Coming to California

Hey friends and family,

Running around the house sorting through half packed boxes and bags, getting ready for my trip tomorrow, I just realized that I forgot to let you all know about my trip to Redwood City.  I’ll be leaving early tomorrow (Friday 13th) to spend the weekend at Peninsula Covenant Church.  I’ll spend most of Sunday the 15th at the missions fair, where I hope to see many of our friends.  Unfortunately Tabby and the kids will not make this trip.  Instead we are planning an extended family visit to Redwood City April 3-19.

I’ll be free Friday, Saturday, and Monday for coffee or just a chat.  I’d love to visit with you all.  I’ll hopefully have a phone number later today, but until then I can be reached 972.539-5395.

Blessings,

Trent

Trent’s back…

Trent arrived back here safely Friday night.  It was a wonderful trip, which I’ll let him write about later.

We spent this morning at immigration getting our exit visas and we will leave tomorrow night at 11:40pm.  Twenty four hours later we’ll arrive in Texas.  Hard to believe we’ll finally be able to introduce our little Desta to our families.  We can hardly wait!

With all that we have had going on, we haven’t been able to give much thought to our home assignment, but now as it draws near, we are looking forward to reconnecting with family and friends and telling you about the exciting things going on here and in our lives.

Looking forward to a little tex-mex too. and barbecue. and ice cream. and sweet tea.  Jack’s looking forward to game park hotdogs (really?). Lily’s looking forward to doughnuts at church.  But we’re all looking forward to hugs from family.

Won’t be long now…

IMG_1790

South Sudan…

Wow. It’s been so long since I’ve blogged, it took me a while to remember the password! But having emerged from the bush, and with easy Internet access on the foreseeable horizon, I thought it time to dust off the keypad and take a stab at staying connected to the world and the few in it that know us.

I could wax eloquent on leaving Alduba, the transitions that lay ahead, the missionary life in general, or I could tell some entertaining stories about life in the bush, the kids, or about my car accident on the way up to Addis (ok, not entertaining…). But not today. Today I refrain.

One of the big advantages of blogging, for us, is to get prayer requests out to those who love and pray for us. I can share something timely, share it once, and in an instant, we have hundreds of people reading the blog and praying. That’s awesome. That’s worth staying up an extra hour to type out a post on my iPad with my clumsy-not-used-to-this-been-in-the-bush-without-internet-too-long fingers, who definitely need the practice.

So here it is…while I sit here in Addis reacquainting myself to the world of “devices” and all things high-tech and the “connectivity” they provide, Trent is out on a survey trip in what is probably the most least (can you say that? only when tired) explored part of South Sudan, if not Africa – the eastern edge of the Eastern Equatorial State that butts up to the Ethiopian border. Taposa territory. Yep. He’s out there in the “real” middle of nowhere. I mean really. Nowhere. A 500km wide space of nothing, nothing except cows and Taposa and a lot of swamp land making right now, dry season, the only time to travel. He’s been planning this trip for a long time, and now he’s there, he and some others who share his passion to get the gospel to the truly unreached. Following the survey trip, there will be a two-day round table discussion including four different missions and a few national church leaders on how best to launch a new work in this area.

Please pray for their safety and health, but more than that, pray that it would be a profitable undertaking, that they would see and hear what God wants them to, that they would learn much, that their vehicles wouldn’t break down in the “real” middle of nowhere. Pray too that as they all meet together at the consultation that God would reveal His plan, His vision, and give His wisdom as how to move forward, after all, it’s His work, His church, His harvest.
You can pray for the kids and I too. Ten days apart is a lot. They are participating in the mission school’s Field Days this week which is fun but exhausting, for kids and mom alike.
Pray that we get our clearance letter and exit visa done in the two business days we have between Trent’s return and our departure on February 3rd!
Well, that should keep you on your knees for a while. Not sure when or if I’ll hear from Trent (we left our sat phone in Alduba…13 years of doing this and we still manage to forget things), but if I do I’ll let you know…hopefully one of the other guys has one☺️

So glad we’re all in God’s hands…

Auburn CVF visit

To help us get the summer started off right, a team of 5 vet students from Auburn University joined us at the end of May.  Anticipating a very busy season, I contemplated cancelling on the short-term team originally. In hind site, I am so glad we didn’t, for it would have been a shame to miss the blessing we received from hosting this group.


