“Yesu e’bu’ ‘ba woku!”
(Jesus doeth all things well!)
In February, 2012 the Rev. Nikolao Vuni, William Levi’s uncle, summoned him from the Operation Nehemiah compound in Borongole to his home in Juba. Upon a warm greeting Uncle Nikolao got up and went to his wooden bed and withdrew a package, wrapped in old burlap and string, and presented it to William, saying, “This is entrusted to you. You will know what to do with it.”
In 1963, William’s grandfather, Andrea Vuni, and an American missionary, Don Franseca, tranlated 46 hymns into the Madi language. They also translated the Gospel of John from English to Madi. In 1964 the Islamic persecution forced all western missionaries out of South Sudan.
Don and his wife Ruth left the country and never returned. Rev. Vuni died in 1990. Just before his death, he entrusted the hymns and the book of John to Nikolao for safekeeping, as the war was still raging.
Upon returning to the states in March, 2012, William located Don and Ruth Franseca, now in their 80’s, and visited them in their missionary retirement home in Franklyn, TN. They wept as he presented them with the burlap package containing the hymns and the book of John that Don had translated 50 years ago.
Copies of The Madi Hymnals are now in the pews of the Beth Israel Congregation and copies of the Madi translation of the Book of John have been distributed throughout Eastern Equatoria. The legacy of the work of Rev. Vuni and Don Franseca has been preserved, and their dedication to the Great Commission during the time of persecution bears fruit for subsequent generations.
What a joy it was to return to Borongole in the fall of 2013 and hear the people enthusiastically singing “All the Way” upon our arrival!
God is indeed providential. Jesus truly doeth all things well.
by Bob Kirkman