Bibles and Books for Sudan
We praise God for this opportunity to distribute 40,000 Bibles and 50,000 Story of Jesus picture books throughout this beleaguered region of the 10/40 Window. We were also able to deliver and distribute: 20,000 note books; 2,000 copies of Faith Under Fire in Sudan; 2,000 copies of Chaplains Handbook; 2,000 copies of Biblical Principles for Africa and 2,000 copies of Greatest Century of Missions books, to schools, churches and Bible colleges throughout the Nuba Mountains region of Sudan. Last year, our team had the privilege of distributing the largest shipment of Bibles (arranged by Ben) ever to be delivered in an officially Islamic country to that date. This year, we had the privilege of distributing an even larger shipment, training pastors and teachers and encouraging our brothers and sisters in Christ who have been suffering for the sake of the Gospel. God protected us over the tens of thousands of kilometres travelled by air and road to complete this mission. Thank you, this mission would not have been possible without your sacrificial giving and prayers.
On the Frontline
The Nuba Mountains region of Sudan is an island of Christianity in a sea of Islam. Black Christians in Sudan have been systematically targeted through terror bombings of churches and schools, poisoning of wells and an on-going war of over 65 years (since 1955). The Sudan People’s Liberation Army - Nuba (SPLA-N) have resiliently fought to maintain their freedom.
At the hospital we spoke to a group of SPLA soldiers who had been shot in an ambush near the Nuba Mountains’ enemy lines. Three soldiers from their group were killed. Even though the Khartoum government’s ceasefire agreement with the Nuba Mountains has thankfully continued for over two years and there have been no bombings of churches or schools, there are still many hot spots of conflict on the borders of the Nuba Mountains. On another occasion, landmines killed at least one civilian and wounded another.
Ministering to Muslims in the Marketplace
We had a long and in-depth conversation with a Muslim in the marketplace on three different occasions. John, Daniel and I all patiently explained Biblical Redemptive History and a thorough defense of the Gospel. At the end of one conversation, he said he would like to read the Bible and the Quran to compare them to see which one is true. I gave him my Bible.
Cruelty of Islam
In a different town, we ate some food at a small shop. The woman serving us grew up in a Muslim home. Her parents gave her to be married to a Muslim man when she was a child. (Parents get 5 to 8 cows for their daughter, I was told). She got pregnant when she was 13. After several more children were born, her husband abandoned her. Once again, one can see the reality of how evil Islam can be. She told me that she has since become a Christian and that she is going to church. Her dream is to one day to be able to afford to educate herself and her children. I gave her some Story of Jesus booklets for her children.
Why English Bibles?
The Christians in Sudan understandably want to resist anything associated with the Arab Khartoum government. They want their national language to rather be English and therefore are welcoming of the first book most will own – their very own Bible! What a privilege it was, to once again distribute thousands of copies of God’s Word!
How Will the Uprising in Khartoum Affect the Nuba Mountains?
We saw many Nubans glued to their phones and TVs hoping for some positive news to come from the after-math of the recent uprising that overthrew dictator Omar Al-Bashir’s rule. Many Nubans are hopeful that peace will finally come to the Nuba, even through a secular government. They hope that this will mean that they would have freedom to go out and evangelise the rest of Sudan, without fear of being killed, beaten or jailed for their Faith. In my presentation on Secular Humanism at our Pastors Conference, I reminded the pastors that a Secular Humanist government is not a long-term solution to an Islamic government because secular humanist governments also persecute Christians for preaching God’s Word! We need only to think of the hundreds of examples from Europe of Christians who have been prosecuted for preaching in the streets, or even for wearing a necklace with a Cross pendant at work. The Nubans should continue to work towards secession from Sudan and establish their government on Biblical Principles.
The Sword of the Spirit
A far greater and long-lasting solution to resisting Islam, is for the Sword of the Spirit to regenerate hearts and transform lives. A Nuban pastor mentioned to us that Imams indoctrinate their followers to defend Islam but Christians are not effectively trained to defend the Truth. In-depth teaching is needed at schools and churches for Christians to know and defend God’s Word and further to live out a Biblical Worldview. “and take the helmet of salvation and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God…” Ephesians 6:17
Bibles Delivered Bear Fruit
A highlight of this mission for me, was to hear how Bibles that we had delivered last year had led at least four high school children that we know of to profess Faith in Christ. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Romans 10:17
Our team split into four to deliver Bibles to schools in different areas of the Nuba Mountains. We particularly tried to reach schools we had not distributed Bibles at last year. I preached at 14 schools. Two of the schools I preached at were Catholic schools. It seems Catholic false doctrine is not taught in-depth in the rural areas, so most of the teachers and children are mostly Protestant in whatever basic doctrine that they are taught. They were very appreciative of the Bibles delivered. At one of these Catholic schools, I recognized the song the children were singing in English: “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.” At the all the schools, the children listened attentively, fascinated by this “kawaja” (white man), acting out the story of Abraham and Isaac, or The Fall from Genesis Chapter 3. “Abraham said, ‘God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.’” Genesis 22:8
Daniel and I had an opportunity to minister in the only hospital in the Nuba Mountains with a doctor qualified to perform surgeries. We also delivered 456 Bibles for patients and hospital staff. Dr Tom is a Catholic American. He selflessly attends to patients seven days a week and performs surgeries from dawn until dusk three days a week! Whilst we were there, a team of 5 eye surgeons from Uganda (Ben had arranged this), were spending that month performing about 400 cataract surgeries on people who had walked for several days to get there. These surgeries will cause those blinded by cataracts to see and hopefully they will now be able to read the Bible for themselves! Jesus is truly the Great Physician!
