Population: 36 million (2013)
Major languages: Arabic, English
Major religions: Islam
IFES movement: Union of Bible Societies in Universities and Higher Institution of Sudan (name changed for security reasons)
After the independence of South Sudan in 2011, the Islamic government of Sudan declared Sudan to be an Islamic nation. It resulted in the immediate expulsion of all the foreign missionaries working in the country. They also confiscated churches properties – Union of Bible Societies lost all their properties – and security services arrested staff members many times. The situation forced them to change the strategy of ministry and even to rename the movement. At the time of writing, the General Secretary is still under arrest.
Union of Bible Societies
- 5 state universities, 2 private ones and a number of higher institutions
- 5 student movements throughout the campuses
- 4 full-time staff, 1 STEM (Short Term Experience in Ministry) and 2 volunteers
- graduate (associate) ministry
Since the separation with South Sudan, Union of Bible Societies has gone through a series of persecutions. However, that did not stop the ministry from bearing fruit, and the students continue to meet for fellowship in their different campuses. The leadership of the movement is really thankful to God for their boldness and commitment to the work of the gospel in such difficult situations. The main challengeremains the Islamic pressure. Christian students are not given places to worship and their faith is challenged every day.
View from the inside
Joseph Noel is the former General Secretary of Union of Bible Societies and the current General Secretary of FOCUS South Sudan. He says, ‘Sudan is going through really tough times and challenges. The Union of Bible Societies staff properties have all been confiscated by security services.They have nothing left. However, it hasn’tstopped the movement from serving God among the students. The General Secretary of Sudan was arrested in December 2015 and is still in prison.’
- for the few remaining staff to remain faithful and not to be overwhelmed by the situation and for the release of the General Secretary;
- that peace and justice will prevail in Sudan, especially in the main areas of conflict: Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile and Darfur;
- that the board will know how to address the complicated issues that student ministry in Sudan is facing.
- for Sudanese refugees all around the world.