Back in 2001 when the United States invaded Iraq, the economic impact was felt worldwide. In the Sudan, prices for daily goods went up, and the people there – most of whom are very poor – were forced to make changes. People who were already skimping by had to skimp even more. During this time, a cheap but filling dish emerged that consists of beans, bread and yogurt. Because of the actions of the US, and because of the financial implications on Sudan, the people called this dish “Bush” – as in George W. Bush. The name stuck, and today, Bush is a common food staple throughout the country.
These men got a kick out of showing me their meal named after my president!
Wow. This video clip is powerful. Maybe it’s because I’m considered a part of the “clergy,” or maybe it’s because I do have a sensitive heart (really, I do!), but this moved me. Especially the last few seconds. I’ve felt what that pastor is feeling. I’ve said what that pastor is saying. I’ve been brought to tears like he is. Please pray for your pastor. I (we) understand that everyone has pressure and difficulty in life, but I can speak from years of observation, study, and experience that being a pastor is a hard calling. There is an intense spiritual battle that wages in a pastor’s life and in his family that is not common to anyone else. I know of many pastors who have asked God to remove this calling from their lives. I have before. But He has not, and most days, I’m thankful He has not removed this calling. But there are days…
Years ago, I was given a book by a fellow pastor called, Well Intentioned Dragons, and the book introduced me to what I would experience again and again in my pastoral ministry: “sheep that bite.” That’s how one of my pastor friends describe people in the church who cause dissension, trouble, and pain for other church members and for their pastor. And over the years, I’ve been bitten several times by people in the church that I know and love – people that I thought knew and loved me. In no way am I indicting any one church that I have served. All are filled with good and loving people. But each one has biting sheep among them as well. As one pastor says in this clip, “I don’t think most people have any clue that this goes on.” Unfortunately, it does.
I was recently sent this clip from a fellow pastor. I have not watched the full documentary, but I plan to. And like I said, this clip moved me. It resonated with me. It saddened me.
Here’s the link to the web site with more information on this video.
Here’s a minute-long video I shot on my iPhone of the Whirling Dervishes of Sudan. These are a sect of charismatic Muslims who gather each Friday night an hour before sundown to engage in charismatic worship. I stuck out like a sore thumb and it was pretty freaky at first standing in the middle of all of this, but the men were kind and welcomed visitors to take pictures and videos. Much can be learned from these whirling worshipers about the passion and joy of worship. May we worship Jesus – the King of all kings – like this.
Day 7 in the Sudan found us in the Sahara Desert riding camels at the camel market outside Khartoum. Camels for sale, and for a price, camels for riding. Here are some pictures.
Michelle and I experienced something today I never thought in all my life we would…because I never knew they existed before tonight. Whirling Dervishes. Dervishes are Sufi Muslims. And whirling is what they do every Friday an hour before sunset around some of the big mosques in Khartoum. A circle is formed and the ritual begins. The drums beat and a man sings. The beat gradually speeds up, and a large group of men, led by sheikhs and other spiritual leaders, chant and dance. After while, some of the men get so into it that they whirl. Tourist are invited to watch and take pictures, and the area surrounding the mosque transforms into a carnival-like atmosphere. Candy, fried dough balls, and of course, tea is served. Here are pictures from this event and some of the other things we did today.
A whirling Dervish.
More from the Dervishes.
At the Whirling Dervishes.
When the sun sets, the Dervishes leave the dance floor and move to the prayer room.
Delicious hot dough balls covered in sugar.
A dishwasher quietly and carefully washing the dishes for her mom who was serving tea.
A red-headed rickshaw driver. A first for Sudan.
The real rickshaw driver thought the idea of a red-headed rickshaw driver was quite funny.
The day begin at a farm with the boys taking horse riding lessons.
Day 5 in Sudan, and it finally happened! I am now a bonifide and officially labeled “Howaga.” I’ve been boldly venturing down to the local dukhan (corner store) alone with some Sudanese pounds in my pocket and a few Arabic words in tow. I’ve gone three times alone to grab some snacks – twice at night when the dukhan is surrounded by Sudanese men eating and talking. A perfect scenario to be called a foreigner, a “Howaga.” And for sure, I’m the most foreign looking Howaga in the country, but until tonight, no one has called me one.
Tonight, my order was larger than normal and required more Arabic than I could remember, so I grabbed Solomon (the men at the dukhan call him “Sooleemahn”) – the Wolves 10 year old son. As he was placing his order, the man behind the counter called him by name and then referred to me as a Howaga. Solomon, knowing that I had been waiting for someone to call me this turned to me and said, “Did you hear it?! He called you a Howaga!” I threw up a fist pump (probably startling all the men who had gathered around), and there was a grand celebration when we got back to the house.
Day 5 consisted of a few more important visits, but instead of going out today, people came to visit us. These were fascinating visits with fascinating people, and I wish I could tell you about them here. However, these are visits about which I will share when I return. Here are some pictures from today.
Here’s a look at the dukhan.
The snacks we celebrated my Howaga initiation with!
Below: We brought 12 pounds of frozen green chile with us, and Charles has been cooking with it a lot. This morning: Sudanese green chile breakfast burritos and tonight: Sudanese green chile chicken enchiladas. Delicious!