Last night, 28 May 2020, I learned that one of my most trusted friends and co-workers in Sudan passed away after a short illness. Jeffreys Kayanga and I walked many hundreds of kilometres together in the war zones of Sudan. Together, Jefferys and I conducted hundreds of services, outreaches and lectures in remote villages and towns throughout Western Equatoria, amongst the Moru, Zande, Bari, Dinka and Nuer people. We conducted leadership training programs for pastors, chaplains, teachers, evangelists, youth workers and medics. He was my translator on many hundreds of occasions. Jefferys was a capable organiser and gifted negotiator resolving many complications and avoiding conflicts amongst different tribes and officials. When we brought Samaritan's Purse in to renovate the hospital in Lui, he became the coordinator between SP, the local church and government officials.
“I will build My Church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower It” Matthew 16:18
Do a google search on Sudan. It is unlikely that you will find anything positive. You will mostly learn about war, riots, civil unrest, humanitarian crises, poverty, persecution, etc. Of course, Sudan’s situation is desperate, But secular news agencies are not reporting on the rapid growth of God’s Kingdom in spite of devastation and disaster throughout the country. Thankfully, we were able to experience, first hand, the powerful advance of Christ’s Church in the Nuba Mountains.
“A Father to the fatherless, a defender of the widows, is God in His holy habitation” Psalm 68:5-6
Into the War Zone
Antonov Bomber planes, MIG aircrafts, tanks, scorched earth campaigns from the Islamic Arab north and crippling poverty all describe the dire situation of Southern Kordofan of Sudan. Despite the aggressive adversity the people of Sudan are facing, there is hope as people are turning to God. His Word is rapidly spreading and the Gospel is taking root in the hearts of thousands of people. In our most recent mission, our team had the privilege of being a part of expanding the Kingdom of God in Sudan.
Bibles and Books for Sudan
Last year we distributed 40,000 Bibles in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan! These resources went to churches, county offices, military units and schools in a war zone of Sudan. These are some of the most hotly persecuted peoples in the world. By God’s grace, this year, we were able to obtain and begin distributing another 40,000 Bibles and 50,000 Story of Jesus picture books. In addition, we distributed: 20,000 notebooks, 2,000 copies each of Faith Under Fire in Sudan, Chaplains Handbook, Biblical Principles for Africa and the Greatest Century of Missions.
“For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in Him but also suffer for His sake” Philippians 1:29
The Church of Christ is expanding in Sudan. Leaders are coming to salvation and developing a Biblical worldview. Apart from distributing another 40,000 Bibles to schools, churches and chaplains, we held conferences for training pastors, chaplains and teachers who are facing persecution and suffering in the Nuba Mountains.
We conducted a leadership seminar for 100 pastors and chaplains which ran for three days. On the first day, we targeted the heart, emphasizing the need for personal repentance, holiness and Gospel-centeredness. The second day, we dealt with more practical issues like preaching, church-planting, goal setting and strategizing, God and government and humanism. The final day we helped them cast vision for the future and presented them with Bibles and books to help further their efforts in God’s Kingdom.
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Power Sharing Agreement Signed by Military Council and Civilian Opposition Alliance
On 17 August, it was reported that General Mohamed Hamdan “Hemeti” Dagolo and Lt. General Abdal Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan for the Military Council and Ahmed Al-Rabie for the Alliance for Freedom and Change signed an agreement to usher in a new governing council to include both civilians and military generals to pave the way towards elections and civilian rule within 3 years.
War Criminal Pledges to Honour Agreement
General Hemeti Dagolo, considered the dominant figure in the Military Council, pledged in an interview to the BBC: “We will stick to every single letter we have agreed on. Even without the agreement, we have to work in this direction because it is in the country’s interest. Therefore we have to carry out the agreement, stick to it and support it.” Hemeti is the Commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) which grew out of the notorious Janjaweed militia, which was accused of carrying out genocide in the Darfur region of Western Sudan.
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.
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. 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.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8
Suffering, Sacrifice and Sanctions
It was surreal walking in places littered with fox holes and bomb shelters, knowing that a little over a year ago, bombs were being dropped on the very places I was travelling through. The thousands of children we shared the Gospel with in schools had endured aerial bombardments by the Sudanese government time and time again. Although horrific, it is commonplace for the Nuban people to have seen friends and family die in bombings and military attacks. By God’s grace and pressure from the US with a promise of sanctions being lifted, a ceasefire has been implemented in Darfur, Nuba and the Blue Nile. President Al-Bashir was not driven by compassion on the people he was killing, but by a financial raise in the country’s economy. This time of peace made our task of distributing Bibles to the Nuban schools possible.
President Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington DC 20500
Dear President Donald Trump
Greetings in the precious Name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
The people who we serve in Sudan want us to communicate to you their deep gratitude and appreciation for your endeavours which are giving hope to long-suffering persecuted Christians in North Africa. Thank you for taking a stand for Christianity and for speaking up for those who have long-suffered oppression and persecution for their Faith.
Open Doors from God
Before our ministry in the Nuba Mountains began, we had opportunities to witness to people from different countries. In the airport in South Africa, we witnessed to an Ethiopian family whose little girl had some questions about God. We shared the way of Salvation with her and she said that she wanted to pray to God to change her heart. We prayed together with her in the airport.
While visiting a small market place in Juba, South Sudan, we met with some Muslims from Somalia. One of them told us that he used to live in South Africa, but he moved to South Sudan because it was safer than South Africa! We also shared the way of Salvation with him.