Muddy Roads & Mysterious Paths

The Lord has blessed us with safe travels from New Orleans to Brussels to Entebbe to Kampala to Arua and eventually home again to Eyira Adventist Vocational Academy in South Sudan. 

Presumably, we’re in the middle of the dry season, but last night in Arua we went to sleep to the sound of rain. That’s not a big deal where the roads are paved and well-drained but with 210 miles of dirt between Arua and home, it was reason for concern. I’m glad I wasn’t driving because the roads were awful. A trip we’ve made in less than eight hours in the past took twelve hours. Poor Neria was so stressed, she broke out in hives. I told her that next time I’ll blindfold her and give her a sedative. Ha! 

The driver and I repeatedly got out to lock/unlock the front hubs. We passed semis that were stuck, turned over, or jackknifed, and detoured through new trails hacked in the bush. The Lord is good—we didn’t have to spend the night stuck on the road somewhere, and for that we’re thankful.

When we got home, we hit the ground running with dust rags, brooms, mops, and lots of elbow grease. The openings above the windows and doors allow all kinds of dust and ash to blow into the house, not to mention the armada of spiders that take up residence when one is gone for a number of weeks. But the house is now in order and Neria and I have turned our attention to our work areas. 

As I began cleaning my woodworking shop, I found that I had a visitor while I’d been away. I came across the shed skin of a nine-foot green mamba! This snake is especially venomous and its bite is potentially fatal. Needless to say, I’m claiming Job 5
and keeping on high alert for his live self lurking around my teaching area.

The secondary classes are supposed to begin tomorrow and the vocational classes next week. But we’re still missing a principal and five teaching staff. 

I’m disappointed with the progress of the new church in Farasika. Ten thousand bricks are needed but only 2,000 have been made in the past two months. If we’re to begin putting up walls in time, things are going to have to shift into higher gear. 

My woodworking class will begin soon and I have several projects lined up for my students: 14 tables for the library and computer lab, 14 locking cabinets for several of the offices and staff room, 16 pews and a pulpit, and 4 podium chairs and a Communion table for the Farasika church. There’s a good chance an additional 20 pews will be needed for another church a couple hundred miles away.  (We will ship the pews unassembled, otherwise they might be sawdust by the time they arrive over these roads.)

Please pray for our family and the challenges we face in South Sudan. We know that it is you, our prayer army, who sustains us by God’s grace. Here are a few specific requests: 

•For revival and reformation in each of our lives.

•For the administrative, staffing, and financial needs of our school.

•That the Holy Spirit will inspire our students with an earnest desire to do their best in all areas.

•The completion of the little church in Farasika.

May the Lord bless and keep each one of you. Thank you for all you’ve done and continue to do to support us here.


In Christ,

Lowell, Neria, and Stephen Jenks


Neria, our son, Stephen, and I are your average American Seventh-day Adventist family. No halos, no special previous accomplishments, no visions in the middle of the night! We were called to Eyira Adventist Vocational Academy in Western Equatoria, South Sudan, in 2009 from Holbrook Seventh-day Adventist Mission School in Holbrook, Arizona. 

 While at Holbrook, we were involved with outreach to the Navajo people. With a growing desire to increase that involvement, we began praying, “Lord, we will go wherever You want us to go and do whatever You want us to do.” We assumed God would lead us to further ministry with the Navajo people. Instead, He led us on a mysterious path to South Sudan.

We’ve never been so challenged in our lives, but neither have we been so richly blessed. God’s promises are sure. His leading never falters. And He has never led us on a path we wouldn’t have chosen to take had we been able to see the end from the beginning!

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