Growth in South Sudan
Posted on July 05, 2022
I recently spent a week serving as a lecturer in South Sudan and, as always, it was a wonderful opportunity be hands-on in the important work we are doing in extremely impoverished communities.
Nothing gets me more excited than teaching young pastors and leaders in the hard places of the world—leaders like Mario, who you’ll meet below. Mario is one of over 80 ministry leaders in South Sudan who are currently enrolled in our year-long certificate program.
By the end of the program, these leaders will be equipped with a strong foundation in Biblical Interpretation, the Old Testament, the New Testament, Introduction to Theology, Ministry Leadership, The Church and Community Transformation, and more. The curriculum is demanding, and it is taught by qualified and experienced instructors. Students are assessed on each course—and they are motivated to learn.
Some of the students—like Mario—dream of continuing their studies. They hope to earn one of the scholarships that Global Action will award in coming years to an outstanding leader to study for their university degree.
Because Global Action is working in the hard places like South Sudan, young leaders like Mario are given a chance they would have never had otherwise. You make this possible! Your partnership is bringing lasting transformation to hard places like South Sudan. Thank you!
For the world,
Executive Vice President
P.S. Watch the video below for a glimpse into my time in South Sudan and to meet another one of our students!
Mario’s contagious smile makes him stand out in a crowd. He is young, about 22 years old, and he is a natural leader. Students were always talking to Mario before and after class, and he seemed to lead the way in break-out discussions, even among his older peers. “He always wanted to stand around me at tea breaks and talk,” Lionel recalled.
Mario has never been to college. He grew up in the Darfur, a region infamous for the genocide that took place there in the early 2000’s. Like most young men his age, he has witnessed civil war firsthand.
Civil war in South Sudan has made it one of the poorest countries in the world. The UN ranks it at the bottom of countries in the world using the Human Development Index (HDI), which is used to measure things like life expectancy, income level, access to health care, food security, and political stability.
But even living in one of the poorest countries in the world, Mario is no different than any other young man who dreams of doing something special with his life. He is now a youth pastor, and he wants to become a senior pastor someday. He dreams of bringing about change in his country.
Mario rode to class on the back of a “boda-boda,” or what we would call a motorcycle. The name boda-boda is derived from an earlier period in African history, when motorcycles were used to quickly transport refugees (who could afford to pay the fare) from “border to border” between countries. It took him 3 hours to get to class, covering roads that are impassable for most cars.
“What I remember most about Mario,” Lionel shared, “was he sat there in class and hung on every word of my lectures. He hardly took his eyes off me.” The only time Mario expressed mild frustration was when a few students wanted a translator; he agreed out of love for his peers, but lamented that it would slow things down—and he wanted to learn all he could.
When asked how the classes are helping him, Mario smiled. “It has changed my life. I have gained a greater faith in the Word of God, and it will help me in the way I preach and teach in the local church.”
Like many of the students, Mario doesn’t want to “get out” of his country. He wants to prepare himself spiritually and intellectually to serve in one of the hardest places in the world: his own community. He wants to do all he can to help, and to see the people of South Sudan transformed through the gospel of Jesus Christ, just as he has been.
South Sudan at a Glance
-80+ students are attending our established classes in Tonj and Yirol.
-We are prayerfully preparing to open a third class in the capital city, Juba.
-Classes are taught by Egyptian teachers in Arabic and English.
-Although most students speak fluent English, the teachings are also translated into Dinka for those who need it.