Poem By: Gina Guy-WARen
South Sudan 2002
Stop and Listen to The Rhythm of Africa. Listen and hear the cries of the village. There is a rhythm playing. Darkness swallows up the sun, and the familiar steps of the night begin. The ants are crawling, the bats are flying, the Scorpions are many. Children find their place in the dirt among the spiders.
Do you hear the Rhythm of Africa? The outward cries of the women and children, and the inward, unexpressed fears of the men. As the sun swallows up the moon, the village comes alive. The Roosters crow, the donkeys sound of… another day in Africa .
Find a mango tree, an umbrella from the sun. But keep your eyes open, for the snakes lurk in your shade. Watch the mothers carry diseased water from the river to care for her family. See the baby kiss the air as he tries to find milk in the breast. Listen to the deaf boys as they are eating. There is a symphony that plays as they chew allowed. Listen, you can hear the orchestra play.
Strike up the band, march throughout the land. Hope is alive in Africa. God’s children are in the land. Their cries have been heard. Jehovah has heard the rhythm of Africa! Look up to heaven. Hear the choirs sing over Africa. There is a clarion call. A new rhythm is coming to Africa!
In 2002, I was the VP of an International Relief ministry. I had never flown internationally so when the Lord called me to South Sudan during civil unrest and no-fly zones, I knew this would be no ordinary trip! At the time I was married to my first husband, and we had moved in the President of this ministry. She and I became the best of friends and I had great respect for her as she sold her condo in Orange County, California in order to fund our first mission out. However, I would never suggest moving a single woman into your home if you’re married. This story of betrayal and the dangers of being on the frontlines with those who can’t be trusted, will put your life in danger. That’s exactly what happened and that story! will be for another time, but for now, I want to share just a snippet of how I was inspired to write this poem.
MAF ( Mission Aviation Fellowship) always chartered us into Africa’s no-fly zones. Brave pilots I shall never forget and will reunite with in heaven when Jesus calls me home. I knew this adventure had begun as soon as he landed us between trees on whatever dirt landing strip had been cleared away by the Sudanese brothers and sisters. They awaited our arrival with huge smiles and songs of greetings. As soon as my feet touched this soil, we were swiftly led to the local medical clinic to attend to open head wounds due to flogging. From deadly Mamba snakes, scorpions and of course the season termites were mating, I had my first introduction to Africa! When we finally made it to our compound, the SPLA-S ( Sudanese People’s Liberation Army) protected the perimeter. The road surrounding us was constantly traveled by soldiers coming from Khartoum and other surrounding villages where radical Muslims (SPLA-N) were beheading Christians. Here I was, a young home-school mom and wife surrounded by the cries of children, rumbling of old Toyota pick-up trucks filled with soldiers, and bombs going off were certainly contrary sounds in which I was accustomed to from the beaches of Southern California. I was quickly briefed on the location of the bomb shelter in the event bombing came too close to our compound. This bomb shelter was a hole dug in the ground that we would simply jump into. “I’ve got this, no problem.A little scary, but I can handle this!” At least that’s what I thought until the sun went down that first night! I had never experienced fear like I did on this night. I was literally overcome with terror as I couldn’t even see my hand in front of my face! As I lay in my bunk, I realized I had no idea where my flashlight was, my shoes nor my Bible? I didn’t know what direction to run to the so-called bomb shelter. If I can’t even see my hand in front of me in the blackness of night, how can I find my way if we are infiltrated? Fear and terror struck my soul! This is the hour I didn’t just read Jerimiah 12:5, but I lived it!
“If you have raced with men on foot
and they have worn you out,
how can you compete with horses?
If you stumble in safe country,
how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?
The next morning when I awoke, one of our Ethiopian sisters had the biggest ant hill under her bunk that was the height of a small toddler. I am not exaggerating. So, the tent outside became our dwelling place, hence where the poem was written. Of course I could write a book on my Africa assignments alone, but I wanted to focus on something specific I felt in my Spirit would be helpful to those who receive. You’re in the season of acceleration and the Lord is bringing like-minded warriors who will have your back and you will have theirs. He will not allow anyone or anything near you that will cause a breach in your destiny (an act of breaking an agreement, code of conduct. A gap in the wall, barrier or defense. A break in relations). The discernment of who is for you, not against you, who is jealous and selfishly focused and who is in unity will be key in this hour. The Father is sending help your way and 100% you will know by the Spirit of God within you, if they can be trusted. Your destiny, your life is that important. Hear me when I tell you, “It’s Go time.” Lives depend on you being in position and with the right people. It’s harvest time! Our focus should not be on escaping, but helping others escape their present captivity and be set free.Only the name of Jesus can save us. We must call on His name for by no other name can one be saved, We cannot free others if we ourselves are bound to the things of this world. The spirit of this age is holding POW’s ( prisoners of war, of religion, of addiction and trauma)! Even those who think they serve Jesus, are steeped in the New Age and all forms of witchcraft. Many want a new platform, microphone or promotion, yet like the prophet Jeremiah declared, if you are worn out and can’t keep up in familiar territory, you will never make it in one that you’re unfamiliar with. As I’ve said, we are now coming into a set place that will be full of joy as well as suffering. Can you run and can you keep up? Let your teachers in your familiar place, prepare you for what’s ahead. Those teachers are the current struggles you face. The more you struggle and fight against what the Lord is working out of you, the more bound you become. Surrender to His mighty power and His direction and then you’ll be promoted to run with horses in foreign territory.
The civil war finally ended when the SPLA/SPLM and the government of Sudan signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) on January 9, 2005, mediated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional organization of which Sudan is a member.