Missionaries Andrawes and Lily became a source of danger to the very children they had devoted their lives to protect
Andrawes* and Lily *were called to be missionaries in South Sudan as young adults. They began serving with Streams of Living Water’s House of Hope in 2013. Read the first installment of their story here.
After they had served the turbulent nation of South Sudan for more than three years, Andrawes and Lily’s situation became precarious.
“At night, [a gang] attacked the [House of Hope] and the girls were starting to shout, asking for our help,” Lily recalls. Andrawes, Lily and their three children were locked in the dorm room where they lived, the House of Hope girls each locked in their own rooms in the same hall. For two hours, they listened to the gang outside their doors. Then, finding the spare keys, one by one, gang members tried the keys in each lock. Not a single key turned. Not a single door opened. By God's miraculous hand, the House of Hope was kept safe.
Inside their room, Andrawes and Lily prayed. “To be honest,” Lily says, “We had already felt the Lord telling us to go back to Egypt. But we thought, ‘We cannot leave the girls and South Sudan.’ It became our home. But when this happened, we prayed to God that night, ‘If you want us to leave, please let the local staff tell us that we have to leave.’”
They waited until the first sign of sunrise before opening the door to their room, wondering what lay beyond. “The first thing [the local staff] said to us was ‘Please leave. You have become a source of danger to us.’”
After a civil war in 2013 following South Sudan’s secession from Sudan, another war was brewing. An added economic crisis heightened security issues. Realizing that they were endangering the very children they had devoted their lives to protect, Andrawes and Lily brought their family back to Egypt.
“We felt like we lost part of our identity as missionaries,” Lily recalls. “But God said to us, ‘You are my servants and children. Not missionaries to a specific country. This is your identity.’”
For the next four years, they would work with a children’s ministry in Egypt that developed educational materials for vulnerable children in churches all over the country. They found themselves with the immense responsibility of leading a team of 30 ministry workers who equipped and supported 250 teachers and facilitators. They designed curriculum and programs for around 3,500 children, a commitment beyond anything they had undertaken before.
“We were just serving the children by our passion and the little experience that we had, but we didn't have any formal training regarding children,” Andrawes says.
In their new roles, they practiced and studied education continually, despite their lack of training. Andrawes was responsible for the children’s ministry, and Lily worked as a curriculum developer. Lily also coordinated trainings for the team, which meant that she attended each course herself.
Those four years of practical education have an impact on their ministry to this day.
“In March 2020, we started to feel, individually, that the Lord was calling us back to Juba to the House of Hope,” Andrawes recalls.
In the next part of the story, read about how God opened the door to South Sudan again, answering prayers for safety, education and provision. Read part three: "Two brothers and 49 sisters."
*Name changed for security