This past week The Marcella Project hosted the Basic 101 Training Course for women in Yei South Sudan. AnnGrace, the woman overseeing the training, asked us to translate the material into Juba Arabic. Juba Arabic is different than classical Arabic in that it uses the English alphabet to write out the sound of an Arabic word. Weird I know. Talk about a task for which I had no clue. Where does a suburban woman like me find someone who can translate English into Juba Arabic?
Well, it just so happens my son Hunter has been taking Arabic for a few years. He had a Muslim friend in his class that translates for the American government. Not only did this man know classical Arabic, he knew Juba Arabic too. Perfect. We hired him to do the translation in Juba Arabic. I received the translation the week I departed for Africa. It was classical Arabic. UGH. I was so discouraged that it was the wrong type of Arabic. Now some of the women would not be able to read the material for the conference. Steve encouraged me to bring at least one print of the classic Arabic anyway. “You never know,” he said.
I arrived in Yei on Tuesday and the conference began Wednesday morning. Eight women, hand selected by AnnGrace, her best bible students. These women would not only become preachers but trainers of other women preachers too. I have to tell you I felt totally unequipped. Yes, I know I’m way qualified in America but training but in another culture is a whole other beast. Class opened with some words of encouragement from Bishop Taban then I asked if anyone in the class read classical Arabic. Guess how many raised their hands?
One. Yup, that’s how God rolls. One woman needed the material in classical Arabic the rest could read the English version.
Rita was the one.
Rita is an educated woman from an area in the Republic of Sudan. For those of you who don’t know there was a peace treaty between the north and south Sudan about nine years ago. Then in July of 2011 the north and south voted to split the nation into two countries. The Republic of Sudan is mostly a Muslim nation whereas the Republic of South Sudan is mostly Christian. You can read how fighting still exists between the two (and tribes) on the border. Christians who are “caught” living in the north after the split try to move to the south to avoid religious persecution. Rita is one of those who fled for safety. Even though she is educated, a rare commodity in South Sudan, she struggles to find a job because she doesn’t speak English or the native tribal language very well.
Rita was one of the eight women I had the privilege to train in Yei, South Sudan. As you can see she stands a good foot taller than me! She has a regal appearance and a smile that could warm any heart. She is smart. Spoke up in class. Worked hard to understand. Risked embarrassing herself by drawing for the class.
Rita is a strong woman. A woman of valor. And she reads classic Arabic. God knew it. Way over on the other side of the world he connected my son to a Muslim who would translate our material on preaching God’s Word for a woman raised in northern Sudan but living in the south where she can’t get a job because she speaks Arabic.
I printed one.
theBASICS preachTHEword 2 Timothy 4: -2
عندﺩما دﺩخلنا مجالﻝ اﺍلتعلﯾﻳمﻡ اﺍلمسﯾﻳحﯾﻳة ترﺭتبتﺕ علﯾﻳنا مسؤﺅلﯾﻳاتﺕ وﻭ اﺍمتﯾﻳازﺯاﺍتﺕ كبﯾﻳرﺭةﺓ.اﺍسسﺱ قﯾﻳامﻡ اﺍلمسﯾﻳحﯾﻳة على كلمة اﺍلرﺭبﺏ .وﻭاﺍنﻥ اﺍلرﺭبﺏ ﯾﻳدﺩعوﻭ اﺍلقدﺩﯾﻳسﯾﻳﯾﻳنﻥ منﻥ اﺍلرﺭجالﻝ وﻭاﺍلنساء اﺍلى اﺍلتكلمﻡ بلغتﮫﻪ في شرﺭحﺡ اﺍلرﺭسالة اﺍلمسﯾﻳحﯾﻳة باستخدﺩاﺍمﻡ كلماتﮭﻬمﻡ اﺍلخاصة وﻭ ھﮪﮬﻫذﺫاﺍ ھﮪﮬﻫوﻭ اﺍلسرﺭ في قدﺩسﯾﻳة اﺍلمسﯾﻳحﯾﻳة.
God knew there was one. It was Rita.
What Rita will take away from this conference is not only how to preach but that God is taking care of her. He printed one, just one, for her.