Eight church leaders are facing criminal charges over a law that puts all church properties under the control of the government. These eight leaders of the Sudanese Church of Christ (SCOC) — including its president, Ayouba Telyan — were arrested in August 2017 after refusing to turn over control of their church’s property to a government-appointed committee. Charges included criminal trespassing and illegal possession of property.
Being a predominantly Nubian denomination, the SCOC has frequently faced religious and ethnic discrimination. Despite the unjust treatment, the charges were initially dismissed in August 2018. In his ruling, the judge said that this issue was an administrative dispute and not criminal in nature. However, government officials appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court. In the high court’s decision on 7 October, it was decided that there were grounds for a criminal case and the trial was to proceed.
This court ruling comes one month after the appointment of Sudan’s new transitional government led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. Government ministers have demonstrated positive signs that freedom of religion may be allowed.
Sources: Christian Solidarity Worldwide, World Watch Monitor
- Pray for the strength of the church leaders as they endure this time of trial.
- Pray that there will be a favourable political move towards religious freedom in Sudan.
- Pray the church leaders and members will operate with wisdom and discretion as they reach out to those around them with the message of the Gospel.
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On the afternoon of Wednesday 10 October officers from Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) arrested 13 Christians who had gathered for fellowship in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur State. Ten of the believers were from Darfur and three from South Kordofan; they belong to four different house churches; all are converts from Islam. Three of the believers were released shortly after, without explanation. The NISS, which is notoriously hard-line Islamist, has authority to detain ‘suspects’ for up to four-and-half months without charges. Sources told Morning Star News (MSN) that the authorities were targeting converts from Islam in Darfur who were routinely detained, threatened and tortured to recant.
Eleven days later, on Sunday 21 October, all but one of the remaining Christians were released. Darfuri church leader and evangelist, Tajaldin Idriss Yousif, was released on Monday 22 October. A source told MSN: “All of them were said to be tortured by NISS and are in bad shape. One of them is said to be in a critical condition owing to torture. He is said to have been vomiting and bleeding. He was rushed to a hospital, but he was not attended to by the physicians in that hospital.” Sources report that authorities have threatened to charge Tajaldin Idriss Yousif with the capital crime of apostasy, as well as with public disturbance and crimes against the state.
Since the 2011 secession of South Sudan, the NCP-led GoS has redoubled its efforts to fully Arabise and Islamise Sudan. It is no wonder that Sudan is now ranked fourth on the watch list of countries where it is most difficult to live as a Christian.
Source: Christians Faith and Freedom
- Pray for Sudan: “Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the humble.” Psalm 10:12 (NKJV).
- Pray that God will comfort, encourage and lead the Church in Darfur; may believers not be fearful or discouraged.
- Pray for God’s provision and guidance for our brothers and sisters in Sudan.
In April 2017, a group of Christians had gathered to prevent the confiscation and sale of a church-owned school in Omdurman. The three-day protest ended when police arrested several men.
Soon afterwards, an armed mob attacked the women remaining at the scene. Several men rushed to aid these women, and in the mayhem, a church elder named Younan Abdullah was tragically killed.
In the days and months that followed, many of the Christians who were arrested have been either released or fined. On 11 April 2018, a court ordered that four of those men be charged with causing physical harm to police and supporters of the Muslim businessman who was attempting to take control of the church-owned school property.
If convicted, each of the accused could face up to six months in prison and a fine. The lawyer representing them is hopeful that the outcome will result in no more than a fine. The names of those charged are Azhari Tumbara, Muna Matta, George Adam and Kudi Abderhman.
Source: Morning Star News
- Commit to the Lord the accused men and their lawyer. Pray they will trust in God for the outcome.
- May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7), guard the hearts and minds of these believers and others throughout Sudan who are facing ongoing pressure from the government.
- Ask the Lord to help His followers to be faithful witnesses, so many will experience His love and saving grace.
“Collect some wood!” the soldiers snarled. Young James Jeda assumed that the soldiers were about to cook their dinner. Earlier that day, he had watched, horrified, as the radical Muslim soldiers killed his parents and four siblings in Southern Sudan. They spared James only to use him as a worker.
When the fire was well lit, James was surprised and terrified when they suddenly grabbed him, and he tried to flee. But the soldiers were too strong, and soon they had tied his hands and feet.
“Good news for you, young one,” said a soldier. “We are going to let you live. But you must join us by becoming a Muslim.”
“I cannot become a Muslim,” James said simply. “I am a Christian.” Infuriated by the young boy’s faith, the soldiers picked him up and hurled him into the fire. They packed up their gear and left the area, assuming James would die.
Young James didn’t die. He managed to roll out of the fire and find help.
Doctors were able to save James’s life, but he will always carry reminders of that day. His body bears skin grafts and scar tissue, and one arm is partially deformed by the burns. In heaven, those scars will be honor bars, a reminder of the day when James Jeda refused to turn his back on Christ.
Most people are suckers for souvenirs. One can hardly make it through the gauntlet of gift shops at an airport or train station without succumbing to the temptation to buy a memento of the trip’s experience. But what is there to remind us of our most significant life experience—our commitment to Christ? Some will look at their paycheck and remember the promotion they declined because they were not willing to compromise their morals. Others, upon seeing a public school classroom, will recall where they first learned what it was like to be persecuted. Still others will see a gravestone of a believer and be reminded of the meaning of commitment. These “souvenirs” are infinitely significant reminders of the price of faith in Jesus Christ.
Story from our daily devotional book. For more info go to https://vom.com.au/shop/books/extreme-devotion-with-study-guide-voice-of-the-martyrs/
Since early September, Christian children are being denied food in Sudan’s refugee camps unless they recite Islamic prayers.
A mission aid worker at the camp reports: “The majority [of children] are left in camps, some in a very terrible situation. They are confined in those places. Thus, they are given the choice to starve or they are conditioned to say Islamic prayers before [being] given food. This is not right. These children are Christian. They should be respected for that.”
Since the outbreak of the 2013 civil war in South Sudan, over 700,000 refugees were driven north into Sudan, and almost one million more have fled south across Uganda’s open borders. As a result, many of these refugees ─ most of whom are Christians ─ have experienced additional hardships at the hands of Islamic militants who have taken advantage of their vulnerable situation.
In addition, the government of Sudan continues to sabotage the Christian church and aid organisations in their attempts to efficiently assist these South Sudanese Christian refugees. Sudan has repeatedly, wantonly, and wilfully carried out a discriminatory strategy to hamper the Christian church and religious charitable efforts through the re-zoning, confiscation and destruction of their properties.
Sources: American Center for Law and Justice, The Christian Post
- Pray those in authority may be made aware of the situation and put a stop to this practise of discrimination. Pray the good work of aid organisations will not be hampered.
- Pray these children and their families will receive basic necessities for their physical health and well-being, but also opportunities to feed daily on the Word of God (Matthew 4:4) so they can grow strong and healthy spiritually.
- Pray the Lord’s provision as well as the children’s love for the Lord and their faithfulness to Him will be a powerful witness to the Gospel.