Amina* was nearing the due date for her first child when the military conflict started in Sudan on 15 April 2023. At a critical stage of pregnancy when a mother’s nutrition and mental wellbeing are crucial for her unborn baby’s development, Amina suddenly lost access to drinking water, food supplies and, alarmingly, a hospital where she could give birth.
In the midst of the crisis devastating Khartoum and other cities in Sudan, local OM team members rallied around Amina, helping her and her husband, an OM team leader, relocate to a more secure area where she could receive life-saving medical care, culminating in an emergency caesarean delivery of her baby.
The team also used funds, donated by concerned believers around the world, to facilitate the relocation of eight families out of Khartoum and provide first aid, medicine and food to others who had been displaced. This assistance has been vital for the people they have been able to help. But it is a tiny fraction of what is needed.
Clinging to God's Word
At the beginning of June 2023, less than two months since heavy fighting broke out in Sudan between rivalling military forces, the BBC reported that more than half of the country’s population needed humanitarian aid and protection, according to UN estimates.
OM’s entire team of 131 people in Sudan have been accounted for at the time of writing, though all are affected by the crisis, including suffering from lack of access to basic food items, water and medicine as well as skyrocketing prices for essentials. At least one team member has been a victim of looting — an increasing threat as security continues to decline, particularly in Khartoum.
The OM leader for the MENA region, who has kept in contact with team members on the ground, described the situation: “The fighting in Sudan is not coming to an end, but rather intensifying, and in some places turning into tribal conflict as well. In spite of political efforts and promises, there is no solution visible in reality yet – rather, things are getting ever more complicated. The humanitarian situation is catastrophic by now… The suffering of people is truly heartbreaking.”
With close to two million people displaced since the beginning of the crisis, border cities in Sudan have been overrun by tens of thousands seeking safety. Khartoum, Darfur and other conflict areas have become unrecognisable: the crumbling frames of destroyed markets, factories and banks now defining their landscapes. Hospitals have been locked down. Churches have been destroyed, their furniture looted and burnt.
OM team members are clinging to God’s Word for support, including Isaiah 41:10: “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (ESV).
In these difficult times, the OM teams have recognised an open door for outreach. Though the scope of suffering is unprecedented in Sudan’s recent history, extensive humanitarian needs across the country existed before the fighting broke out. Some team members had already been providing aid to those most in need. “Relief experience has helped us to distinguish the people most in need of assistance and those most affected. And we learnt that in difficult and tough times, God is always working,” one team member said.
Their history of relief work, along with the teams’ widespread locations across Sudan, allowed them to immediately activate as the current crisis unfolded. Along with providing a tangible expression of God’s love, giving aid helps Jesus followers form relationships with people, the team explained. Through these relationships, they can share the hope that sustains them throughout times of trouble.
“Many people began to doubt the Islamic religion,” shared a Sudanese team member. “They became open to hear the message of salvation, and we saw some people became followers of Jesus.”
At the same time, almost half a million Sudanese have fled into the surrounding countries. The main streams of refugees are arriving in Egypt, Chad and South Sudan. OM workers and partners in countries bordering Sudan have already started to reach out to Sudanese refugees, listening to their stories and providing practical support.
- For real, lasting peace. Pray that followers of Jesus Christ will be peace makers on all levels in this situation.
- For the team in Sudan: Not only for their physical protection and needs but also for the protection of their souls.
- For a major movement to Christ among Muslims in Sudan.
- For the teams in border countries as they seek the Lord’s direction in ministering to Sudanese refugees.
- For the Sudan and MENA leadership, seeking the Lord’s direction and seeking for ways to help and be a blessing in this situation in the best possible way.
Give now to support the relief work being done in Sudan and amongst Sudanese refugees in bordering countries. To donate, visit www.om.org/eng/sudan-crisis.