Date: November 25, 2016
Sudan (MNN) — An Anglican archbishop in Cairo can read the signs of trouble coming. He’s warning the Church to be ready for martyrdom.
Notable changes include Sudan, Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Burundi, Southern Africa, West Africa, Indian Ocean, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and South East Asia. There has been a rise in Islamic extremism or a shift toward Sharia law in many of these areas. With those adjustments comes an uptick in persecution.
Part of ‘getting ready’ is advocacy, especially from those areas with religious freedom. Christian Aid Mission’s co-worker ‘G’* says it’s time to get busy. Sudan is one of 12 countries in the world with both apostasy and blasphemy laws on the books.
Additionally, in Sudan, the demolition of churches and arrest of Christians has increased significantly since President Omar al-Bashir began reasserting Sharia law. He is also wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity over the Darfur genocide.
Sudan is currently ranked eighth on the Open Doors’ World Watch List of the 50 countries where Christians face the most severe persecution. ‘G’ met with a group of exiled Christians to hear their stories because, “the information is desperately needed so the Church knows how to pray, how to invest, and also how they can help in terms of areas of expertise, information, or skills they may have to help a young Church that hasn’t been discipled deeply.”
(Sudan map courtesy of Wikipedia/CC)
What he found was not a discouraged group of Christians, but rather, a robust gathering that points to what God is doing around the world through persecution. What’s revealed: a family portrait, says ‘G’.
“We should look at it as though that’s a part of my family there. So I’ll pray like that’s my brother or my sister. I’ll pray like that’s my mom or my dad. I’ll pray like that’s me, so I’ll want to be involved.”
When ‘G’ got home, he met with a large delegation of church leaders and pastors to share that example. “We tend to talk about Sudanese, Africans, or those in developing countries…as ‘those people’ and forget they are family.”
Where those believers are in difficult situations, the Word of God tells us we should act as though we were there with them, he adds.
“If they have good information, then they can pray properly. If they can pray right, then God will raise up His banner within them concerning their brothers and sisters who are here in Sudan, and they will want to get engaged.”
(Photo courtesy of Flickr/CC/Anita Kattakuzhy/Oxfam)
Under the catechism of ‘pray’, ‘give’, ‘go’ — ‘G’ reminds us, “This is like a lifeline to them, the information coming back and forth, knowing there is someone here praying for them…to be able to say ‘we can go another day’, the tenacity to say, ‘I can to do this because I know I’m not alone.’”
Pray for wisdom as the ministry explores what might develop from relationships being built. Pray that Christians throughout Sudan will continue to entrust themselves to Christ and preach the Gospel. Pray also that peace, justice, and religious freedom may be firmly established.
*For security reasons, we’ve decided to identify the person interviewed as ‘G’.