One of the most exciting opportunities for HeartCry last year, 2019, was partnering with Brother Joseph Njuguna and the Pastors Conference that his radio ministry hosts in Aweil, South Sudan. Aweil is in northwestern South Sudan, near the Sudan border. Last year, over 800 rural pastors came to hear solid biblical teaching at the conference. HeartCry was able to send two pastors from Zambia and Kenya to teach in the conference.
This year, 2020, they had almost 1200 pastors in attendance! Thanks to the generosity of our donors, HeartCry has been privileged to help Joseph purchase and distribute Bibles to these rural pastors and their churches. Until now, it was common for an entire church to share only 1 or 2 Bibles. Here is Joseph’s encouraging report on this year’s Pastors Conference. Joseph even sent a short video, which can be viewed at the bottom of this article, to better show what God is doing in Aweil:
“By God’s grace and provision, we were able have a very good Pastors Conference this year. I would like to convey my heartfelt gratitude to the team at HeartCry for your support. Thank you again for the Bibles, and also for your willingness to send Pastor Benson from Zambia, even though he could not make it here this time. Since we had not been able to distribute all the Bibles donated by HeartCry to different churches, the Pastors Conference was a good forum in which to distribute all the remaining ones. We also received a few more Bibles from some of our friends, and together with the ones you donated, each pastor was able to receive at least one Bible. We also had enough to give out at the local military barracks, so that 400 troops each received a Bible.
My home church, Emmanuel Baptist Church in Nairobi, Kenya, was able to send us 2 Bible teachers. We also had 2 friends from Germany who agreed to come and teach at the conference. Their travels were difficult, but we are thankful that all of them made it in good time to be able to teach at the conference. Our friends from Germany also brought some reading glasses. More than 200 pastors received a pair of reading glasses! Without them, it becomes very difficult for them to read the Scriptures. Again this year, we taught them on what constitutes a healthy gospel-centered local church.
We had a total of 1,150 pastors that came to the conference. They were a little more than we were expecting, but we thank the Lord that He helped us manage, especially with feeding each one of them for the two days that they were with us. They are very content people and we are very thankful for them. Some of them slept inside church buildings that are close to us. Many of them slept outside under trees, without a mattress or blankets. We are thankful that it did not rain in the two days that we had the conference!
After the conference we had a whole day at the Lion Division’s army barracks, teaching the soldiers God’s word. We are very thankful for how God is opening their hearts to the Gospel. One of the high-ranking officers at the barracks stood up after the preaching of the word and started confessing all the atrocities that they (the soldiers) have committed in the ongoing civil war. He said that he is repenting and also asking others to repent. We pray that these will be good signs of true repentance, and that God will continue to work in their hearts.
We had been invited to teach at another army barracks about 80km west of us, but at the time of the conference the roads were so bad that we could not travel the whole of that distance. Part of the road had been completely washed away by overflowing rivers.
This month these pastors who attended our October conference have been coming back with money to support our ministry here. They are committed to see that they cover all fuel costs and generator repair costs, as well as payment for our local staff for the entire year. We praise God for their commitment to give and serve alongside us.
- That God may use the truths taught by the various conference speakers to mature these pastors.
- That they will conform their ways of worship and church leadership to God’s ways.
- That the Lord will continue providing Bibles and other resources so they can study God’s word in depth.
- That God will continue to use our radio programs to equip the pastors for every good work.
- For peace in this country. There is still a lot of fighting in many parts of the country.
- We would like to build our first Pastor’s Library in the region, here in Aweil East, where pastors can come read and study. Pray that the Lord will provide for this.”
Coordinator’s Note: HeartCry is now in the planning stages with Joseph to purchase more Dinka New Testaments, and full English and Arabic Bibles for those who can read them. Plans are also in the works to print Paul Washer’s workbooks locally, as well as a Dinka translation of Paul’s booklet ‘The Gospel of Jesus Christ.’ Please pray that the Lord would bring these plans to fruition as a blessing to these pastors. (S.R.)
Before his current role at HeartCry, Robert served several years in pastoral ministry, and a few years in Zambia, Africa as a missionary. He is also a veteran of the Marine Corps. Robert and his wife have been blessed with 3 children and 4 grandchildren. They live near Christiansburg, VA in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains, where he enjoys deer hunting and fly-fishing for trout.More By Robert Shepherd