During April we delivered and distributed into the officially Islamic Sudan over 23,000 Bibles and Christian books in fourteen languages. This involved driving through flooded rivers, flying far behind enemy lines and walking, many hours, with heavy loads up and down the Nuba Mountains in Central Sudan. Much of our ministry in Sudan was carried out in oppressive heat which sometimes reached 58°C. Every night in the Nuba Mountains gunfire was heard. The Islamic government of Sudan had recently and repeatedly bombed each of the places we visited. On one occasion, as we walked across a valley at night, tracer lit up the sky and shells exploded overhead. Sometimes we walked past burning fields and burned out homes.
Leadership Training and Literature
The purpose of our mission trip was to minister to body, mind, and spirit. During this time inside Sudan, I presented a "God and Government Seminar" for 25 chaplains and commanders; a "Reformation and Revival Seminar" for 80 schoolteachers; and a "Discipleship Training Course" for 70 Bible students, pastors, and evangelists in the Nuba Mountains. Some of these pastors walked over 200 km to attend this course! There was much rejoicing over the new hymn books, prayer books, catechisms, Sunday school books, and Bible study materials which Frontline Fellowship had especially printed in the Moru, Otoro, Heiban, Moro, Kwalib, and Krongo languages.
Celebrations in Lui
By God's perfect timing I arrived with the new Moru hymn books, prayer books, and catechisms just in time for the "consecration" of the new bishop for Lui diocese in Western Equatoria. This was the most strategic opportunity possible for the distribution of these new publications, because almost every Moru pastor of the Episcopal Church of Sudan was present for this historic event! Since the war began, most bishops have been appointed and installed outside the country in neighboring Kenya or Uganda. So it was most significant that this important church event took place inside Sudan — in the newly liberated areas east of the Yei River.
Two years before, I had stood in Lui shortly after it had been liberated from the Arabs. The devastated town was deserted with no civilians living there at all. Amidst the trenches, foxholes, and the debris of war I held a prayer meeting with the small platoon of SPLA soldiers stationed there. We praised God for the great work that had been pioneered by Dr. Kenneth Fraser who had first come to Lui in 1920. Dr. Fraser had established the first hospital, the first school, and the first church in Moruland. I praised the Lord Jesus Christ that He is the Resurrection and the Life. Christianity is the religion of the empty tomb. We prayed that the Lord would again bring life out of death; that this town of Lui, the birthplace of Christianity in Moruland, would be restored; that the hospital would be repaired and again be used for the healing of bodies; that the school would again be rebuilt and used to renew minds; and that the church building — which the Muslims had destroyed — would be restored and would again be filled with people worshipping our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Less than two years later we could rejoice that all those prayers had been answered in a most wonderful way. The Kenneth Fraser Memorial Church was overflowing with over 3,000 people singing praises to God. The school was again a vibrant place of learning. The hospital was fully operational providing the finest medical treatment available anywhere in Southern Sudan. The market place was full. Lui was bursting at its seams with over 6,000 inhabitants.
The transformation of Lui from an occupied government garrison town to a liberated area full of vitality was dramatic. As an important and fast growing center in New Sudan, Lui has also become a target for the NIF government's bombing campaign. The SPLA warned us that the government of Sudan (GOS) air force was going to bomb Lui on Sunday to disrupt the Bishop's consecration service. There was serious talk about shortening the service, moving locations, or even postponing the event, because of the fear of bombing. I strongly urged the leaders to go ahead with the planned service and not to allow the Muslims to cause us to give in to fear and be deviated from our calling.
As it turned out a rainstorm erupted just as the service began! We all arrived in sunshine and departed in sunshine, but during the service heavy rain protected the church in Lui from any bombing raid that the Muslim government forces may have been planning.
Crashed Aircraft and Scorpions
As Tim, Delia, and I flew into the Nuba Mountains with 9,000 Christian books in 7 languages, we saw a crashed aircraft by the airstrip. It was another reminder of the risks of landing on such rugged terrain. One night Tim killed 3 scorpions in our tukel (hut). That episode actually took a few hours as the scorpions hid amongst our clothes and kit. One large scorpion needed over a dozen hits before it succumbed.
Bombs and Raiders
One pastor related how Arab raiders had attacked his village to steal their cattle. He had fought them off with a shotgun. Pastors at Kauda related how over a hundred bombs had been dropped on their village in October. Then from Christmas day to the New Year, Antonov aircraft bombed them every day. Pastors at Gadel related how 16 bombs were dropped on them by a circling Antonov in February. The NIF garrison at Mendi had also repeatedly shelled nearby villages with artillery fire.
Muslims Come to Christ
Numerous Nuban pastors related testimonies of Muslims in their communities coming to Christ. Some spoke of 8, 10, 20, and even 40 Muslims becoming Christians in response to preaching, the Jesus film, and Gospel Recordings audiovisual presentations. Six Muslims were known to have been converted in Kauda last year in response to the Jesus film. Ten were converted in Achurum, this year, through the Gospel Recordings presentation. Seven were converted, this year, in Tira through the Gospel Recordings presentations.
As we were exiting the Nuba, I was surprised to see several armed Arabs on camels coming towards us. "It's all right," one of the pastors reassured me. "We hired them to help transport the sorghum your plane is bringing in!" Well, that was the first time Frontline Fellowship has had relief aid or Bibles for persecuted Christians transported by camels! Please pray for Steve, Tim, and Delia as they continue to minister in Sudan.
