SOUTH SUDAN: The World’s Newest Nation Emerges from Africa’s Longest War

God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise. – 1 Cor 1:27a

On July 9, 2011, the six-year interim period of Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement will come to an end. That same day, South Sudan will mark its independence and inauguration as the world’s newest nation.

The people of South Sudan have reason to celebrate their recent independence!

This comes following fifty years of war, persecution, genocide, and slavery by Arab-Islamist elites in Khartoum who have sought to dominate the African south ever since independence from Egypt and Great Britain on January 1, 1956.

The first war, which broke out in 1955 between the North and South just prior to independence, lasted until a peace was brokered in 1972. The 1972 Addis Ababa Agreement fell apart in 1983 when President Nimiery reneged on promises of autonomy for the South, and the country plunged back into war.

More than two million Southern Sudanese (mostly Christians) died in the most recent war – Anyanya II – which ended in January, 2005 with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Another five million people were uprooted from their homes and made internal refugees.

The strategy of the National Islamic Front – now National Congress Party – in the capitol of Khartoum, has always been to marginalize and divide the people of the South in order to rape, plunder, and spoil the land of its people and resources.

Omar al-Bashir is President of Sudan and the head of the National Congress Party.

Rather than enriching its citizens, Sudan’s oil, gold, gum arabic, timber, water, and wildlife have been squandered by the “Lords of War” for more than half a century.

During the 23-year war, five million refugees were left homeless in their own country.

After a brief period of peace during the 1970s, war began again in 1983 and was worse than before. But through the persecution, Christianity spread even more. Ironically, many Southern Sudanese came to Christ because they wanted to know the Person in whose Name they were persecuted.

Though ill-equipped, the South Sudanese army successfully resisted the advances of the North.

Tertullian’s famous quote “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church” is certainly true in Southern Sudan. The church in Sudan has been described as one of the fastest-growing churches in Africa.

A burned Bible found on the ground during the war is evidence of the relentless attack against Christianity in Sudan.

Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement was remarkable in many ways, not the least of which was the dissolution of the National Islamic Front’s “Islamic State” and the inauguration of Dr. John Garang, the first Sudanese Christian First Vice President. Now with the results of the historic Referendum for Self-Determination, we are witnessing the emergence of a Christian-led democratic nation birthed from within a collapsed Islamic state.

PPF President, Brad Phillips, with the late Dr. John Garang, the first Southerner - and Christian - to be Vice President of Sudan.

The birth of the Republic of South Sudan has been reported by many commentators as the fall of the Islamist “Berlin Wall” of Northern Africa.

In the February 28 edition of Newsweek Magazine, Sudan expert John Prendergast attributed “the breeze of freedom from South Sudan” as “a gale force wind” that was felt in Egypt.

All of these momentous changes throughout the Arab world have been credited by many experts to have been sparked by a backwater area of the world, inhabited by people the Arabs derogatorily refer to as “Abd” (meaning slave).

Yet it is these same people the Arab world considers “foolish” that God has used to “confound the wise.”

Over the years, Persecution Project Foundation has introduced you to some of the Sudanese heroes of the Faith who have suffered great persecution simply because they were Christians.

You may recall the story of Joseph, a young boy in Northern Aweil who was abducted, enslaved, and survived torture and crucifixion.

Joseph, the crucified boy.

Or Leah, a young blind girl who was beaten, raped, and left for dead by a marauding band of Popular Defense Force Troops while she was attending church at her home village of Bandura in the Nuba mountains.

Leah and her daughter.

Or Deng Deng, a small boy of less than 10 years who was abducted, enslaved, and eventually had both hands chopped off by his master.

Deng Deng

These persecuted brothers and sisters have inspired us with their courage and faith.

Burned tukel - Homes of Christians in South Sudan were burned in the campaigns to rid Sudan of the 'infidels'.

It has been a great privilege to stand alongside a very heroic people during part of their journey from slavery to freedom.

When I first visited Southern Sudan, even as everyone prayed for deliverance from the oppressive regime in Khartoum, no one would have believed this day would come so soon. By God’s mercy, as members of the same family, we have been able to witness this historic transformation.

Now, we must continue to work hard and pray that this hard-fought political freedom will be accompanied by true spiritual freedom, because we know that “where the spirit of the Lord is there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).

The fact that South Sudan is a free nation is cause for great celebration. Our hope and prayer is that South Sudan indeed becomes the “Berlin Wall” of Radical Islam, and its example continues to spread to other countries.

Your support of the Persecution Project Foundation has enabled us to minister to our persecuted brethren in the most neglected and restricted areas of Sudan.

Whether it has been through raising awareness, providing clean water, or medicine, or food, or Bibles, or pastoral training, your compassion and sacrificial giving to PPF have played a significant role in helping South Sudan emerge as the world’s newest nation – a nation where Christians can worship freely without fear of persecution.

Our desire is to continue to stand with our brothers and sisters in South Sudan as they begin this new chapter in their walk with the Lord. And I would ask you to continue your walk with PPF.

Today may be a day of celebration. But the work has just begun. Thank you for continuing to stand with this ministry and these people.

6 Comments (Add Yours)

  1. “..our God whom we serve is able to deliver…” (Daniel 3:17)

    Wow! Thank you, Brad Phillips, Ed Lyons, and the rest of the PPF staff, for your perseverance, and compassion for God’s people in Sudan. It is evident that the love of Jesus Christ compels your work. His redeeming love and costly sacrifice is mirrored in these pictures. Thank you for posting this! How powerful and beautiful is your attitude that the Lord holds Sudan in His hands. When you glorify Him even out of the fiery trials of unmet needs and physical persecution, you have no idea what He can do through your faithfulness.

    Just want you to know that every morning,5 days a week, I join five other believers to praise God for PPF, and intercede on your behalf. It was encouraging to read you are a four-star charity, and the pictures of Leah, Deng Deng, and Joseph stir my heart.

    Thank you!

    – Cate Smith

  2. “..our God whom we serve is able to deliver…” (Daniel 3:17)

    Wow! Thank you, Brad Phillips, Ed Lyons, and the rest of the PPF staff, for your perseverance, and compassion for God’s people in Sudan. It is evident that the love of Jesus Christ compels your work. His redeeming love and costly sacrifice is mirrored in these pictures. Thank you for posting this! How powerful and beautiful is your attitude that the Lord holds Sudan in His hands. When you glorify Him even out of the fiery trials of unmet needs and physical persecution, you have no idea what He can do through your faithfulness.

    Just want you to know that every morning,5 days a week, I join five other believers to praise God for PPF, and intercede on your behalf. It was encouraging to read you are a four-star charity, and the pictures of Leah, Deng Deng, and Joseph stir my heart.

    Thank you!

    – Cate Smith

  3. Also, I repost these links to my facebook/twitter account – the quality of your website and writing makes them a joy to share!

  4. Also, I repost these links to my facebook/twitter account – the quality of your website and writing makes them a joy to share!

  5. Jesus has truly blessed these individuals and I strongly feel that everyone should lend a hand to our BROTHERS IN CHRIST. It is amazing how our Lord works and I will keep these newly liberated Christians in my prayers forever.

  6. Jesus has truly blessed these individuals and I strongly feel that everyone should lend a hand to our BROTHERS IN CHRIST. It is amazing how our Lord works and I will keep these newly liberated Christians in my prayers forever.

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