat to give way to the AFRICAN BIG MAY CONVOYS recklessly commandeering the road for the African Union Presidents meetings in Kampala.

While checking Danielle into the hospital at IHK my REO phone rang with an emergency call from our AIM Unit Leader in Chad. His wife, Pam, the camel crash victim from 2 weeks ago, had taken a turn for the worse and her doctor was recommending emergency medical evacuation to a major city hospital, probably in France.

The next hour was a volley of international phone calls in one ear while participating in the medical evaluation of Danielle with the other. I was changing role-playing hats so quickly it would have left Dr. Suess wordless. Meanwhile my private phone rang for some medical advice from a Sudanese pastor.

At the end of the day Danielle was settled into a hospital bed with suspected but unconfirmed appendicitis. The airplane warming up for medical evacuation in Chad was put on overnight hold when it was ascertained that the panic levels of laboratory tests were spurious. I comforted/prayed with Danielle under my fatherly hat, wound down with a phone call to Linda wearing my best friend hat, and dropped my bald, hatless head into bed.

Two days later Danielle is recovering from her appendectomy. Pam in Chad is slowly improving with lots of prayer. The Africa  Big Man convoys have all flown away. There have been no more Kampala bombings. I’m looking for a hat rack.

July 24, 2010 4:09 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

Yes, Phil and Linda were endearingly together for a week in Torit. Having upgraded to a second net book, we’re not competing for computer time anymore. Too much of the week was spent at the keyboard, but Phil also had some excellent connections with church leaders and enjoyed horticulture therapy, trimming up the yard bushes and trees. The week’s highlight was a candlelight, moonlight date in our back yard with Linda’s special raisin pie and raisin bars for desert. Then we fell asleep reading some heartwarming memories of our family growing up years in Williamsport.

If we want to go to the prettiest piece of geography in Torit, we simply step out our back door. People ask our gardener where we get all the flowers. One Kenyan pastor while waiting for a flight in our back yard said, “This place is just so different than all the rest of Torit. So clean and green and colorful.” We praise God for our home and togetherness and HIS amazing creation.

July 16, 2010 9:48 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

One of my friends, Alice (with nursing child in arms), has a group that meets on her compound each Friday night.  She worked all day, came home and swept the compound, and then welcomed us all to the gathering.  The testimonies were inspiring–JESUS healing a child after being stricken by lightning this week (the mother called another lady and they prayed together on their cell phones), a new believer who had a hot temper testifying about how her change is affecting her disbelieving relatives, and another lady sharing how she had given forgiveness to those who gossiped about her.  Very Biblical “church” and encouraging to all present!

July 15, 2010 12:51 am
Published in: Uncategorized

A few days ago I posted a photo and description of my “Acting” REO position for 2 months. Since then we’ve had two crisis to deal with. A Unit Leaders wife in Chad narrowly escaped death when their vehicle collided with an adult camel (try to imagine the impact). Thankfully she is recovering well. Next there was the Terrorist bombings right here in Kampala on Sunday night. None of our AIM people were injured but a close friend, Nate, was killed. Because of all the uncertainty and because most of our Kampala based leadership was out of town, I, Phil, have extended my stay in Kampala until at least this weekend while Linda remains in Torit. Now this morning I read of Rwanda’s opposition leader in next months elections found dead, murdered.

This is feeling like real-life drama rather than “acting.”

July 15, 2010 12:30 am
Published in: Uncategorized

For the past two days, I, Linda, have loved having my friend Beatrice and her three kids with me here at the compound. While her husband was away, two of the children got very sick with malaria and she herself had a painful cough.
Since they live outside of town in an area inaccessible at times during this muddy season, she requested me to fetch them in the car to get the oldest daughter to the clinic. We have been back to the clinic, prayed against the devil’s plans to discourage her, prepared and ate food together. Their health is improving. Today, I shared our drawing materials, kids’ books, and our family’s old “memory game!” and we concluded the day with a sweet JESUS time.

July 9, 2010 7:51 am
Published in: Uncategorized

I, Phil, never imagined myself as an actor. However I’m now spending days at this desk in Kampala as “Acting Regional Executive Officer” for Central Region, AIM International. This covers AIM ministries in Uganda, Sudan, Congo, Rwanda, CAR, and Chad. Our REO, Steve Wolcott is on a two month visit to the USA. Thankfully I’m surrounded by excellent resources. Today’s phone call from Congo in French was passed to Laura, our book keeper who is fluent in French.

Meanwhile, Linda is back in Torit blessing our Torit relationships and our Sudan team. I will rejoin her for 11 days on Tuesday, July 13.