A Macedonian Plea
In late June, we received an e-mail from Peter Hammond. Not only does it give an update of the wonderful ministry opportunities facing Frontline Fellowship, it is also a plea for help. We thought it important to share excerpts with our readers as soon as possible.
Dear Brothers at Chalcedon,
Greetings in the precious Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Thank you very much for the great news of all the Chalcedon books en route to Zambia!
By God's grace we have several exciting ministry opportunities coming up. As you know, at this time Robert and two of our other workers are conducting 13 Biblical Worldview Seminars throughout Zambia. This is Robert's third trip to Zambia so far this year. The Minister of education has organized (genuinely confirmed) three Teacher Training Colleges where our team will conduct BWS's for their teachers-in-training. Our other Zambian team, Virgil, Louise, and Hansie will be physically establishing the permanent mission base and Bible college later in July.
Now, we have a definite invitation to conduct a Biblical Worldview Seminar for some Parliamentarians here in Cape Town. Yesterday, two other Frontline leaders and myself were at Parliament, meeting with the leadership of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP). They have asked us to come and conduct a 3-day Biblical Worldview Seminar for their Members of Parliament and for the Legislators. The ACDP is a small party, but they have a fine track record of no compromise and very bold and brave stands made for Biblical principles in Parliament and the media over the last 5 years. They turn to us for resource material, research, speech writing, and policy drafting, etc. They have joined us for many of our public meetings, for marches on Parliament, prayer vigils, life-chains, etc. We know them and we trust them.
Yesterday, we were in fact at Parliament to give them critical feedback and rebuke for some mistakes made during the recent election campaign. They received the correction and rebuke graciously and immediately asked us to come and conduct a Biblical Worldview Seminar specifically for their Parliamentary and Provincial leaders. The dates settled on are Wednesday the 28th to Friday the 30th of July. This is planned to be the first of several BWS's spread throughout the next year.
They have also asked us to put together a library of books for Parliamentarians to be in their offices at Parliament, and also to draw up a required reading list for each of their members of Parliament according to their committee responsibilities, (e.g., Economics, Welfare, Crime, Justice, Education, etc.).
By way of a follow-up, we are planning a further BWS with the Parliamentarians later on in the year. The ACDP has 6 members of Parliament, 1 Senator, and 5 members of Legislature, 12 people in total, who will be attending the BWS at Parliament. The numbers may not be great, but we have guaranteed attendance and this is a very strategic group. I believe it to be well worthy of our best efforts. Small groups in opposition tend to be a lot more open to teaching than those already in government! Perhaps these are some of Gideon's band.
Also of interest is that the weekend of 29th to the 31st of October is going to be Reformation weekend. We are planning a Reformation Conference to be held here in Cape Town, high-powered, leading up to Reformation Sunday the 31st of October. Should anyone be interested in coming out to join us at that time, we would be most grateful.
On another subject entirely, we have an invitation from the Ministry of Education in Nigeria for four expatriate missionary teachers to come and "help uplift the spiritual and educational standards" of the Nigerian schools. These are government-sponsored posts. The government of Nigeria has requested foreign missionary teachers to help them. The initial quota is for four Christian missionary teachers. If Chalcedon knows of any qualified teacher who wants to work as a missionary in Africa, Nigeria has schools, and students, just waiting to be taught. The intra-structure is set up, the door is wide open, the opportunity and challenge stand before us.
On another subject, I desperately need more staff. We definitely do not have enough qualified people to be able to handle the tremendous opportunities and invitations of ministry before us. I need someone with experience in book ministry, to run our "Christian Liberty Books" ministry, and we need an office manager who can juggle the many demands, matching available resources, vehicles, and personnel to the tasks at hand according to the priorities (this would free me up to do the writing, pioneering, and other ministry that I need to concentrate on). We always need more field staff, and administrative staff, but there is a wide-open opportunity for expanding our tape ministry, pastoral training, leadership training, Bible teaching, etc. Would it be a possibility in any particular edition of Chalcedon to put in a straight challenge and invitation for missionary volunteers, both short-term and career? The opportunities before us are so unprecedented, and I fear that we may be missing many windows of opportunity by not having sufficient resources and personnel to respond to them adequately.
This is a Macedonian Call: come over and help us!
Yours for Reformation and Revival,
Rev. Peter Hammond is a missionary who has pioneered evangelistic outreaches in the war zones of Angola, Mozambique, and Sudan. He is the Founder and Director of Frontline Fellowship and the Director of United Christian Action. He has authored numerous publications, in particular he has written Holocaust in Rwanda, Faith Under Fire in Sudan, In the Killing Fields of Mozambique and Putting Feet to Your Faith. He is the editor of both Frontline Fellowship News and UCANEWS. He can be reached at:
PO Box 74
Tel: (011-27-21) 689-4480
Fax: (011-27-21) 685-5884
E-mail: [email protected].
- Peter Hammond
Dr. Peter Hammond is a missionary who has pioneered evangelistic outreaches in the war zones of Angola, Mozambique and Sudan. Peter is the Founder and Director of Frontline Fellowship and the Director of United Christian Action. He has authored numerous publications, in particular he has written Holocaust in Rwanda, Faith Under Fire in Sudan, In the Killing Fields of Mozambique, Putting Feet to Your Faith and Renaissance or Reformation. He is the editor of both Frontline Fellowship News and UCANEWS. Peter is married to Lenora and they have been blessed with four children: Andrea, Daniela, Christopher, and Calvin.