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Phil and Linda Byler, missionaries in Sudan
January 1, 2011 10:01 am
Published in: Uncategorized

New Year Greetings from Islamabad, Sudan.

Well not really–but last night just before 10 pm, our household of six decided we were not keen on staying up two more hours to being in the New Year. After all, we were already one hour past “missionary midnight” (9 pm).  So with the help of my I-Phone World Clock we ascertained that Islamabad was just 4 minutes from 2011. So we quickly exercised our mental omnipresence and welcomed in the Islamabad New Year with a countdown, cheers and laughter. Then PhiLinda and the 4 lady missionaries went to bed.

Prior to this, after a delicious meal of Linda’s rice and curry, we had prayers with the above mentioned six plus with Father Harold and Father Sylvester, pictured on today’s blog post email. (By the way, if any more of you want to regularly get these blog posts by email rather than going to our blog site on the web, it is no extra work for us once you are in our “blog” group email list…just let me know if you wish.) These two Catholic Friars are such a delight and inspiration to be around as their love for Jesus is radiantly and joyfully communicated. We eight transitioned into the new year with an extended time of prayer for Sudan and then for each other. It was sweet.

Tomorrow we begin our two day trip to Kampala followed by an overnight bus trip to Rwanda where we will be for our annual AIM mission conference through the 9th and then a four-day leadership consultation for our Central Region leaders. I anticipate this to be a good time of fellowship at a beautiful lakeside hotel in Rwanda.

We are sad that our regional leader, Steve Wolcott, will not be with us. His wife, Debbie, is still having undiagnosed health problems in Arkansas and their return is delayed month after month. Because of that, our international leadership has asked me to  resume the Acting Regional Executive Officer position for the first half of 2011, until either our Home Assignment begins in June or until Wolcott’s are able to return. I held this position for 2 months last year and mostly enjoyed it.

A longer stint brings the weight of “carrying the region forward” rather than just the maintenance needed for a short time. I feel very inadequate for the task but willing to trust JESUS to carry us through. We are hoping that Linda and I will be more together this time than last year when we were apart most of those weeks. We still intend to spend a week or two each month in Sudan and Northern Uganda for my unit’s leadership needs.

As Linda and I prayed for the 2011 year before us this morning in our back yard, she commented, “It seems this year has more unknowns than any I remember.” Yup, and looks like we will live out of an LLBean duffle bag for 11½ of those months. (By the way, those canvas LLBean travel bags, purchased almost 20 years ago, were one of the best material investments we ever made. They are still sturdy and just now freshly scrubbed back to their original blue color.)

P.S. Pray for our border crossings next week. Linda’s Yellow Fever immunization is a few months overdue for it’s ten-year renewal and cannot be obtained in Sudan and a fresh outbreak of Yellow Fever in Northern Uganda and South Sudan is giving scrutiny to the usually overlooked vaccination cards. I’d hate to leave her at the border.

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