One of the most effective training programmes in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) is also one of the least known, according to OM MENA Area Leader Christopher*. For the last six years—since 2012 when the split between Sudan and South Sudan forced OMers serving in the north to leave—former OM Field Leader Eliyah* (forced to flee Sudan after threats to his family) has been operating a six-month church planting training course for Sudanese believers out of North Africa. Up to 73 people have travelled from Sudan to complete the training; half have continued to put into practice what they’ve learnt upon their return home.

The training programme is producing “high quality church planters,” Christopher noted. “Now we’ve said, ‘Let’s make them officially OMers.’”

There are currently four OMers serving in Sudan, with dozens of partners participating in evangelism, church planting and peer-to-peer training. The network of believers in Sudan—which includes the small but growing OM team—has started church planting ministries in 10 governorates in Sudan until now, and hopes to have teams in all 18 governorates in Sudan.

“Our dream [by] 2020 is to cover the whole country,” Eliyah shared.

“Basically, what they’re doing is using media contacts, using contacts on the street, going 100 per cent for church planting, [using] the house church model, and at the same time, pulling in other believers, mobilising them and training them to do the same,” Christopher summarised. The believers host weekend trainings in Sudan for university students, teaching them how to answer Muslims’ most common questions about Jesus Christ and how to focus on discipleship and church planting in their context.

In addition to the six-month church planting training for Sudanese men, Eliyah also coordinates two-week programmes in North Africa for Sudanese women. In 2017, around 20 women completed the training—receiving intensive input and then returning to Sudan. “One of the biggest unreached people groups inside Sudan is ladies,” Eliyah stated. “It is not easy to reach out to them, but we are so happy we had the group of ladies come and have the training. We had a new group come in July.”

OM backs Eliyah’s training programmes in North Africa by providing financial support and encouragement. As Eliyah and other Sudanese leaders continue to train and recommend additional church planters, Christopher expects the OM team in Sudan will grow: “I could imagine by the end of this year that we could have 10 to 12 OMers there.”

When it came to financial support for the fresh batch of OMers in Sudan, Christopher wanted to go new ways, avoiding long-term financial dependency on Western donors. So he asked the new team members for a creative solution.

They suggested a variety of small business initiatives, each requiring roughly 5,000 USD in start-up costs, including purchasing a handful of tuk-tuks, simple motorbike taxis common in developing countries, and starting a coffee shop, complete with a large screen for airing popular sporting events. “They have very good ideas,” Christopher affirmed. The coffee shop, for example, “would give them an amazing nice platform to have people over and build relationships there”; tuk-tuks, of course, would allow the drivers to be “together with people on the street all day long.”

Samir*, an OMer who heads up the movement in Sudan, received the first OM-sponsored tuk-tuk in January 2018. This and other income-generating projects provide the OMers clear identities in their communities, as well as the financial support necessary for long-term sustainability.

So far, “there is fruit,” stated Eliyah, who keeps in regular contact with the team in Sudan through messaging applications. One man heard the gospel from team members and became a believer. Afterwards, the rest of his family also began following Jesus. Other Sudanese believers, upon finishing the six-month training programme in North Africa, returned to their country, shared the gospel and reported that “some people really accepted Jesus. They’re doing discipleship with them [now],” Eliyah affirmed.

Believers in Sudan form house churches of four to five people, Eliyah estimated, meeting together for prayer and fellowship. In North Africa, trainees have also been reaching out to the Sudanese population. In 2018, church planting trainees were discipling 15-16 new Sudanese Muslim background believers (MBBs) within two months of the programme starting.

Eliyah is strategic about the people who join the training. In March 2018, 14 men from an unreached area of Sudan came to participate. “It’s not an easy time, especially for the church in north Sudan,” Eliyah stated. “Pray for the guys to do ministry safely. Also pray for the new believers. I hope that… MBBs start believing and go and talk with their families. I hope to see that in different areas, especially among this [unreached] group.”

*Name changed for security

Nicole James is a world traveller and writer for OM International. She’s passionate about partnering with believers to communicate the ways God is working across the globe.

Share this Resource

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on print

Leave a Reply

You might also like:

Hope for MENA – Medical Outreach North Africa    Go & Visit    3 July 2021 - 15 July 2021The purpose of this outreach is providing prayer, educational, spiritual and medical support for the refugee children and their families.The days of the outreach can be extended upon request.
Full Details
Sports Ministry North Africa    Go & Live    As soon as possibleSports fields of all kinds are at the centre of every community around the world, filled with people competing and sharing life together. We believe every sports field can become a harvest field for discipleship and generate hope for families and communities through the transforming love of Jesus Christ. We want to see athletes and coaches, local churches and communities make the most of sports through sharing Christ in relational and relevant ways, such as hosting community sports activities, engaging in sports leagues, training coaches and athletes in applying biblical principles to sports, and much more.
If you have a passion for sports and a passion to bring the gospel to those who have never heard before, come find your fit with OM.

Full Details
Refugee Medical Outreach North Africa    Go & Visit    2 June 2021 - 15 June 2021The purpose of this outreach is providing prayer, educational, spiritual and medical support for the refugee children and their families.The days of the outreach can be extended upon request.
Full Details
Refugee Medical Outreach North Africa    Go & Visit    19 June 2021 - 30 June 2021The purpose of this outreach is providing prayer, educational, spiritual and medical support for the refugee children and their families.The days of the outreach can be extended upon request.
Full Details
Restoring Hope for Refugee Children North Africa    Go & Visit    3 July 2021 - 15 July 2021Ministering to poor refugee children and providing quality basic and Biblical education. (Optional extension)
Full Details
Amazing Race Outreach Adventure North Africa    Go & Visit    3 August 2021 - 15 August 2021Interacting with the locals with creative ways and sharing the Good News through friendship. (Optional extension available)
Full Details
Arts Ministry North Africa    Go & Live    As soon as possibleWe are looking for people gifted in any area of the arts to come and be a part of a church planting team specifically reaching artists.  These are artist in the field of painting/drawing, dancing, theatre, music, media and more.  Come use your gifts to connect with others in your field, build friendships and share the gospel through your unique arts gifting!
Full Details
Church Planter North Africa    Go & Live    As soon as possibleSince our beginnings, we have been driven by a deep conviction that everyone should have the opportunity to hear the gospel at least once. Sadly, there are still thousands of peoples and communities that have never heard about Jesus, ever. We are looking for people with a passion for Jesus and a passion to see vibrant communities of Jesus followers established among the least reached. We focus on evangelism, discipleship and church planting among those who have never yet heard of Christ. Do you share this passion and want to be involved in either pioneering or joining church planting initiatives? If so, we are looking for you, and many more like you, to join us.
Full Details
Hope for MENA – Refugee Children Outreach North Africa    Go & Visit    19 July 2021 - 30 July 2021Ministering to poor refugee children and their families.
Full Details
Restoring Hope for Refugee Children North Africa    Go & Visit    19 June 2021 - 30 June 2021Ministering to poor refugee children and providing quality basic and Biblical education. (Optional extension)
Full Details
CUBE – Refugee Outreach and Ministry Training North Africa    Go & Visit    3 July 2021 - 30 July 2021An intensive one month program - empowering believers to be effective in cross-cultural ministry. Upon request it can be extended up to two months.
Full Details
Team Member North Africa    Go & Live    As soon as possibleYoung adults in the Middle East and North Africa are starting to be more and more disillusioned by religion, seeking truth and love elsewhere than in Islam. No one is better to reach this group than peers from within the same generation. You can be part of reaching the least reached of your generation in the Middle East, while learning Arabic and experience the Arab world from the inside.
Full Details