At the time of independence we had an English bishop visit Juba. We had so many visitors then, it was a bit crazy. I felt like I spent half the week at the airport. But when I met this bishop, whom I not only had never met before but, honestly, had never even heard of before, the bishop amazed me by saying how glad he was to meet me and how he had been praying for me by name for some time. The bishop had heard of me in England via the community of people with an interest in Sudan.
I remember being floored by the fact that someone who had never met me before, who knew me only as a name and by reputation (always questionable in my case) had been praying for my welfare and for my work. Since becoming a missionary I have become aware of this incredible body of people around the world, the amazing community of loving, caring people who are living their faith by working in places and in ways which are a living testimony of the power of faith. It probably sounds ridiculous, but in my previous life where I was so focused upon myself and my own work I was grossly ignorant of this worlwide community, ignorant of this incredible body of people. How could this be so? I suppose because I chose to focus upon myself and chose not to interact with others.
Anyway, I was talking with my friend Jesse, an American divinity school student who was also visiting Juba at the time, about my emerging awareness of this great worldwide loving community of faith and how incredibly grateful I have been to become a part of it. It is so exciting to have made friends with people from at least four continents with whom I can share my faith and my passion for helping others. Jesse smiled and said, "I think there's a name for the community, it's called 'The Body of Christ." I realized at that moment the depths of my ignorance in not being aware of this body, as well as my gratitude that I had finally become a part of the Body and the joy it has given me to be a part of it.