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IMB volunteers use cows as a gateway to Christ

By April 7, 2010

Sudan (MNN) — Missionaries often struggle to relate to a village or group without some common ground. In order for any ministry to work, workers have to be able to relate to those with whom they're sharing.

In the case of four International Mission Board volunteers in Sudan, they've found a common denominator: cows.

Two American IMB workers, Theresa Metcalf and Whitney Prewitt, have dedicated two years of their lives to working with the Dinka people of Southern Sudan. The Dinka are cattle herders, who often move from camp to camp with their livestock. The camp atmosphere is filled with revelry and sexual immorality.

As a result of a lack of education, most of the Dinka simply do not know about diseases like HIV/AIDS. Many could not read literature on AIDS even if it were available. To explain the dangers of AIDS, Miller and Prewitt have put together a series of stories using Dinka folklore and biblical parables as examples of morality, truth and good decision making.

Unfortunately, because Metcalf and Prewitt are both female, they have little sway in the Dinka community. Their work has not been in vain, however. For the time being, four male volunteers have come to help, relating to the Dinka in a different way.

These four young men are cattle owners themselves in the U.S. This common ground has enabled them to initiate conversations with the Dinka men and has also earned them a good level of respect. The Dinka often come to listen to the volunteers talk at night. The four men take these opportunities to tell the stories the two women have prepared, to discuss the dangers of AIDS, and, most importantly, to explain the Gospel.

The Dinka say they have never had foreigners in their region and are apt to listen. The volunteers' main purpose with the Dinka–an animistic and spirit-worshiping people–is to share the news about the one and only Good Shepherd. Pray that the Dinka would be receptive to the message of Christ.

The Dinka say they are grateful to learn information about AIDS, and the IMB workers appear to have made an impression on them. To learn more about the work of IMB in Sudan, click here.

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