Jesus’ Power Over Sin, Sickness and Death
Daniel and I preached to and prayed with the dozens of patients either waiting to be seen by the doctors or those recovering lying under the trees outside (not as hot as inside). Daniel told the story from Mark 5 about Jesus casting out the legion of demons from a man and sending them into the pigs. I told the story of Jesus calming the storm from Mark 4. In their oral culture, stories are easily remembered and easily retold to their friends, family and neighbors. In planning this mission, Ben had asked us to prepare to preach from these stories. These lessons convey Jesus’ power over sin, sickness and death. The story of the exorcism of the man possessed by a legion of demons shows how Jesus can save even those most adversely affected by sin and satan. The patients kept asking us: “Please tell us another story!” and were very appreciative of prayer.
We also conducted a three-day pastors conference for 120 pastors and chaplains. I gave presentations on “The Heart of the Problem is the Problem of the Heart” and “Secular Humanism”. I took a person from the crowd and pretended that he had stolen something. I asked, what would civil governments with either a Muslim, Christian or Humanist worldview do to the thief? A Muslim government would say, “we will cut off his hand.” A Christian would normally erroneously say: “We must just forgive him,” (I did then help them to understand that the thief should make restitution to the victim). A Humanist government would say: “He is a victim of his circumstances, and that we must just try and correct his behaviour through therapy.” I helped them to understand that Humanism denies the depravity of man and that this leads to most of the liberalism that we see in the West today.
It was encouraging to see these pastors’ spiritual hunger. I also led two Discovery Bible Studies in which they asked many probing questions, especially about the legion of demons cast out into the herd of pigs! RC Sproul explained the key message of this passage best: “From the start, the evil spirits wanted to bring death and destruction and they finally got their chance. It seems Jesus allowed the demons to destroy the pigs so that the people could see just what demons are up to when they assault people. They are out to steal, kill, and destroy, so we dare not give satan a foothold in our lives through sin.” Through the Cross, Jesus defeated satan. Once in Christ, a believer can overcome sin because Jesus has won the victory! It was wonderful to study the truths of Scripture and encourage these pastors to faithfully preach from the Bible.
What Muslims Meant for Evil, God Used for Good
A pastor shared his testimony with us. He grew up in a Muslim home. There were Christians at school he attended and whenever Muslim teachers would come to teach on Islam, he was terrified. “Unless we crammed the Quran into our heads, they would beat us,” he recounted to us. “I can remember one teacher beating a girl until she bled. I remember looking at the Christians. They were always kind to one another. After seeing that girl being beaten, that was when I came home and told my father that I wanted to be a Christian and not a Muslim. He obviously said no.” Due to the war, he moved to Kenya. It was during his schooling there that the Gospel was clearly explained to him and he trusted in Christ. He realized that his motivations earlier in wanting Christianity instead of Islam, were far more due to fear of getting a beating than an understanding of the Gospel. “Now I see that I need Christ in my life and the work of His Holy Spirit in order to do the work that he has for me here (in the Nuba),” he told us. “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…” Genesis 50:20
We held a three-day teachers’ training conference for 88 teachers to teach them how to use some of the leadership resources that were designated for them from this year’s shipment. There were even 7 Muslim teachers at the Conference that were very open to Christian teaching. The teachers appreciated the books immensely. Most teachers in the Nuba Mountains are volunteers – they are not paid by the government or by parents!
History Books for Sudan
We donated copies of Faith Under Fire in Sudan to the teachers. They appreciated this book the most because it tells their story. Faith Under Fire in Sudan describes the longest war of the 20th Century in the largest country (up to 2011) in Africa. It describes the suffering of these black Christians and shares testimonies of their triumphs. It also explains the origins of ancient Christianity in Sudan and how General Charles Gordon helped to eradicate the Islamic slave trade in Sudan the latter half of the 19th Century. We praise God that we can donate Christian History textbooks before the UN or the Muslims distribute their own twisted version to brainwash children. We reminded them that if we know our History, we can more effectively stand for the truth.
Exposing the Islamic Slave Trade
They especially appreciated the chapter on David Livingstone in Greatest Century of Missions book because he exposed the Islamic Slave Trade and sometimes even fought the Muslim slave traders to set slaves free! The Islamic Slave Trade is something these Nubans have seen first-hand. The teachers even did a David Livingstone skit to re-cap what they had learnt from our presentation on this Best Friend of Africa.
Victory in Christ
We also challenged the teachers to act out the story of the Gerasene demoniac in Mark 5. As no-one wanted to play the role of Jesus (a tough role for sure!), I was volunteered and Daniel played the demonized man (a role that he took to very well!). We recruited 12 “disciples” from amongst the teachers. Everyone was in fits of hysterics as the story was played out before them. They will not easily forget this lesson and will hopefully therefore teach it to their students more effectively.
Pray for Sudan
Please pray that the teachers would study the leadership resources given to them, but most importantly would use the Greatest Textbook, the Bible to effectively educate their students. Pray for the Sword of the Spirit to convict hearts and transform lives. Pray for more missionaries to teach the pastors to preach expositionaly from God’s Word. Pray that the Christian Nubans will have a vision to reach the rest of Sudan for Christ, even if persecution continues. Pray for lasting peace, with justice. On this mission, we were able to film some of our experiences and interviews with soldiers, pastors, chaplains and teachers. We hope to release some of this video footage onto Frontline Fellowship’s Facebook page soon. Please also listen to my interview on Frontline Fellowship’s From the Frontline Podcast for further testimonies and prayer requests.“Sing to the Lord all the earth, proclaim the Good News of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.” 1 Chronicles 16:23
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Abrie and Taryn have been married since 16 December 2015.