|Photo: Central Intelligence Agency|
Below is a recounting of the secession from Restricted Nations: Sudan, a short book which provides a brief history of the persecuted Church in Sudan through historical facts and personal narratives. May you be encouraged to remember our brothers and sisters in Sudan and South Sudan in your prayers in the years to come!
It was early morning, just a few hours after midnight. Voters were already gathered at the polls. Some were signing and chanting slogans – words of hope that this day, January 9, 2011, would begin a move toward the independence of South Sudan from the North after a prolonged period of civil war.
It is possible that Christian voters went to the polls with the widely reported threat of President Omar al-Bashir ringing in their ears – words of warning over what could happen in the aftermath of the vote. “If South Sudan secedes, we will change the constitution,” President al-Bashir said. “Shariah and Islam will be the main source for the constitution – Islam the official religion and Arabic the official language.”
In the days surrounding the vote, many Northern Christians fled to the South out of fear that President al-Bashir’s regime will shift toward “radical Islamization” in the wake of the referendum.
Just a little over a week later, on January 14, the voting process came to an end. It was decided: South Sudan would in fact become the world’s newest nation. Many greeted the news with great joy, seeing it as an answer to prayer. Yet, as many Sudanese Christians noted, it was also a cause to renew the fervent call for intercessory prayer as they looked forward to July 9, the day of official secession.
For those on either side of the new border, many challenges remain.
All the while, prayers for permanent peace for the Sudanese people continue to be lifted up. Still Sudan’s people long for true and lasting unity. Still God’s faithful children ask God to enable their witness to be made stronger, not weaker, by pressure and potential violence. Still God watches over this land, reigning in all His glory, authority, and sovereignty.
May the Church in both of these nations continue, together, to build on the century-long legacy of forsaking all in loving loyalty to Jesus Christ.To learn more about Sudan’s persecuted Church, click here. For more information about Restricted Nations: Sudan, click here.