When he wakes each morning, South Sudanese pastor Morris Kartina can attend to daily prayer and Bible reading without the threat of bombs falling from the sky. For the past three years, peace has slowly returned to his native Nuba Mountains, a range bordering Sudan to the north and South Sudan. While Antonov warplanes no longer drop bombs, Sudanese forces continue to block aid from entering the impoverished region.
Morris hears daily of the needs of the people he serves, from access to food and clean water, to limited health care and educational opportunities for their children. With his colleague and fellow pastor, Philip Komi*, the two men have a great desire to reach their neighbors for Christ.
In 2015, their efforts received a boost when the In Touch Life Principles Training Conference came to the Nuba people. The program uses foundational teachings from Dr. Stanley to help train leaders for evangelism and pastoral care. “It’s now easier to share the gospel with those people who don’t know the Word of God,” Morris said. In addition to the valuable training, Morris and about 30 fellow pastors received their first of many Messenger audio Bibles.
Philip Komi has been using the Messenger in much of his one-on-one ministry, playing the device and asking for the listeners’ thoughts. The Messenger has become an invaluable tool in the pastors’ quest to lead thousands of people to Christ. Those who cannot read can listen to the Bible, and Morris says it has helped increase a sense of biblical literacy that once did not exist.
One group the men are trying to reach are the Muslims who also live within the Nuba Mountains. Morris says they are initially resistant to talking about Christianity. “But if you give them [a Messenger], they will listen in secret. And then there’s a desire in their house to be interested in the Word of God.” They are comparing the message of the gospel to that of the Qur’an, clearly noticing a difference. Some have said the Bible speaks of “good things” they’ve never heard before, and they are putting their faith in Jesus.
During the Life Principles Conference, Philip was reminded of God’s passionate heart to reach His people and the price Jesus paid to save the lost. It moved him to see outreach from the Persecution Project Foundation and In Touch during a time when the Sudanese government continued its air raid campaign, an uncertain and dangerous situation. Yet ministry never stopped.
The most recent harvest was not good; that, combined with limited aid, makes the situation worse. Whenever the pastors can help meet a physical need, they will, but Morris also reminds them, “Pray and the Lord can open a way wherever. He can make water come from a rock. He can make a way through the sea. He is able; He can do something.”
As for Philip, the teachings of Dr. Stanley have made a profound impact on not only the ministry but also on his personal understanding of the heart of God. “The insight I have received from God as a result of listening to this is that God wants to redeem the whole world. No single tribe is left out.”
Through your partnership, the good news of Jesus Christ is going where it’s needed most. Through the tools of the Messenger Lab, we’re reaching the lost, making disciples, and equipping pastors and Christian leaders as they obey the Great Commission.
*Subject’s name has been altered.
Illustrations by Jeff Gregory