IMG_3992

The Auburn team’s visit marks a change in the way we have always done short-term missions. In the past, we’ve looked at visiting short termers as a service to those wanting to experience Africa and rural missions with a possible view toward long-term overseas ministry. Rarely have we viewed visitors as a service or ministry to us. The biggest reason is probably the language barrier. We don’t live in a world where you can just send visitors off with local support. Instead we have to be present for visitors to hear and to be understood. This places us in a kind of tour guide role. This time however, was much different.

IMG_3806

6 months ago we started designing a chicken project based on the needs of the average Alduba chicken holder. Several months and many emails later the Auburn team arrived prepared to the gills with information on just about everything including but not limited to housing, feeding, breeding, and health care.

IMG_2823

Just one day after arriving, the team was off inspecting our facilities in hopes of making recommendation on how to improve our personal flock. Also, after visiting the chickens around Alduba, they were now ready to conduct training on day 2 with local chicken owners about basic chicken care.

IMG_2870

Another significant contribution of the Auburn team was the conversion of rabbit hutches into hen housing with a capacity for more than thirty laying hens.

IMG_2969

Finally, the team had the opportunity to helicopter to the bush and conduct a 2-day mobile veterinary outreach among the Nyangatom people.

IMG_4127

The Cox family owes a great debt of gratitude for all of the hard work this team put into preparing for their trip here. We’d like to thank Leslie Starnes, Amy Smith, Vanessa Barnett, Katharine Hilburn, and Drew Lowry. We’d also like to thank Dr Amie Johnson for helping them get prepared. Great Job!

IMG_4096

Saying Goodbye

Saying goodbye is never easy, especially when it means losing something, or in this case someone, who has been a blessing in your life.  Randal and Kimberly Bost took a great step of faith nine months ago, by placing their 19 year old daughter on a plane headed for the bush of Ethiopia.  In doing so, they helped make those same months for the Cox family a joy.

100_1641

Jack and Lily have grown a year older during Kallie’s time, but they grew a lot in maturity and wisdom during the time as well.  Kallie pulled no punches as she constantly challenged and encouraged our children.  Desta also found a dependable love in Kallie.

100_1567

Tabby and I were both challenged as parents and were greatly encouraged by the level of maturity displayed by Kallie in her commitment to her task as a teacher and as a follower of Jesus Christ.

100_1559

Tabby and I would like to thank all of our supporters that gave to help make Kallie’s mission experience possible and for praying for Kallie during her time in Alduba.

IMG_4233For Kallie our prayer is that she will be received well by her family and friends as she transitions back into her home culture, that she will find friendly listeners to help her process all that she has experienced, and that she will have a clear call about her future, a future we know will be filled with light.

Thank you Kallie Bost.  Be blessed.

Trip to South Sudan

The Road to ToritBack in April, an SIM colleague, Eric Odell, and I traveled to South Sudan to visit with government official regarding our work on the Ethio-Sudan border. The trip to S. Sudan was originally planned last fall, but do to the instability within country, was delayed until this opportunity arose. Eric and I were coming off an 8 day bike ride through Northern Ethiopia, so we weren’t exactly looking forward to the trip. However, Neither one of us could have anticipated such a God ordained visit.

After our arrival in Juba, we were met at the airport by an official from the East Equatorial State Animal and Fisheries department, who delivered us to an Ethiopian owned hotel for our first evening. Patrick, our host, invited us to supper where we spent the next couple of hours becoming acquainted. After supper, we spoke at length about the reason for our visit to which our host surprisingly invited us to engage in any way that might assist the Taposa people living along the Ethiopian border with South Sudan.

The following day we headed to Torit, the capitol of the EES. Our four-hour drive down the bumpy red dirt road to our destination took us across some beautiful grasslands reminiscent of the endless savanna of southwest Ethiopia. The country was oddly devoid of people, livestock or wildlife. In the few villages that we did pass, the farmers were using hoes to till the ground instead of oxen. People were literally hacking out an existence, wrestling every hard fought inch of ground right from the grasp of the disobliging wilderness.

