South Sudan (MNN) — High food prices, economic fallout from COVID-19, and unprecedented flooding drive widespread hunger in South Sudan. According to the World Food Program, 2.4 million people are at risk of famine if they don’t receive aid.
DOOR International supports church planting in South Sudan’s Deaf communities through a program called “2-by-2.” “Last year, DOOR’s 2-by-2 ministry was offering food aid, especially during the ravages of COVID-19,” says DOOR’s Scripture Engagement Coordinator for East Africa, Benard Thuku.
“That slowed down, but with this information, I think maybe it’s about time we [discussed] going back to the food program ministry.”
Physical hunger isn’t the only need in South Sudan. When schools reopened, DOOR’s 2-by-2 teams encountered a “double hunger” among Deaf students.
One student at a Deaf school signed:
“I am so happy to be back in school because at home, I was doubly hungry. I didn’t get food every day, and I didn’t have a chance to learn God’s Word. I am so glad to be here and learning God’s Word again. I am praying that God will one day take care of the lack of food.”
Reaching the next generation
Along with building relationships in the Deaf community, church planters work with students at Deaf schools. However, all schools were closed during the pandemic, cutting off the teams’ main ministry channel to Deaf children.
“There is a need for continued prayers for school ministry,” Thuku says. “This is an effective way of reaching Deaf people from an early age.”
Emmanuel Taban, a 2-by-2 team member in South Sudan, signed this in a recent update:
“We see this (school ministry) as a privilege. The school administration allows us to go into schools and show God’s Word to Deaf children who may have never seen it before. I’m seeing them be hungry for the Gospel message. These children are getting something I didn’t get growing up — the chance to shape their faith and build it on a solid foundation early on in life.”
DOOR’s 2-by-2 teams use the Chronological Bible Translation in South Sudanese Sign Language to teach students about the Lord. Sign language resources are scarce, so the kids love every story or Bible passage they see. However, one biblical account holds special meaning.
Deaf students favor the Creation passages from Genesis because “Deaf people connect to the world mainly through what they see. They never had someone explain to them where the world came from,” Thuku says.
“For the first time, they’re able to see where this world came from – the heavens, the trees, the rivers.”
Now that schools have reopened, Deaf believers can meet with Deaf students. Pray for effective discipleship and spiritual growth. Pray for the Deaf children in South Sudan who are suffering from double hunger and that God will provide for their needs.
In the header image, Deaf believers hold a fellowship meal after church. (Photo courtesy of DOOR International)