By Brad Phillips
I was somewhere between Gok Machar and Jaac with my team. It had already been a long day. What was supposed to be a three-hour journey had doubled. It was well past dark, and our vehicle was weaving in and out between trees and thorn bushes, trying to avoid the occasional stump protruding from the "road" that was really nothing more than a glorified cow path.
All of a sudden, PPF Director Matt Chancey yelled out, "Hey, stop the car! There's our rig!" Off the road a ways, lit up like a Christmas tree, was one of our drilling rigs busily drilling another borehole to bring fresh water to the thousands of people in Jaac.
It was a beautiful sight. There was no moon, so the stars were very bright. It was a peaceful night, but not a quiet one, because the air was filled with the hammer-sound of the drilling rig as it pounded its way deeper and deeper through the dark red soil.
Although it was late, the noise of the rig had attracted a lot of attention, mostly from men and boys standing around watching the work.
I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and thankfulness at that moment. I remembered how difficult it had been to finish the first few wells in the community. Now I was witnessing the 41st well being drilled!
By the time I left Africa to return home for Christmas, the 45th well was completed. At the time of publication, the 52nd well was operational in Jaac. Our goal of reaching the half-way mark to 100 wells by Christmas was met. PRAISE THE LORD!
Of course, God uses means to achieve His ends, and that means I need to thank you, our ministry partners, for helping us achieve this aggressive goal in the middle of a world-wide recession. We know God is not worried about the economy, nor should we be. The year 2009 was filled with incredible challenges, but none were greater than God, and He provided for all our needs and many thousands of lives were impacted by the work you have chosen to support.
In addition to the water project in Jaac, we also witnessed the fruit of our other ministries to the community. It was my pleasure to be joined by my good friend and PPF ministry partner, Larry Warren of African Leadership. Larry and I were privileged to attend a graduation ceremony of 29 pastors in Jaac who had completed more than 500 hours of training sponsored by African Leadership. It had been two years since Larry had last been with me in Jaac, and he summed up the changes in one word: "health."
PPF's medical clinic in Jaac was very busy, as we received the first of hopefully many shipments of shoes and medicine using our new truck, "Mercy," to save us thousands of dollars normally spent on expensive relief flights.
It was a wonderful trip, and I felt so privileged to have been chosen to be a part of this vital work in a barren land forgotten by the rest of the world. It reminded me that the same God Who watches over the sparrows has remembered His suffering people in Jaac.
I know most of you reading these pages will never have an opportunity to see this miracle for yourselves, but I hope my words and these pictures convey at least a hint of the magnitude your prayers and testimony of giving have made in the lives of the people in Jaac and other communities in Sudan.
As I write these words at the close of 2009, the words of a powerful hymn keep entering my mind - and I trust they will carry us all through a new and exciting year:
"To God be the Glory, Great Things He Hath Done!"