If you ever have the opportunity or desire to go to the Nuba Mountains, let me give you a couple pieces of advice. First of all: do it. Traveling to Nuba is an experience few will have in life. To see the people, hear their stories and witness what God is doing in this region of the world is something I wish everyone could do. My second piece of advice: once you arrive, be ready for whatever schedule you have to be completely turned upside-down. This is honestly great advice for all mission fields, but Nuba has more hoops to jump through than most places due to its remote location and unique security issues. This last trip was no different than most in terms of the changes in schedule, but was still definitely not what I expected.
My father gave my buddy, Addison Moslow, and me one major task for this trip to Nuba. Go to a specific marginalized and oppressed area of this region and ensure that the thirty-five children selected by the community are safely brought to the school that lies in a secure location. Then make sure the fifteen children selected by the community from another similar region are also on their way to this school. These fifty will join the fifty others already there, bringing the total number of children at the school to 100.
Simple. But like I said, nothing usually goes to plan. We first met with the government officials to ensure we had their permission to carry out our plan. I won’t bore you with the details, so I'll fast forward to our third meeting with this governing entity. Keep in mind that the area we were trying to access is populated by a Muslim majority and they are aware that we believe in Jesus. One of their biggest hesitations was that we would convert these children. After long negotiations we finally settled that two men would go before us and start bringing small groups of kids out of this controlled territory, so that Khartoum would not notice and everyone would be kept as safe as possible.
It felt like everything was running smoothly. Fast forward two more days. Addi and I were sitting and waiting for the truck to come pick us up to go meet the kids.
One hour passed.
Then two more.
Pretty soon it became clear that we weren’t going to go. When the next meeting rolled around, they told us that the accommodations we provided for the kids were not enough, which, to be honest, is ridiculous. We had delivered truck loads of food to sustain them for a year, new clothes and new shoes for each of the children and provided access to education, medical care, shelter and more. They would not let these children leave and it basically boiled down to our Christian faith.
I know this is such a blunt matter-of-fact way to tell this story. Maybe at some point I can give the full account because I haven’t even touched on the Coronavirus and what it was like hearing those developements while in Nuba. But here is what I walk away with from this trip: at first glance it might look like, “Man. They failed. They wanted to get fifty kids, but only those fifteen got out.” But when I look deeper, I think, “Dang dude. Those fifteen made it.”
Know that my father, me, ATC -- whatever way you want to look at it -- aren’t stopping until we get all 100 kids at that school. Maybe they will come from other areas of the region, maybe they will come from that one, but just because the enemy throws roadblocks in the way doesn’t mean we quit pushing. We believe the Lord wants us to bring 100 kids out of crisis and conflict and provide them the opportunity for a new life. And that is what is going to happen. All in His timing.
JAKE FULLER | FIELD COORDINATOR
Jake never thought he would follow in his father's footsteps, but after stepping in to lead an emergency relief trip to the Nuba Mountains in the fall of 2017, he knew God was leading him into missions. After graduating from Virginia Tech with a degree in Agricultural Science and a minor in Social Change and Leadership, Jake accepted a full-time position as ATC's Field Coordinator. When he's not leading trips or coordinating projects, you can find Jake working on the family farm or hanging out with his wife A.C.