The Rev. Buford "Boo" Hankins and the Rev. Phyllis Hankins departed June 22 for a two-year assignment in Yei, Sudan. They arrived safely and sent this e-mail message on June 24:
“Dear family and friends, Everything went so smoothly. We're sure that it was because of all the prayers. No delays..."
Holston members are invited to participate in a 40-day prayer journey that began on June 14, the first day of Annual Conference. The complete guide is provided below by the Sudan Action Team, but you may also click on the "Pray Now" link in The Call 2 weekly e-news for the next week of prayers. Also watch for blog reports from Boo and Phyllis, beginning soon and available at holston.org or through The Call 2.
June 14: As we gather for another session of Annual Conference for worship, holy conferencing and to share in friendship and fellowship, let us rejoice as a people called United Methodist.
June 15: As we rise to claim the new day God has given us, pray that we remember the needs of the mothers in the village of Yei and the work they have each day in caring for their families. Remember also the many mothers who have lost both husbands & children to the war and to diseases.
June 16: Pray that the Annual Conference offering for our work in Sudan exceeds the conference goal. Let us be bold and pray that God doubles that offering!
June 17: This is the day that Boo and Phyllis have been anticipating for almost a year and a half. Let’s give them a send-off that will give them a memory of incredible love and support as they are sent forth to serve in Sudan.
June 18: These last few days in Greeneville will be hectic as Boo & Phyllis prepare to leave. Pray for the folks of Trinity UMC and for The Hankins as they prepare for Sunday’s day of worship & celebration and a day to say “good bye” to a congregation they have served & loved.
June 19: Pray that Boo & Phyllis will enjoy the day- free of worry from what will be left behind and for what lies ahead as they finalize plans to leave.
June 20: As Boo prepares for worship tomorrow; give him a message of hope and assurance for those who will worship at Trinity.
June 21: Pray that God will place a call on the lives of folks to “take up the mantel” of service for the many ministries that Boo & Phyllis have given leadership to in the Trinity community of faith.
June 22: Today Boo & Phyllis will leave their home in Greeneville and depart (11:18 am) from Knoxville for their two-year service in Sudan. Pray for their safety as they travel. This is a long flight. Pray that they get some rest; to have good connections and smooth passage through customs and immigration.
June 23: Boo & Phyllis will go through several time zones today. As they land in Entebbe, Uganda late today, pray that their African hosts and colleagues are there to greet them. Pray for a good night’s rest in Uganda. (They are now 8 hours ahead of our time.)
June 24: Today in Uganda, Boo & Phyllis will meet with Bishop Daniel Wandabula to begin the relationship of District Superintendent for the churches in Yei, Sudan. Pray that all goes well.
June 25: Pray that the vehicle purchased for The Hankins is ready to be picked up and that all is well for the trip to Sudan.
June 26: As Boo & Phyllis prepare to leave by Toyota Land Cruiser for Yei, pray for a driver and smooth travel.
June 27: Pray that God’s Spirit will pour down his blessings on the work of Boo and Phyllis.
June 28: Pray that God will bless the new relationship of Boo & Phyllis and East Africa Annual Conference personnel.
June 29: Pray for the partnership and friendship of Boo & Phyllis with the workers of Samaritan’s Purse in Yei.
June 30: Pray for faith and assurance that God is in control and will provide every need for Boo and Phyllis as they arrive in Yei.
July 1: Pray that the work with village pastors will be harmonious.
July 2: Pray that the work with villagers in regard to water purification will be eagerly received.
July 3: Today whatever joys are expressed in Yei, may they grow and grow.
July 4: As we celebrate the freedoms of our own country, let us pray that the peace agreement holds for the people of southern Sudan.
July 5: Pray that Holston’s work will demonstrate the compassion of Christ to everyone with whom our love and witness is shared.
July 6: Pray that the churches of Yei will continue to grow in their faith and play a leading role in leading their neighbors to faith in Jesus.
