In 1989 Sudanese Colonel Omar al-Bashir led a coup against the president of Sudan. Shortly after he began to institute Islamic Sharia law and took his armies into the largely Christian Sudanese south in order to enforce his will. War raged for the next fifteen years. One of the effects was the suffering in Darfur, western Sudan. A peace accord was finally reached in 2005 that allowed for a referendum to take place in the south so that they could vote to become an independent country. On January 9th that vote will take place. It is a vote that has huge global implications as well as great implications for the Christians in northern and southern Sudan.
I have some friends who live in Sudan. They are wonderful followers of Christ who have put everything on the line in order to honor the Lord. They and other Christians in Sudan have been asking Christians around the world to pray for their country. They are asking for safety. They are asking that the outcome of the vote be honored by the north. They are asking that Christians who live in the north will be safe after the vote.
Colonel al-Bashir eventually made himself the President of Sudan and has systematically persecuted Christians. He has already said that once the vote takes place and the south becomes it’s own nation, he will institute a radical version of Sharia in the north. Omar al-Bashir is a bad dude. Last year The International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest on war crimes for genocide, rape and a host of other crimes related to Darfur. It is the first time ever that the court issued such a warrant for a sitting head of state.
What may seem amazing to many is that in spite of, or maybe because of, the persecution by al-Bashir, the church in southern Sudan has grown larger and more vibrant. Christians have been involved in major ministries of mercy in Darfur. Pastors have been geting more training and churches are getting planted with more people coming to Christ. No one really knows what will happen. That is all the more reason to pray.
I hope you will join with me and take time over the next few days to pray for Sudan. Pray for a safe day of voting. Pray that the results will be honored by everyone involved. Pray that Christians will be a light of Christ-like love and respect for the world to see. Pray for Omar al-Bashir to come to faith in Jesus.