Churches in South Sudan Need Prayer as Nation Is on Brink of War

churches-south-sudan.jpg

Songs of praise echoed through the village of Dwani, South Sudan, as hundreds of believers marched in a grand procession around their newly rebuilt church on dedication day.

Some people carried small, wooden crosses. Others played handmade drums and instruments. Colorful swirls of orange, red, blue and green radiated from the women’s flowing headscarves and dresses as they circled the building, thanking God for their new sanctuary.
Pastor Anthony Powgo stepped up to the double doors of the church and raised his hand to quiet the crowd.
“With joy and thanksgiving we have met here today to consecrate and dedicate this building to God, and for the glory of His Name,” he said. “Because of our faith in Jesus Christ, we consecrate this building to Almighty God.”
The church in Dwani is just one of 478 churches that have been built by Samaritan’s Purse to help replace sanctuaries that were bombed or burned to the ground during Sudan’s bloody civil war.
The war erupted in 1983 when the Islamic dominated government in Khartoum imposed Sharia law on the nation. Millions of Christians and non-Muslim tribal groups in southern Sudan refused to submit, sparking an armed rebellion.
Attacks against Christians intensified under President Omar-al-Bashir. His hardened troops swept southward, burning churches, shooting worshippers while they prayed, and executing pastors in front of their congregations.
More than 2 million people were killed before a cease-fire was brokered through the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005. The agreement paved the way for the emergence of the independent nation of South Sudan on July 9, 2011.
When Samaritan’s Purse launched its Church Rebuilding Project in 2005, village congregations were eager to join in. Men and women formed work crews to help prepare the land. They collected sand and crushed rocks by hand to help make concrete mix, and they worked along side Samaritan’s Purse construction teams to set every handmade brick in place.
Built upon the ashes of war, the new churches became symbols of hope for the future in communities across South Sudan. They also became hubs for community activities.
Working with local pastors, Samaritan’s Purse also helped establish 10,600 Bible study groups and distribute 260,000 Bibles, translated into six tribal languages. Many people who received the Bibles had never owned one before. Thousands of illiterate people who joined the Bible study groups began learning to read, using the Bible as a guide.
“Now that people have Bibles there is a big turnout every Sunday,” said Martin Sebit, a church leader in the village of Tomoret. “Now the people have their personal Bibles so they can read for themselves.”
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Charisma News