Dear friends and family
How are you? By God’s grace, the three of us are well. Thank you for praying for us, especially for Frontline Fellowship’s recent mission to the Nuba mountains of Sudan. The team was able to distribute over 32 000 Bibles - the largest shipment of Bibles ever smuggled into an officially Islamic country. Thank you especially to those who made this mission financially possible. We are excited to report back on many answers to prayer and family news.
Emma will turn 6 months old on 7 July. The developmental differences between 4 and 6 months are incredible. She is now very alert and aware of her surroundings. She especially loves playtime with Papa (Abrie) and occasionally giggles at us. She can now roll onto her tummy by herself and can almost sit up unsupported. She is ready to try solid food! We gave her a bit of gem squash the other day, but she spat it out. She does like to suck on a piece of apple though. It’s going to be fun introducing her to different tastes and textures!
Back in the office – with a few “minor” adjustments
I started working again on 2 May. Earlier this year, the Africa Christian Action office here at Livingstone House was totally revamped and has now been turned into the Field Office. I now work from our flat on the property, with baby Emma “helping” me. Abrie has taken over my old desk. I somehow manage to get work done whilst Emma is sleeping, playing on the activity mat, or even sitting on my lap. A wireless keyboard and mouse makes this a little bit easier!
I helped to arrange meetings for Dr Peter Hammond and a team of interns for their recent round-the-country mission. I am also busy preparing for our Women’s Day outreaches in malls (9 August).
Emma enjoyed her first outreach outside a Marie Stopes abortuary. She was an excellent pro-life witness!
Mission to the Nuba Mountains
By God’s grace and in answer to prayer, Ben was able to negotiate incredible logistical challenges and have the container of 40 000 Bibles and 50 000 Story of Jesus Christ story booklets successfully delivered to the Nuba Mountains. The purpose of our mission was to carefully distribute the Bibles to pastors, teachers, military personnel and school children. The team from Frontline included Ben (from America), John, Hunter and myself. We were able to distribute 32 000 of these Bibles and 43 000 of the booklets throughout the Nuba mountains of Sudan. We praise God for His protection over the many thousands of kilometres of flying and driving in dangerous areas. Thank you to all who made it financially possible and for praying for us.
We split into three teams so that we could reach more schools. In total, on this mission, we reached over 130 schools. At every school where we distributed the Bibles, we also preached the Gospel to the whole school gathered outside the classrooms. The teachers, students and pastors who received Bibles were all very appreciative.
School children in the Nuba mountains very rarely have their own textbooks, workbooks or even stationary. We therefore believe that these Bibles and booklets will be treasured by the children.
Even at schools where the teachers and students were Muslim, they did not seem to mind us preaching the Gospel and they were grateful for the Bibles! I often used the story of Abraham to springboard into the Gospel, as many Muslims and Christians are familiar with the story. At many schools, the children made a funny sound with their mouths at the end of my sermon – this apparently signifies that they understood and agree with the message preached.
We also had many opportunities to preach the Gospel in marketplaces, on the back of trucks whilst being transported to our various destinations and to military personnel. I also preached one Sunday sermon and gave one devotions message at a Bible School.
Whilst the Nuba mountains have more Christians than other parts of Sudan, there are still many Muslims, although most of the inhabitants are ethnically black Africans. The Muslim government of Khartoum has been bombing churches and schools and poisoning wells in the Nuba mountains for the last 60 years. This war is both religious and racial. Thankfully there has been a ceasefire for the last year, but in every village we saw the remains of destroyed school and church buildings. It was heart-breaking to see the reality of war in the minds of the children. The only drawings we saw on the walls of classrooms were of Antonov aircraft dropping bombs, or of soldiers on the back of trucks with their machine guns. After Muslims have forcibly Islamised an area, they bulldoze all the houses of those who refused to submit to Islam.
What the Government of Sudan Spends on Persecuting Christians!
