James Baak, one of our Global Partners serving in South Sudan, is sharing with us today all that God is doing through Solidarity Ministries Africa for Reconciliation & Development (SMARD).
God is Moving in Juba, South Sudan
Amidst pain, fear of the pandemic, intercommunal violence, and a fragile political and economic environment, God has been using James Baak and Solidarity Ministries Africa for Reconciliation & Development (SMARD) in amazing ways to bring the hope of the Gospel to Juba, South Sudan and surrounding areas.
On August 2, 2020 Santino Lual planted St. Matthew Church, a new church in the Hai Jebel Dinka area of Juba with 157 new believers. Pastor Lual was trained through SMARD’s Pastoral Leadership Training Program. Pastor Lual gratefully reports, “I thank God for SMARD for training me in God’s Word which enables me to preach the gospel in this new church today.” Tabitha who is a new believer at St. Matthew shared, “My constant fear of the Coronavirus made me restless and unable to sleep, but when I heard about the Good News of Jesus Christ from Pastor Santino, I decided to give my life to Christ and my fear was replaced with unexplainable joy! I thank God for the messenger that God sent me.” Tabitha asks for prayer that her husband and the rest of her family will come to believe in Christ too.
Through SMARD’s Empower Women Project funded by Fellowship Bible Church, they were able to provide 160 women with seeds to enable them to grow their own food. These seeds will help eradicate poverty while providing nutritious food. Mary Achol Akarap acknowledged, “Today, I am very thankful to God and SMARD, and its supporting partners for giving me these seeds. This year I had no hope of providing for my livelihood.”
SMARD is also preparing to equip about 300 church leaders by providing them with Bibles in the five most common local languages. (There are 64 different tribes in South Sudan.)
COVID-19’s Effect on Juba
Life wasn’t easy in Juba before Covid. Now Covid only adds to the daily challenges faced by the South Sudanese. Few South Sudanese have directly died because of the disease, but many are dying and struggling because of the harsh economic realities leading to intercommunal violence and the lack of access to good medical care. The majority of South Sudanese depend on humanitarian assistance for basic needs such as food, health services, and education. However, many agencies and their international staff have had to return to their home countries because of Covid. This has left the vulnerable in dire straits.
The testing capacity in South Sudan is very limited with fewer than 1,00 tests a day, resulting in 10 – 20 people testing positive.
Additional Praises to God
- For the Peace Agreement which has brought stability to South Sudan.
- For the few deaths from Covid and the resilience of the South Sudanese people.
- For the protection from the virus among SMARD’s staff and its families, as no Covid cases have been reported yet.
- For the end of intercommunal violence that has led to displacements, killings, and cattle raiding among some communities in Warrap and Jonglei states. (The chief causes are economic hardship, widespread availability of arms, and lack of the Rule of Law.)
- For lasting peace to prevail in South Sudan.
- For new partners to join the Ministry to expand what God is doing in South Sudan.
- For success of planned activities including preaching the message of Peace through local radio.
Support James Baak and the work of all our Global Partners by giving to the general Global Outreach fund.