For over 20 years, during a period of intense conflict and war, Open Doors has been providing encouragement seminars to Christians in the Nuba mountains of Sudan.
Since the 1990s, Open Doors has been conducting encouragement and training seminars in various locations throughout the Nuba Mountains region in Sudan. In 2015, a team from Open Doors went back to present to a group of 91 church leaders and their wives.
The set of photos below were taken in 1996, 2000, 2006 & 2009 at similar Open Doors events.
During the latest seminar, that took place in February 2015, a group of pastors came together to study the book of 2 Corinthians, looking at the Apostle Paul’s advice to the Corinthian church on facing severe difficulties and challenges.
Commenting on the experience, an Open Doors worker shared that, “It was a joyous reunion on the first day of the conference. Many of the Nuba church leaders had not seen each other for years and life has been challenging due to the ongoing civil war. We sensed that the encouragement conference was a much needed event to lift their spirits.”
During the conference, many testimonies were shared about the suffering that people go through in the Nuba Mountains. Nothing much has changed since previous visits. “It is the same old story. Bombings are continuing as the government tries to push the Nuba people out of the area. Pastors told us how the government occupied and attacked their villages and then retreated, causing great damage. At least 11 of the attendees lost their houses in the recent fighting.”
One elderly pastor lost his home, goats, and crop of sorghum (type of grain). Upset about this he complained to the Lord. When asking God why this had to happen to him, he sensed an inner voice telling him, ‘Ana fie – I am here.’ These words comforted him and gave him the strength to carry on.
There was also opportunity for the pastors’ wives to study the Bible and share in fellowship and encouragement with one another.
Despite the smiles, it was clear that many of the women were struggling. Often their eyes looked dim. The rumbling of bombs and mortars was never far away, and even during our visit, long-range missiles could be heard as the government attacked a nearby town. The Nuba Mountains are continuously and indiscriminately bombed by the Sudanese Army.
After times of encouragement together as a large group, there was also opportunity for small group discussions and for individual time in the Word of God.
In reflective mode, one of the pastors said he had learnt to maintain perspective. Another explained how they had to run for their lives during a surprise attack on their village. They took nothing with them, not even water or a little food. Although they lost all of their earthly possessions in the attack, they still had the grace not to complain but praise God that no one had been injured or killed.
At the end of the conference the mood was markedly lighter and there was a sense that many hearts were refreshed in Christ.
As the planes and bombs represented one reality, we had been able to remind our friends of another one. That there is hope in brokenness because our God is a God of all comfort and a Father of compassion. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, that we might have an everlasting hope of eternity with Him. Though we may be knocked down, we are not destroyed. To Him belongs all glory!
- Praise God for His faithful servants in Sudan.
- Pray that they would continue trusting God as they go about their ministry and that many people would come to faith in Jesus.
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