The government of Sudan spends over 70% of its tax revenue received on its military. Much of this is used for Antonov aircraft and bombs dropped on churches and schools in the Nuba mountains. 4082 bombs were dropped on civilian targets since April 2012 (www.nubareports.org)!
The Textbook of Textbooks
Understandably, the Nubans hate the Arab government, and therefore want to reject Arabic as their national language. They want English to be the language taught in their schools. In twenty years’ time, the Nubans want English to be the official language of their country. The schools were very welcoming of the English Bibles so that they could use them as a textbook. Some of the schools are already using English Christian textbooks that have been donated to them. We gave some guidelines to the teachers of how they could teach from the Bible and how the students can study them. What a privilege it was to distribute tens of thousands of copies of the Greatest Book in the world, the Textbook of textbooks! Please pray that many students would be saved as they read and study the Scriptures.
I shared the Gospel with some people who believe that Jesus died and rose again, and that He is God, and yet they are still Muslim! A belief that is quite common among Muslims in the Nuba mountains, is that if you convert to Christianity, you will be poor for the rest of your life. This compounds their reluctance to convert (from a human perspective), yet if they do convert, at least one will know they are serious!
Ready to Die
I have never met Christians who are as excited about going to meet the Lord in Heaven as many of the dedicated Christians in the Nuba mountains are. When one faces the reality of death on a daily basis as these persecuted Christians do, then it is no wonder that they want to be in Heaven where there will be no more suffering.
Unreached People Groups in the Nuba Mountains
There are many tribes in the Nuba mountains that have not yet been engaged with the Gospel. Meaning, no mission agencies or churches are specifically attempting to reach them with the Gospel. Together with local churches and other missions working in Nuba, we pray that this sowing of the Word of God will lead to future generations reaching these groups.
“So shall My Word be that goes out from My Mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11
Pray for Secession
Just as South Sudan gained its independence from Khartoum in 2011, in answer to much prayer and pressure, please continue to pray that the Nuba Mountains could secede from Sudan, but more importantly that it would become a country founded on Biblical Principles.
“Cush will submit herself to God.” Psalm 68:31
Please also pray: That Omar Al-Bashir, the Dictator of Sudan would come to repentance or that God would remove him.
For future shipments of Bibles and Christian textbooks and possible future teachers conferences and ministry in Sudan.
Educate others about the persecution of Christians in the Nuba Mountains by sharing our reports and photos or by screening the Sudan – the Hidden Holocaust DVD to your congregation.
Upcoming Africa Overland Mission
Our American friend, Daniel, who completed Frontline’s Missionary Apprentice Programme in 2012, plans to join Abrie for an Overland Mission in August and September. They plan to minister throughout Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Please pray for the upcoming leadership training seminars and conferences being planned in these countries.
We praise God that since we wrote to you in April, in answer to prayer, our missionaries and interns have been able to start a Bible Study for new believers at UCT. So far they have 3 regular participants.
Abrie has been ministering at the Ark Drug Rehab every Friday night. He uses the Discovery Bible Study method where he asks the men gathered questions about the passage he just read. He has found this to be very helpful in helping the men to engage with the text and therefore to remember more of what he is teaching them.
Abrie, John, Hunter, Kyle and Alpha were able to help lead and teach at a week-long Children’s Holiday Club organised by our church, Goodwood Baptist. Many unchurched children were able to hear the Gospel at this outreach.
Other Prayer Requests:
We are trusting God to buy a good quality second hand car to replace our aging Citi golf.
Please pray that Abrie’s employer will be gracious to him so that he will be able to continue with his security “tent-making” work after his six-week Overland Mission.
We thank each one of you for your love, support and prayers.
Yours for Christ’s glory,
Abrie and Taryn Lourens
Africa Christian Action & Frontline Fellowship
PO Box 74
Tel: 021-689 4481
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Abrie and Taryn have been married since 16 December 2015.