Distance Learning at a Time of Social Distancing
April 15, 2020
April 2020 Newsletter: Distance Learning at a Time of Social Distancing
April 15, 2020

They Make the Valley of Tears a Place of Springs

Mike Kuhn shares about God’s work through the Sudanese Church

The Church in Sudan is not wasting time. They venture to unreached areas with the gospel. They distribute Bibles. They actively seek to further the Kingdom. They did not cower when religious freedom was limited. Outnumbered yet not outfought, the ripples of their faith continue to widen in the country. From March 7 to 13, Mike Kuhn visited Sudan and met several of our graduates. Mike and his wife Stephanie left to the States in 2018 after having served with us for six years. During his time in Lebanon, Mike had served as an Assistant Professor in Discipleship and Biblical Theology at ABTS and now he continues to be part of our adjunct faculty.

Could you share with us about your current ministry?

Even when I was at ABTS, I was with a mission called World Outreach, and part of that is the International Theological Education Network (ITEN). Since leaving Lebanon and coming back to the US, I have continued working with ITEN. This group partners with indigenous training movements. Sometimes they are academic movements; sometimes they are church based. We are trying to partner in effective ways with leadership development for churches that are working among the least reached people. That is why I went to Sudan.

How was your trip to Sudan, and what did you do there?

This was my first time to Sudan, so the people there helped me understand the situation better. They were so kind to welcome me as their guest. The fact that I speak Arabic and the fact that I have a background of many years in Egypt and North Africa helped a lot. Talal [ABTS graduate] was my guide and my host. He helped me and my colleague meet the different leaders in Sudan.

While we were there, we met with several training movements and seminaries including a wonderful visionary group called Faith Institute, who train people from different denominations. The Church in Sudan gives me much hope. It is very active despite the political developments and the economic situation.

How did you see the fruit of theological training in the Sudanese leaders you once taught?

I saw some of my former students and other ABTS graduates I had never taught like Pastor Hafez Fessaha of Bahri Evangelical church. ABTS should really feel gratified because many ABTS graduates are scattered throughout Sudan.

These people are ministering in diverse ways. Habil, for instance, is ministering in the Anglican Church. He’s involved in pastoral leadership and training. Fouad is an Evangelist in his church and remains active in leading worship. Sam is hoping to serve in the Nuba Mountains. Makki is waiting for the Lord’s open door, but while he waits, he’s involved in the local church. Hanna and Nabila continue to teach and disciple actively. ABTS is really fulfilling its vision, and these Sudanese are ministering in the churches very humbly. They are taking leadership roles in their local churches and enriching the ministry there. I was extremely proud of ABTS and grateful that I had those years teaching there – and that I remain associated with ABTS.

Talal asked us to share with his discipleship group. He takes 25 different students through intensive discipleship. He doesn’t do all the teaching; he has different pastors and leaders teaching on different topics. What I saw there in Talal was the value of shared leadership, the value of academic excellence, the value of interdenominational ministry, and the value of discipleship and forming leaders.

What are some of the most exciting things about God’s work in Sudan?

Sudan is in a three-year transition to democratic elections. Of course, during the former regime, the church suffered in different ways. Much of the church property was taken – not just by the regime, but the instability in the country proliferated land disputes.

The faithfulness of the Church, though they are a tiny minority, encouraged me most. These Christians are building their ministries and reaching out with the gospel. I heard many stories of non-Christians coming to Christ through them. They were an example to me. I think they can be an example to Christians in America and in Lebanon.

I heard there is fruitful ministry in Darfur, a part of Sudan that suffered during recent conflicts. As Christians serve them, they begin to understand that Jesus came to set the captive free. The Church has a great potential to be a light – a source of human rights and equality in Sudan. I think it’s a moment of hope for Darfur, and a moment of hope for Sudan.

Do you have prayers or hopes for the ministry in Sudan?

What the Sudan Church needs is trained leaders who are not just academic leaders but also ministry leaders. Their heart is in ministry. I think ABTS is uniquely positioned to do that because of all those Sudanese graduates. My prayer is that Lebanon and ABTS will continue and even be a greater blessing to Sudan.

We praise God that we had the opportunity to equip and to learn from these Sudanese church leaders. We are humbled at how an Unlimited God uses limited people to accomplish His great work. We pray that our Sudanese students continue to be salt and light to their communities.