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30th April 2024

“The church is our safety zone, not just as a place, but our presence together brings peace and hope to our hearts even in the middle of war.” – Raafat Samir, Secretary General of the Sudan Evangelical Alliance

Church leaders from Sudan have told SAT-7 how their congregations are persevering in faith after a year of war in the country and are reaching out to help people in need.

Nicknamed “the forgotten war,” the conflict that erupted in Sudan last April has taken a devastating toll on its people. The fighting has displaced over 8 million people and left around 25 million in need of humanitarian aid. Almost 15,000 deaths have been reported, but the true figure is likely to be higher.1

But as the war dismantled the country’s basic infrastructure, leading to chaos and scarcity of resources, church leaders and members rose to the challenge, reaching out to their communities despite the dangers.

Speaking to SAT-7’s You Are Not Alone program from Sudan, Pastor Sami Rahhal of the Evangelical Church said that church buildings had been attacked and destroyed but their ministry was continuing:

“The Church is not a building; the Church is the believers. The early Church didn’t have buildings. The Church was growing fast without buildings… It is very sad for churches to be destroyed and attacked. But the Church is continuing, and our evangelism service continues. Our prayers are ongoing, and congregations hosted other denominations in their churches to hold their prayer [services].”

Places of Refuge

Christians in Sudan are also helping to meet people’s physical needs. At the beginning of the war, Pastor Sami hosted nine displaced families, and believers are sharing the meager supplies they have with others.

Raafat Samir, Secretary General of the Sudan Evangelical Alliance, described on You Are Not Alone how they turned church buildings in safer areas into refuge centers for families fleeing the fighting: “We didn’t discriminate and hosted non-Christians in our refuge centers. We provided them with food and helped the children through their trauma with trauma healing programs. But most of these areas became war zones themselves because the war expanded.”

As the violence intensified, Samir had to flee the country and is now in Ethiopia, having also tried to find refuge in Egypt and Eritrea. “Almost all our churches in the areas of conflict were either targeted or destroyed during the war. They were burned down,” he said. “I can’t tell you how much the Sudanese love the church. The church is our presence and our memories. What happened to our churches hurts us.”

Sudan’s Christians have a long history of suffering as a result of wars and persecution. Samir said the international community has been “silent” about the current conflict and there was not enough help for those affected by it.

The Church, though, is continuing to look to the Lord for help, and its leaders are providing teaching and encouragement to believers to help them persevere in their faith.

“My message is to trust in the Lord,” said Pastor Sami. “Trust in Him and He will protect you. I pray for everyone who is fearing diseases, dangers, and wars. I pray that God would take away their fear. We trust in God’s promises in the Holy Bible.”

Please Pray


1 https://reports.unocha.org/en/country/sudan/

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