The new Sudan Bible School was excited to receive an unexpected courtesy visit on March 1 from several important government officials. The State Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, the County Commissioner, and the member of Parliament representing Pajok arrived, accompanied by several other important officials.
The State Minister expressed his great pleasure with the work the church is doing in the Pajok area. He termed the Bible school "a change agent," explaining that it will eventually change the attitudes and behavior of people to become not only God-fearing but good law-abiding citizens.
Regarding the physical buildings, he had this to say: "It has changed the way Pajok looks forever, even though spiritual development of the people is of the utmost importance." He added that the clinic has "filled a gap that the government could not fill."
Because of their satisfaction, the member of Parliament representing Pajok instructed the local land board to give the church more land "in case there is a need for expansion." We are hoping to perhaps use that extra land for a food garden and to teach drip-irrigation.
He has also offered to help us in anything that we need. The church is definitely "letting its light shine" in Pajok!
"And the Lord Added to the Church Daily..."
- New congregations are being planted by the teachers and students of the South Sudan Bible School even while school is still in session.
- They report that in one new congregation, 25 people were baptized on March 4. (How long has it been since your congregation baptized that many in one Sunday?)
- In February, 46 were baptized in Pajok where the school is located. Eight more were baptized in another local congregation.
- Eight were baptized in a nearby congregation the next Sunday.
- The congregation in Pajok has outgrown its facilities and so has started a new church in another part of the town.
What the above facts tell us is that with our teachers leading the students and with the students learning what to teach and how to teach and evangelize, great numbers of Sudanese are being baptized and new congregations are being planted rapidly. As more and more students are trained, the Lord can bless Sudan with many more congregations and baptisms.
Because of the inability to communicate with other parts of the country, this information is from only one small area of South Sudan. What it tells us, though, is that while the Sudanese people may be poor physically, they are eager to hear the gospel and are becoming rich spiritually!
Have Trust; Will Travel
Isaac Adotey is a missionary in Juba, South Sudan. He was sent there by churches in Ghana, West Africa. Below is his personal account of traveling on a public bus.
"On the 30th of January, I left Sudan for Uganda so that I could buy a public address system and some few things to help with the work in Sudan. On the way, we almost had a head-on collision with another heavy-duty vehicle; but the Lord delivered us.
"We would have imagined that the near accident would have been enough to warn our driver to slow down. Unfortunately, he did not learn. With great speed, he initiated a curve and, without warning, (came upon) a parked bus stopped directly in front of him. Having nowhere to turn, he crashed into the bus, and we overturned.
"We finally came to rest with the bus I was riding in lying on its side. I was knocked out for a few moments. When I woke up, I collected my bag--which held my money; and I crawled out of the window. I sort of staggered away from the bus, being a bit groggy from being banged on the head, and stood nearby and prayed.
"Meanwhile, other bus drivers and passengers came to the rescue of those still on the bus. I was amazed that I was able to escape unhurt save for the small bump on my head. Yet I knew and believed that it was due to the prayers that you offer for me that I was able to get out safely.
"Please, we need more of your prayers. The risks of staying in Sudan are much higher than in most of the rest of Africa."
Old Age is Not a Problem...
- The average person dies by 40 in South Sudan.
- More than a third of children are malnourished.
- More mothers die in childbirth than anywhere else in the world.
- Doctors are scarce after decades of civil war, with fewer than two doctors for every 100,000 people.
- The fledgling country doesn't have a functional blood bank.
- In the rainy season, roads are useless, leaving hospitals out of reach for many people in distant villages
- Hospitals are short on everything, including mattresses, sheets, even drugs to combat malaria.
- There are devastating rates of HIV/AIDS, malnutrition and a slew of tropical diseases, some never seen before.
These facts illustrate what a great blessing the church of Christ is providing in South Sudan through our life-saving medicines and new clinic. The local Christians have named it the "Trust the Lord Clinic." South Sudanese do not ask us to cry for them; they just ask us to care and to get involved.