In South Sudan, teamwork brings big Gospel impact

By April 12, 2018

South Sudan (MNN) – Recently in South Sudan, 85 prisoners came to Christ. About 35 people suffering from leprosy said they wanted to follow Jesus. In two warring villages, another 470 people became Christians. And hundreds more became believers when Stuart Bowman of Partners in Compassionate Care (PCC) visited South Sudan earlier this year and presented the Gospel through the JESUS Film.

He says, “We presented to over 2,000 people and out of those 2,000, over 800 received Jesus Christ as their King and accepted him.”

PCC is a ministry in South Sudan offering medical help through their hospital and satellite clinics. During this trip, the hospital provided him with an ambulance to travel to different communities to offer health services and to share the JESUS Film.

(Photo and header photo courtesy of Stuart Bowman)

Bowman says the success of the trip was all God’s doing as He worked through the team. In an area of the world where violence is prevalent and people struggle with major issues like poverty and poor health care, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a welcome message.

“He provided a way for us to leave our shame, to identify with Him, and to have a righteousness be with Him. And that’s really where healing comes from, is at the foot of the cross and when we accept Him for our salvation,” Bowman says.

And while it was God’s work being done, He called together several groups of Christians to make the trip happen.

Collaboration on the Mission Field

Overall, six ministries were involved in making this trip a possibility: PCC, Set Free Ministries, Renew World Outreach, Resonate Church, World Mission, and Jesus Film Project.

Set Free Ministries helps to bring spiritual healing and freedom to people around the world. In the United States, they provide counseling sessions and work with inmates. In places like East Africa, they support schools and reach out to communities with the Gospel. Their focus is on spiritual warfare. Set Free Ministries has partnered with PCC in order to pair this spiritual healing with the physical healing.

A Set Free worker named Samuel has been very active in spreading the Gospel in this region. During this trip, he helped with translation and sharing the Gospel message, as well. And now, he has additional tools to expand his ministry and promote discipleship.

Together, Set Free Ministries and PCC have purchased solar-powered video projectors from a third organization, Renew World Outreach.

Along the road in South Sudan (Photo courtesy of Stuart Bowman)

Renew World Outreach creates technology that reaches across borders, even when there is no internet or electricity and in places where it’s difficult to get the Gospel. The video projectors purchased by Set Free and PCC fold up into backpacks, are solar powered, and can play content from a flash drive.

This brings in a fourth ministry—Jesus Film Project. Dean VanderMey of Set Free says he contacted Jesus Film Project to see if they could get the JESUS Film ready to share through these video projectors. They enthusiastically agreed to help.

However, Set Free Ministries and PCC are conscious of the fact that you can’t just share the Gospel and walk away– they wanted to be sure to leave something in place to help with discipleship and spiritual growth. Bowman’s sending church, Resonate Church, is very mission-focused and they wanted to be able to help in this matter. They helped provide Bowman with 80 audio Bibles from World Mission, called the Treasure. Bowman says he is extremely grateful for their help and wants his church to know that their generosity will help to leave a lasting impact on the areas they visited.

“We felt the best use of the Treasure was to actually start Bible studies—to find people in the Church and assign them, and then halfway through the week on Wednesdays to actually have the groups of the villages come in based on their location, to come in and listen to the Bible and have these discussions,” Bowman says.

A Call to Strive for Teamwork in the Great Commission

VanderMey of Set Free says this type of collaboration, while extremely effective and important, isn’t always second nature on the mission field.

He says, “As the director of Set Free, I’ve been seeing for years now, since 2002, I’ve been seeing a lot of ministries worldwide try to protect their turf. And, it drives me nuts because Jesus says, ‘I am the head, you are the body. The hand cannot say to the foot, I don’t need you.’ We desperately need each other. All of us. So, we make it a directive that we are going to work with other like-minded ministries.”

Years ago, Set Free purchased the first backpack video projector to play the JESUS Film. Since that time, God brought them together with PCC when the Bowmans asked Set Free to help them with a school near the hospital. What VanderMey has learned over the years is this: “Collaborate together. And it will be far better than you ever dreamed or imagined when you work together. So, that’s kind of our philosophy and it’s proving quite effective.”

(Photo and header photo courtesy of Stuart Bowman)

VanderMey explains that Set Free first began operating in West Africa in 2005. Since that time, they’ve started 15 different schools, including the school in war-torn South Sudan.

“We now care for about 4,500 orphans and we have about 250 staff. But it’s only because of the collaboration. We’re working together with other people there, with the Body of Christ there, with people back here. And it becomes quite powerful because there’s synergy: everyone working together for the glory of Christ, and to spread the Gospel and go make disciples of all nations. That’s the point.”

Bowman agrees that this approach is certainly biblical and that ascribing to one ministry, one denomination, or one pastor can actually damage the movement of the Gospel.

“Christ heals the brokenhearted and sets the captives free. And so, bringing the news of Christ’s love and what he’s done for us to the Body in a real way, working together and not thinking so much about, you know ‘I’m a disciple of this person,’ or ‘I do this,’ or ‘We’re evangelistic.’ No, it’s not about that. It’s about how can we partner together, to build the Body of Christ?” he says.

If you’d like to join this collaboration, take a moment to check out these two ministries and how you can get involved. To learn more about Set Free Ministries, click here. For more about PCC, click here.

Finally, please pray for all the new believers to grow in their newfound faith.

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