The Price of Peace in Sudan
May 1, 2002 - Persecuted Christians in the African country of Sudan understand what it means to "put on the whole armor of God."(1) They live and die at the whim of a diabolical government. They have seen their churches bombed, their children enslaved, their villages strafed and their society ruined. They need and deserve our prayers and support.
by Franklin Graham
Two million people have perished during Sudan’s 19-year civil war, leaving a remnant of 5 to 7 million Christians in a country of 36 million. They have not suffered in vain, because, as Paul wrote, "Suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope."(2) We can be encouraged that the Church is thriving in a country that has harbored Osama bin Laden and continues to inflict terrorism against its own citizens. No other country that imposes Islamic law has such a strong Christian witness within its borders as does Sudan.
As much as the plight of Sudanese Christians breaks our hearts, the situation is not hopeless. The international campaign against terrorism has increased scrutiny of the government and complicit oil companies. Tribal factions in southern Sudan are unified as never before. A regional truce has opened the door for unprecedented Christian ministry in the strategic Nuba Mountains, where Samaritan’s Purse is deploying a DC-3 cargo plane to deliver food, seed and tractors. Leaders are describing this moment as a "window of opportunity" in achieving peace.
In my travels to Sudan I have met many Christians who are praying for peace. Yet they understand that a political compromise may not be the answer they wait for. They know that even if the bombing and slavery stopped today, they will not have true peace until they are free in public to worship Jesus Christ and witness to the Gospel. Any agreement on their behalf needs to provide religious freedom.
Their hope is in the Lord Jesus, who said, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."(3)