September 2022 Newsletter: Look and See What the Lord Has Done
September 16, 2022
August 2022 Newsletter: How God is Working in the Most Difficult of Places
August 16, 2022

How God is Working in the Most Difficult of Places

During his time at ABTS, Awad, our 2020 graduate from South Sudan, was often a source of encouragement to his fellow students and to staff and faculty alike. Today, serving in one of the most unreached areas of South Sudan, where witchcraft and ancestor worship are common practice, Awad continues to reflect Christ and act as a source of encouragement, not only for the community in his village, but also for us here at ABTS.

Awad first came to ABTS in 2017 wanting to deepen his relationship with Christ and grow into a more effective minister. When we transitioned to the hybrid Integrated Theology Program in early 2020, Awad faced some obstacles in continuing his education while serving in South Sudan, especially with the lack of internet connection in his village and with how difficult transportation is in his area. Still, through the Lord’s grace and Awad’s perseverance, he was able to finish his degree and graduate later in 2020. Speaking about his time studying theology, Awad shared:
My experience studying at ABTS changed my life for the better. Before I went to seminary, I had difficulties with public speaking, which impacted my ability to serve with groups, and so I used to stick to outreach to individuals or small groups. At seminary, I learned how to lead services, give sermons, and tailor what I say to be relevant and suit my context. I’ve also learned to be gentle and empathetic when I approach others.
What Awad learned at seminary would later help him in his ministry. Awad had always felt called to reach out to others with the love of Jesus. When he began serving in his village after graduating, Awad had a vision to share the gospel with the unreached people in his community. “These areas do not have any churches,” shared Awad, “and people rely heavily on evil spirits.” He first started out by sharing the gospel with his family. Awad shared:
My father had initially been resistant to God. He would resort to witchcraft and praying to our ancestors for healing, but he experienced the healing power of Christ and changed. Now, he leads worship when I am away. My family used to pray around a pagan alter every day after dinner. When they came to Christ, I helped them learn how to pray. Now, after dinner, we pray to Christ and have a Bible study together.
Between May 2020 and June 2021, Awad and his ministry team carried out many home visits and shared the gospel in the area. As they sat with the people and prayed with them, many would experience Christ and come to faith. Soon, the ministry team began holding Bible studies, discipleship sessions, outreach meetings, and a children’s ministry, all under the trees in the fields of the village. Awad shared:
It was difficult at first, especially since people were so used to resorting to their gods and to black magic. With time, however, the Lord began to work miracles among the people. A lady who lived near the field where we gathered told us that the bird the sorcerers kept used to annoy the people in the area by making noises all night long, but since we started praying for the community, the bird stopped bothering them. The son of one of the elders in the area was sick and had almost gone blind. His father had tried all the sorcerers and witches but to no avail. We prayed for his son, and he experienced complete healing! The son is now one of the best singers in the worship team! I praise the Lord for His mercy!
On December 6, the ministry officially announced the founding of the church. By July 2021, a congregation was growing in Awoda village, and several members of the community wanted to be baptized, but the church did not have access to an outlet from the Nile River. “We waited till the rain came and filled up the ponds so we could have our baptisms,” shared Awad.

When Awad and his ministry team began to serve the community in Awoda village, they had reached out to the authorities and informed them that they intended to plant a church in the area. The authorities had welcomed the idea and gave the church a field in the village where they could gather and build their church, but the church could not afford to build a church building, so the congregation met under the trees. The Lord continued doing miracles among the community, and, through His grace, the congregation was able to build the first church in the area in early 2022! Talking about how the Lord has grown the ministry in Awoda village, Awad shared:
I thank the Lord for His providence and guidance. The past year has been full of blessings, despite all the hardships we have gone through. We recently began a children’s ministry for orphaned children who live in an orphanage in the village. We support their education and help them with clothes and relief aid. We began training and discipling young ministry leaders earlier this year so that they can take on ministerial responsibilities more effectively. We have also been focusing on outreach to five different areas around my village. We carry out the outreach ministry by gathering people and showing them a movie about Christ, which creates opportunities for us to share the gospel with them.
Of course, serving in South Sudan is not without its challenges. Telling us about the challenges, Awad explained:
Because people are so used to worshiping idols, it is not easy for them to transition to worshiping Christ as the only Lord and Savior. It takes a lot of prayer from the ministry team, and it takes time for the people to change their worshiping habits. Still, God is good and has been working miracles in the community. Another difficulty is the economic situation in the area. Many are underprivileged. This is why we launched a farming project where the crops we produce go to the families in the community. Anything we do not use we sell for extra funds when needed. The last challenge we face is with the literacy of the population. Because of the poor living conditions, many do not know how to write or read. So, we rely as much as possible on audio/visual Bible resources. The movie about Christ, for example, is a good way to communicate the gospel in this community.
We thank the Lord for using Awad to show His love to people in South Sudan and for allowing us to play a small part in Awad’s formation as a minister for the Kingdom. We ask you to lift up Awad and his ministry with us in prayer:
Please pray that the Lord works among the people in my village. Pray that He makes their hearts receptive to the gospel. We need to know how to help them become familiar with church worship. Pray also for the economic situation. Many children here go without education. Finally, pray for the ministry team, that we continue to grow in His grace as effective and purposeful servants of His will.