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Just over three years ago, at the beginning of 2013, while visiting Juba in South Sudan, I met with a pastor who had recently moved to Juba from Khartoum, Sudan’s capital city. At one point in our conversation he leaned across the table, looked at me sadly and said “Dark, difficult days are coming for Christian believers in Sudan.”
He was right. During the past three years, the persecution of Christians in Sudan has accelerated and shows no sign of abating. In fact, between 2011 and 2015, the nation has risen from #35 to #8 on the Open Doors World Watch List, a ranking of nations where persecution of Christians is most severe.
Christians in Sudan have suffered. Many have been intimidated and threatened. Some have been imprisoned; others have been deported or forced to flee the country for the relative safety of South Sudan or Egypt. Their churches have suffered, too. Some have been closed down. Buildings have been razed to the ground. The times of the week when churches can meet have been restricted. And even organizations caring for the vulnerable – including schools and children’s homes – have suffered. Assets, such as vehicles and computers, have been seized. Some have been forced to close and Western staff have been coerced into leaving the country, often at very short notice.
As an organization, Kids Alive felt the call of God to begin work in Sudan in 2005. That call remains, and we continue to be committed to caring for street children – a growing problem in Khartoum – for as long as He allows us to do so.
And it is worth it. A few days ago, I had the privilege of visiting the children that we care for in Khartoum. Each one has come from a life on the streets; each one has their own tale of suffering to tell. Yet God is at work in these lives, despite the environment around them. I was greeted with warm smiles and handshakes, shared in their joking and laughter, heard about their progress in school, and had a wonderful opportunity to pray with them. There is hope and joy in this place!
During my recent visit, I also had dinner with a Sudanese pastor – and a friend of Kids Alive’s ministry – in Khartoum. I asked him if he had a message for the church in the US. “Tell people in the US, in the UK, around the world, to pray for us,” he begged me. In this time of continued crisis for Christians in Sudan, let’s be committed to doing just that. Let’s pray together for:
- Christian believers and church congregations in Sudan – that they would know God’s peace amid the uncertainty and suffering, and that they would remain strong in their faith.
- The Sudanese government – that it would cease its persecution, intimidation, and the acts of violence against its own people. Pray that the hearts of leaders would instead be turned towards reconciliation and peace.
- The vulnerable – for those displaced by conflict, for street children and orphans, for those living in terrible poverty. Pray for Christian organizations reaching out to them, that they would have the resources and freedom to show the love of Christ to people that are suffering.
- The young people supported and cared for by Kids Alive – that they would experience complete healing from the hurts of the past, reach their full potential – and know and trust in the true God who loves them, who will never abandon them, and who has good plans for their lives.
Thank you for your prayers for Sudan and Kids Alive’s ministry there!