Finally after arriving in Torit, we were taken directly to the AIM compound, where we were received warmly by Ray and Jill Davis. After having lunch with our hospitable AIM hosts, a vehicle returned to the compound to deliver us to the offices of the minister of Animal and Fisheries, where we talked once again about the details of our work along the border. To end the meeting, the minister suggested an MOU with SIM Ethiopia which would give us permission to cross the border in the future without acquiring a visa. Wow! This was the very thing we’d hope to gain by our visit to South Sudan, and we got it without actually having to ask for it. God’s favor was definitely upon us. After the meeting with the minister we returned to the AIM compound to spend the night with the Davis’. Our time with Ray and Jill also gave us an opportunity to share about how God is planting His church in our part of the world, and to brainstorm about opportunities for reaching the 700,000 unreached Taposa people.

The next morning after thanking the Davis’, we were again picked up by a government vehicle and taken to the residence of the Governor of the East Equatorial State. Like all of our other encounters in South Sudan, the Governor too was very welcoming and quite interested to hear about the nature of our visit. After hearing about our work, the Governor also extended to us an open invitation to conduct our work among the Taposa, inviting us to even fly the helicopter as far as Torit, some 500 km with the country. Eric and I were truly blown away at his invitation which could bring us so much closer to fulfilling our vision of planting churches among the Taposa.

In the end, I am not sure where this is all going to lead, but we’ll need to eventually make our way back to S. Sudan to perform a baseline survey of Taposa country. I am hopeful that this is the hand of God encouraging us to engage the Taposa as soon as possible. We will fly to the Border on May 26-28 with a team of veterinary students from Auburn to conduct a mobile clinic in Lorimor for starters. After that, we’ll see where God leads. Please pray for more of God’s favor as we seek permission from the Ethiopian Civil Aviation authorities to fly the helicopter into S. Sudan

Blessings, Trent

The Spirit continues in Hamer

Muga and Mala, two brothers from our church partner the Kale Hiwot Church, dropped by our house the other night for a bite to eat and to give us an update of some of the happenings in Hamerland. According to a fellow believer from Demika, one of the two main towns among the Hamer, a young mother from the mountain village of Buska, brought her daughter to a clinic in Demika. The girl, probably no more than three years of age, was covered from head to toe with large weeping sores and apparently had been for some time. The mother’s history of the sickness is quite bizarre by western standards nevertheless, she testified that the family worships a certain poisonous snake that is in fact resident in their home. One day the young girl became angered with the snake and threw a stone to chase the snake away. The snake in retaliation turned and spit on the young girl. According to the Mother, the first sores began to appear soon thereafter. The clinic staff in Demika were dumfounded upon seeing the sores and consequently gave her little hope of recovery from medicine. However, Hylo, wife of Halpa, a Hamer woman who’d been conducting Gospel outreach in Buska with her husband for the last few months came upon the hapless pair. After seeing the girl and hearing their story, she and several believers joined together and prayer over the little girl and within days her skin was renewed and all the sores were gone.
But wait that’s not it…Word of the little girl’s miraculous healing quickly spread throughout the area finally making it’s way to another hopeless Mother’s ears causing this woman to stare desperately toward heaven and asked for healing for the teeth of her young child who had recently been kicked in the mouth while milking a cow. The blow had badly damaged three front teeth which the mother feared losing. The losing of these teeth would constitute a curse from the local spirits and cause the community to label the child a “mingi”. “MIngi” children are often sacrificed for the benefit of the community to prevent other misfortune from visiting the group. The mother, believing the ill will of the spirits caused the event, thought that if the God that cured the little girl of sores could heal through the prayers of these strangers, then maybe he would also listen to the prayers of others as well. Amazingly, the child’s teeth were miraculously returned to normal and the woman in turn praised the God of heaven.
Like you, we were amazed at the stories above, and we praise our grace-filled God to continue to reveal Himself to the helpless and hopeless in similar ways. But we also pray for harvesters to be sent to follow up where God is working such miraculous signs. Our prayer is that disciples will be found and that from these followers will be made.

100_1768

Recently we took a trip to Buska to confirm some of the things that we’d heard from the area and to encourage those Jesus followers living there. Above is a picture taken outside the Buska Church and gathered in front are all of the new followers, evidence of the Spirit’s work there. Many of these Bunna men and women are from the family of the head elder in the area mentioned in our last blog. Please remember evangelist Johannes (front row, last on right, red pants and blue shirt) and his family. He has recently moved to Buska from Wolaita and is still struggling to learn the language. Pray for God to use him mightily to raise up strong disciples who will also disciple their neighbors in the way.

To His Glory,
Trent