Letter from Judith
Written by: The Bridge on Thursday, July 27th, 2006
Hello everyone! I type all of my mom’s letters for her and thought this one would be an interesting one to post. : ) I’d also like to add that even though this disturbance is so close at hand we are blessedly free of fear. You’re prayers however, are as you can see, always necessary. Thank you. Talitha
July 10, 2006
Hello Mary, Jared and all the family.
We greet all of you dear ones with thoughts of seeing you soon. Two more Sundays here, then we can pack and go home. Home to our peaceful quiet reverent church atmosphere. I miss that very much. Home to all of you as well. It’s Monday today and I still don’t have the email from you Mary. Inno is home and the brothers have been meeting all morning. Hopefully a trip to Aback will work out for us today. As we have only one jeep and one small pickup, it’s often difficult to get away. Talitha and I have been painting one small room behind Glory and the Brown’s house. It’s been fixed up since we got here and needed only paint and window screens. We try to keep busy whenever we can. Our material is very limited so sometimes even when we have Nepa there is nothing to sew. Mostly we patch and repair. On Saturday, Paul Vetter went to Uyo and came home with six foam Mattresses. People have been sleeping on the floor. Now we’re scrambling to find sheets and mattress covers and we have literally nothing. Some will just have to wait for the container. Oh! Mary, I’ll write you another little story about happenings here in the area.
Ten miles north of Palmgrove, two villages are fighting. A group of young people from one village left their people and joined up with a band of robbers in the neighboring village. The chief from the first village reported that to the police. When two young men came to their home village to collect some money they were arrested by the police. The rest of the band retaliated. They got into the chief’s compound, plundered and attacked the village head and almost chopped his arm off. He nearly bled to death. His people declared war for attacking their chief and for the unending unrest and fear that these people have created. They vowed to wipe them out. They burned seventeen houses which they knew to be robber’s homes. Even killing women and children. They caught one young man whom they knew to be bad and took him to his father and said, Here is your son, we will kill him.” The father answered, “He is my son. I have often warned him to change his ways. As he did not listen you can kill him.” He was shot on the spot. His head was cut off and hung on a tree. They took his body to the junction and stood it up with firewood and burned him as a warning to the rest of them. When that was all over, they went to the father and demanded pay for burying his son. The father gave them a cow to eat that night as pay. They also told the Father that the only reason they are sparing him and his family is because many can witness to how hard he tried many times to correct his son. Some of the causalities are being brought to the small clinic a quarter mile from Palmgrove. Talitha and I walked out to see the doctor. He was busy all morning helping one with head wounds. The second one was dead on arrival. Not all clinics take them in, as they are afraid of being visited by the opposition. Talitha and Glory saw a bloated body by the wayside. We try not to travel in that direction, as there are many men on the road demanding money before they let you through. The army and the police both went there but the village people will not let them interfere. The Police here in Abak have been no help to anybody so why would they want them now. The village men say that even if the robbers run away and come back, after five years we will know them and we will kill them. We here in Palmgrove, are the only Missionaries left in the area. There is so much robbing and disturbance going on that everyone else has packed up and gone home. Some nights we hear gunshots and if it’s close by, nobody sleeps. Everybody is outside, walking, visiting and worrying, ready to flee to the jungle. Time told us that the people from America who support the church of Jesus Christ came recently and stayed just one day and one night because they were so frightened by the shooting at night. They left the day after they came. Time is still good a friend as ever. He has invited us out to supper twice already. Once for chicken pepper soup and once for fried fish and fresh fish pepper soup. There were even tomatoes and cucumbers for a vegetables. Edward and Paul have been keeping Time quite busy repairing things here in Palmgrove. He’s here at least every other day and it’s always nice to see him. Yesterday we had supper with Cecelia. Edward is seriously encouraging her to come back to Palmgrove where she belongs. She says, “I would like to come but not everybody wants me and there is no house to live!” The people here are really terribly crowded. Just two rooms for a family of seven or eight.
Goodbye all of you and see you soon.