Women sharing together at a conference in Juba, South Sudan in February this year. The conference focused on peace and reconciliation, and trauma counselling. Photo by Koraba Sylvester.

A 15-day walk for discipleship

South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, has great poverty, civil unrest and a rapidly growing Church.

The Amurli tribe of Pibor District, in Jonglei State of South Sudan, had not heard the gospel until 2021, when a believer named Tony Henry went to the area for three months and planted a house church.

The fellowship began with nine people and later grew to 39. Unfortunately, the house the church met in was destroyed during tribal conflict, and the group dispersed.

Tony Henry returned to his home in the capital city of Juba, but that was not the end.

Not long after he left, a believer from the house church, Peter, made the 15-day walk to Juba — specifically to find Tony Henry and be discipled by him. Peter stayed with Tony Henry for three months, and together they studied church planting with believers from Sudan as well. At the end of the training, Peter returned to Pibor, determined to plant home churches both in his area and neighbouring regions. By the beginning of 2023, eight home churches have been started.

Peter’s village is so remote that it can only be reached by plane or foot. His two-week journey to the capital was extremely dangerous, as predators like lions hunt along the way. As for the church plants, they are far from his village –– sometimes a week's travel away. There is no public transportation in remote areas, nor do many people have phones to keep in contact. So when the village church dispersed, Peter risked his life to receive training for planting churches in his district.

OM in South Sudan

Located in Juba, OM in South Sudan has four primary ministries: a book ministry that goes to revival meetings, churches, exhibitions and book fairs, a women’s ministry for widows and women in prison, TeenStreet and relief work. On every outreach, they take Christian literature to distribute to anyone interested. Seven families and more than thirty volunteers work together to share God’s love with all willing to hear it.

Most of the team’s relief work takes place outside the city, among internally displaced people fleeing from tribal violence. People living in these villages are often unable to afford food or clothing; travelling to the capital city is out of the question. So, OM in South Sudan goes to them. Visiting each village for three days, the team focuses on the spiritual, social, mental and physical needs of each person they meet. There is a day dedicated to a comprehensive Bible study on the entire Bible, a day for an in-depth Discovery Bible Study that encourages and disciples believers as well as equips them for facilitating these studies in their communities and a day for medical care and counselling. The vision of the team is to see vibrant communities of Jesus followers started in this area.

“Unfortunately,” said Tony Henry, “The ministry is not continuous because sometimes we have a lack of funds. We stop for a while until we have enough support to go to another area. Sometimes we wait for a couple of months to receive relief funds to continue the work.

“A year ago, we didn’t have any funds for relief work, the situation of the country was difficult, and the people were suffering,” continued Tony Henry. “We, as a team, prayed and asked God. Within a few days, we received a phone call from a brother. He said: ‘We have some funds to send for relief work.’” The money had not arrived yet, but they left for the village in faith that it would come in time.

When they arrived at the intended village, the funds had not. The team began the Bible study anyway, and people started cheering when they heard God’s Word!

“They told us how difficult it was for them,” Tony Henry remembered. “We prayed for them and told them that God is faithful, He loved them and He would provide for them.”

The group continued to pray for provision on the second day, as the funds for the medical and relief work for the next day still hadn’t arrived. That evening though, the funds arrived, and on the third day, the team bought all the needed supplies. “We told [the village] that we worship the Living God and that He listens to our prayers and answers them,” Tony Henry said, “We have pictures of the villagers receiving supplies with joy. They were thanking God for what He had done in such a short period of time.

“For us, this was a high risk [to go without the money in hand], but we prayed and thanked God for what He had done. Since then, we’ve had a rule that we know God will work in the proper time. With the little that we have, He will do a lot.”

Trusting God for provision

“We thank God for all the things that God is doing in South Sudan, as we are facing many challenges,” Tony Henry shared. “When we go to distant places, we usually meet elderly people who are not in a good situation. They might not have complete clothing to dress themselves or might even eat leaves off trees because they don’t have food. Sometimes when we walk to these places, we leave crying because of what we see, and are too tired to continue to journey on foot to farther places, despite the great need in distant villages.”

In it all, they praise God for His faithfulness and how He is at work in South Sudan.

Join the team in Sudan in praying for the provision of resources for the ministry: bicycles to move easier into rural areas, plastic tents to protect the books at outreaches during rainy seasons, speakers and an electric generator for meetings in areas without electricity, telephones for contacts in faraway villages to keep in touch, printed Arabic Bibles, audio Bibles in local dialects and funds for the school fees of team member’s children.

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