Churches in South Sudan trained to help their neighbors

November 29, 2018 • South Sudan
Following a tragic fire, a local church helped Abuk and her children in part by building them this home.
Following a tragic fire, a local church helped Abuk and her children in part by building them this home.

Samaritan’s Purse programs help South Sudanese Christians to reach out in Jesus’ Name.

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Like millions of other South Sudanese, Abuk Athian Wol, 38, has endured terrible hardship.

When she was young, a disease left her right leg permanently disabled, her father died in war, and her mother passed away not long afterward. At age 23, Abuk was forced to marry a 52-year-old man who died shortly after she bore their first child. Common diseases also took the lives of a host of her other family members.

After receiving help from the church, Abuk accepted Christ as Savior and now radiates the joy of the Lord.

After receiving help from the church, Abuk accepted Christ as Savior and now radiates the joy of the Lord.

Now a mother of four, Abuk lost all her belongings in a house fire earlier this year. With no support system, Abuk was homeless, forced to beg for food to provide for her children.

Seeing her need, members from a local church in Aweil came to Abuk’s aid. The church had previously participated in the Samaritan’s Purse Church-based Discipleship Initiatives (CBDI) program that helps Christians learn how to identify and respond to needs in their communities without waiting for outside help.

“Samaritan’s Purse helped us see the church as the hands and feet of Jesus,” said Pastor John Athuai.

His church members decided to raise money to help Abuk, not just temporarily, but by offering sustainable support.

The church gave her money to open a small, roadside shop to sell peanut butter, fruits, and vegetables to generate income to support her family. Members also collected enough funds to surprise Abuk and her children with a suitable house.

“Who told you to rescue me?” Abuk asked the church members. “There have been Christians around me before but no one has helped me like this.”

“Samaritan’s Purse helped us see the church as the hands and feet of Jesus.”

The compassion shown by the church made an eternal difference for Abuk as she put her faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. She and her four children now worship at church every Sunday, and Abuk often invites her neighbors to join them.

“Thanks to these trainings from Samaritan’s Purse, we will not stop with this one need,” said Pastor John. “We are looking ahead at how we can address problems in our communities ourselves.”

Samaritan’s Purse Country Director Mark Bennett said, “When we hear of wonderful stories like this, it motivates and compels us to build on our partnerships with local churches in South Sudan, reminding us how capable the church is to love their neighbors, regardless of hardships.”

As a result of how God motivated them during their training from Samaritan’s Purse, members of the local church in Aweil came to the aid of Abuk and her family.

As a result of how God motivated them during their training from Samaritan’s Purse, members of the local church in Aweil came to the aid of Abuk and her family.

Since the CBDI program began in January, approximately 650 church members in South Sudan have received training. In addition, our Biblical Literacy and Discipleship (BiLD) program has been teaching South Sudanese how to read the Bible in their own language since 2015. The BiLD program also trains church and government leaders in servant leadership following Jesus’ example of humility in chapter two of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

Through programs like CBDI and BiLD, Samaritan’s Purse is working to support and strengthen local churches in South Sudan by teaching Biblical values of love and mercy, which is helping to change the dynamics of a country that has only known war.

Bennett said, “Churches are critical to the success of relief programs here, and we are grateful to equip and support them as they partner with us.”

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