Sudan had experienced civil war for about 60 years between the north (Muslim) and the south (Christian). After the turn of the century, the south defeated the north. People who had fled as refugees began returning to their villages. Soon Seventh-day Adventist churches were appearing where there had been no Adventists previously because these people had become baptized members in the refugee camps.
In July of 2011 South Sudan became the newest nation in the world. People were excited about peace in the country and infrastructure improvement. The war had resulted in no telephone service, no postal service, no road building, etc. The church could now function in a more effective manner.
But people in South Sudan were devastated on December 15, 2013, when civil war broke out between the country’s two largest tribes. More than 1 million of the population had to flee to refugee camps in Uganda and some surrounding countries. Among those fleeing were Adventist members and Gospel Outreach workers. Many had to flee with just the clothes they were wearing.
Despite the difficulties, our GO workers have not lost faith or courage. They are continuing with their same zeal, spreading the good news about Jesus. The refugee camp provides great opportunities for witnessing. People have time and are away from their homes in the villages where relatives can oppose them for accepting new teachings. Also, the good news of Jesus gives hope in their rather hopeless situation.
When a worker has enough people to form a congregation, everyone goes to work making mud bricks and gathering local materials to build a church. In one instance the people had just completed a church when an arsonist burned it down. Some people were very discouraged and wanted to give up, but the young people said enthusiastically, “No, we will build again!” They went to work immediately, and in three days they had built another church.
Meet David Pandak, a former teacher, who loved worldly amusements. An Adventist relative visited him one day and began discussing biblical topics. This relative told him about the seventh-day Sabbath and how Jesus was baptized. David had not heard about this before and became very angry. However, the Holy Spirit was speaking to him.
After two weeks David accepted these truths and consented to take Bible studies and was baptized. He was now on fire for the Lord and began witnessing to others about Jesus and other Bible truths. The church chose him for a church elder. He was then called to be a GO worker.
He was sent to Baidit Payam in the Bor area where he was able to start a church. The congregation was growing and things were going well, but then the civil war broke out. David, his family and his congregation had to flee to a refugee camp in Uganda.
Immediately he began witnessing and gathering people for Bible studies. David goes everywhere he can, meeting people at funerals, weddings, markets and any other place where people gather. If he sees someone in need, he immediately offers his help. Refugees have time, so he gathers them in large groups for Bible studies. In the last four years, David has baptized more than 700 people. Many other GO workers have also baptized large numbers.
There are great opportunities in the refugee camps for presenting Jesus. In the first nine months of 2017, GO workers baptized 1,936 people.
Pray for these workers and members, and pray that peace will come to South Sudan.