July 7: Thank God for the water that now flows in the Yei communities.
July 8: Thank God for the living water that we offer in the name of Jesus Christ to the people of Yei, Sudan.
July 9: Pray that Boo & Phyllis will adjust well to new food.
July 10: Pray for a congenial and harmonious working relationship between Holston & East Africa Annual Conferences.
July 11: Pray that God will provide generously for the financial needs of Boo & Phyllis.
July 12: Pray that travel around Yei is trouble free.
July 13: Thank God even now for the teams that will come soon to be in mission and ministry.
July 14 : Pray that God’s love is made real in the lives of Boo & Phyllis and all persons that they encounter today.
July 15: Thank God for the provisions that have come for the work and ministries of Boo & Phyllis.
July 16: In the days and months ahead let us praise God for His goodness and the privilege to work with Him where He is already at work.
July 17: Praise God for the work He is already doing in working out the plans for the new home for Phyllis & Boo.
July 18: Praise God that He is already at work in Yei and is providing a place for Boo and Phyllis to live.
July 19: Praise God for the privilege to love and serve our brothers and sisters in East Africa Conference.
July 20: Pour your power and spirit upon Boo & Phyllis as they worship with the people of Yei.
July 21: Wisdom and discernment as to how best to meet the immediate demands of the people of Yei.
July 22: Pray for the pastors of the Yei churches and the new relationship to be formed with Boo & Phyllis.
July 23: Thank God for His goodness as He is already at work on issues about which Boo & Phyllis might have anxieties and concerns both here and in Africa.
July 24: Pray for energy for the tasks ahead today for Boo & Phyllis.
July 25: Thank God for His wisdom and timing and the stirring of His Spirit in our lives.
July 26: Thank God for new friends who will volunteer to meet the hectic demands of Boo and Phyllis.
July 27: Pray that even now, God is working in the hearts and lives of those whom He would use as short-term or long-term missionaries in Yei.
July 28: Prayer for patience and focus in Boo and Phyllis’ lives.
July 29: Pray for Sebit (Pastor of the UMC on the compound in Yei), for his leadership skills and for the relationship he will form with Boo & Phyllis.
July 30: Thank God for Edina at the UMC compound and the work she does to glorify God. Pray for the partnership she will bring to Boo & Phyllis’ work in Yei.
July 31: Pray that the transition of pastors at Trinity will go smoothly and that God will continue to bless Trinity and its servants for their sacrifices and missioners from those who hear and celebrate God’s work there!
August 1: Praise God!
August 2: Pray that the things that confuse & divide in different cultures will disappear as Boo & Phyllis face many new experiences in the African culture.
August 3: Pray that God even now is working to provide friends & colleagues in Africa who will help Boo and Phyllis to adapt to the African culture.
August 4: Pray that Boo & Phyllis will be able to acclimate to the weather in their new home in Yei.
August 5: Pray that God will be glorified in all that we do and say as we celebrate His work in Yei, Sudan.
August 6: Pray for confidence & hope to manifest itself in Boo & Phyllis.
August 7: Pray for a harmonious relationship between Boo and Bishop Wandabula.
August 8: Praise God! “Religion that god our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: To look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27
August 9: Pray that God will bless the work of Holston Annual Conference and raise up new leaders.
August 10: The ability to stay focused, to listen to the needs of the villagers & plan for ways to help to meet these needs.
August 11: Praise God for the people who work on behalf of UMCOR and who provide a wonderful partnership and friendship with Holston’s representatives.
August 12: Thank God for the call he has already given to Holston Home staff to provide their expertise in helping Yei to provide a place for children and youth there who are homeless.
August 13: Pray for the VIM intern team that will be going to Yei in November.
August 14: Pray for Boo & Phyllis’ family in the US.
May your prayers continue for the people of Africa and in all areas of leadership in Africa!
“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. “ James 5:16