Believers defy persecution to minister in Sudan

International (MNN) — Sometimes the greatest patriots don’t even live in their own countries.

Take Pastor Strong, a Sudanese believer with a passion for his God and his people. Strong and his team are working with refugees and communities to spread the truth and hope of Christ, though pressure from the local government can present a serious challenge.

“The government in Sudan wants to Islamize the whole population and they want to finish off Christianity and other faiths in Sudan,” Strong says. “We have to put pressure on the government so that the rights of the people to practice their faith openly will be given to them.”

For that, they need the support of the global Church, especially believers in the West. For now, “They are in the midst of trials, persecution, hunger — a lot of problems. And yet in the midst of all that, they rejoice.”

(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Strong says he is continually amazed at how much believers in Sudan and nearby nations are willing to sacrifice. “They’re always ready to die, and they testify their faith in every circumstance,” he says. “They are willing to serve no matter what they have and what they might lose.”

Strong and his team worked in Sudan and South Sudan for years until security intensified and several of their colleagues were arrested. Despite increased pressure on believers even outside of the country, Strong’s team is helping train leaders to go into refugee camps and spread the message of Christ’s love.

And that’s not where their reach stops. So many refugees have had positive receptions to the Gospel that refugee leaders are being trained inside the camps, and many of them hope to join refugee settlements in countries like Eritrea to continue the spread of the Gospel.

But what about believers that aren’t living and ministering in secret? Strong says believers still need Bibles and Christian media translated into the languages of the people. He believes audio Bibles can provide a new, powerful tool in ministry in many of these dangerous areas.

The problem is, it’s a challenge to get material to believers operating in secret without drawing the wrong kind of attention. That’s why Strong encourages us to pray to a God who can work beyond borders and hostility to further His kingdom.

“We see that the hand of God is changing the lives of the people, and our desire to serve Sudan is growing even in the persecution that the Church is going through.”

Pray that God will open doors for believers in South Sudan, Eritrea, and other hostile areas.