South Sudan (MNN) — The COVID-19 pandemic and falling oil prices hit the world’s newest nation hard. South Sudan just took its first loan from the International Monetary Fund. See our full coronavirus coverage here.
Analysts say South Sudan fared fairly well earlier this year thanks to political stability and an uptick in global oil sales. Today, however, is a very different story. “You’re not able to predict prices, so the business community [is] finding it very difficult when it comes to operating,” World Concern’s Joshua Bundi says.
“Commodities have been very expensive in the market. Very few people can afford to buy basic items because the cost is too high.”
The economy is only one of South Sudan’s many challenges. The country largely depends on imports, Bundi explains. When COVID-19 restrictions limited the movement of goods and people, “that created shortage within the market. The prices went up [and] very many people lost their jobs, lost their livelihoods,” he says.
Circumstances might be increasingly difficult, but they won’t stop Gospel work. With World Concern’s help, local believers take practical gifts and the hope of Christ to unreached communities. “Pray for the soul winning and the soldiers on the ground,” Bundi requests.
“We have over 200 evangelists. Every day they wake up talking about reaching out to more and more communities.”
Bicycles, Bibles, and COVID-19
World Concern is a Christian global relief and development organization. When the COVID-19 outbreak became a pandemic in March, World Concern gave additional training in handwashing, hygiene practices, and health messaging to evangelists who are part of the Africans to Africa (A2A) program.
Early action helped prevent a COVID-19 outbreak in remote villages this spring. Today, as 2020 draws to a close, local believers are getting the word out again to avoid another wave of infections. More about that here.
In partnership with the local church, World Concern’s A2A program trains and equips evangelists with bicycles, Bibles, and Gospel materials to share the Gospel in remote communities and unreached areas. The project currently serves Jur River and Aweil areas in the Bahr el Ghazal region of South Sudan.
Ask the Lord to encourage His followers in South Sudan. Pray they will endure this difficult season. “The challenges continue, but our prayer is maybe one of these days, our prayer will be answered, and we will see a country that we desire,” Bundi says.
Header image depicts men having a Bible study in Alungo Village. (Photo, caption courtesy of Daryl Finley / World Concern)