Sudan (MNN) — Sudan remains a country with major issues. A lack of progress towards resolving the 5 1/2-year-old Darfur conflict, fighting in the oil-rich Abyei region claimed by both north and south Sudan, and tension with neighboring Chad are all critical issues. However, despite these issues, the church in the south is growing.
E3 Partners Sudan Strategic Coordinator Mike Congrove says the work they're doing is helping with that. "We started a Bible school to train pastors and leaders and give them some more sound doctrinal training and really encourage them to plant new churches. And then, in addition, we use North Americans on short-term trips to come over and share Christ home to home."
The homes are identified by Sudanese Christians where there are no churches.
Congrove says North Americans are pretty effective in Sudan. He says it's cultural. "You respect visitors, and you respect outsiders. And so we've been able to use that for an advantage to share Christ. So they're very accommodating, and they want to hear what we have to say."
He's encouraged by what he's seeing in the national church. "Recently they organized their own short-term mission trip and went to another town, outside where our headquarters is [located], and established three new churches on their own. So we're really excited about that."
Evangelists use the EvangeCube, a puzzle-like picture cube, to help explain the story of Christ. Congrove says that's important. "The illiteracy rate is in the 90-pecentile, so having a visual tool is helpful and also using stories not only for evangelism, but also the discipleship has been effective tools as well."
While things have been improving in some areas of Sudan, it's still a troubled society. He thinks Sudan is uniquely ready to hear the Gospel. "After years of war, you have a traumatized people, and absolutely when they get to hear the hope that comes from Jesus Christ, it's powerful."
The major issue right now is finding national leaders. Congrove says, "With the amount of war that has happened, we lack male leaders from the ages of 30 to 65. There's a huge gap there. So what we've done is we've taken a giant step backwards and started this Bible school to train leaders for the long haul."
E3 Partners needs your support to help fund the school. It not only provides training but feeds and houses these new leaders.
If you'd like to support E3's efforts, click here.