By Katelin van Zyl

Monday, 12 February marked the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers. The ongoing war in Sudan is one setting in which the use of child soldiers has gained increased attention. In the absence of meaningful negotiations to end the war, clashes have continued since April 2023, mostly in and around the capital, Khartoum, and in states such as Jazeera in central Sudan and Darfur in the west, which has been the site of horrific ethnic violence. The United Nations (UN) Secretary-General stressed that a military solution to the conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces is not possible. He urged the international community to do everything possible to support the cessation of war. He hopes the meeting with regional groups at the upcoming African Union summit from 17-18 February will aid these efforts.

The UN has also appealed for greater funding to assist Sudan’s people. In addition to the death toll of 12,000 people, displacement inside and outside of the country has surpassed seven million. Nearly half of Sudan’s population are in need of aid and there are warnings of famine. UNICEF reported that over 700,000 children are at risk of the worst type of malnutrition this year. An INcontext contact shared that God has provided for Christians in areas hosting internally displaced people to carry out mercy ministry, distributing essential items to help struggling families. Although the needs are immense and they cannot meet them all, those involved in the ministry shared that even the smallest gift has been received with gratitude and joy, and they have been able to encourage people with the hope found in the Gospel. 1 Peter 1:3b praises God the Father, for “In his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” (NIV). Indeed, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” (Hebrews 6:19a, NIV). The global Church can be encouraged by the Church in Sudan, who, although “hard pressed on every side,” are “not crushed,” and continue to serve faithfully where God has placed them in this season (2 Corinthians 4:8a). In another area, believers have held revival meetings and are trusting that God will draw many to Himself. The global Church can partner with the Sudanese Church in prayer for God to move mightily. The global Church can also pray for believers who are facing various challenges and need protection, financial provision, and for God to open doors.

Aid agencies in neighbouring countries are struggling to meet the needs of many who have fled Sudan, including those who were once refugees in the country and are again displaced. Thousands of South Sudanese refugees have returned to their country since the war started, despite the ongoing violence, instability and poverty there. As some Sudanese attempt to seek protection beyond neighbouring countries, a boat carrying Sudanese people sank off the Tunisian coast on Thursday (8 February) on its way to Europe, resulting in at least 13 deaths and 27 people going missing. These heartbreaking crises should move us to pray for this country’s people, that all who are seeking safety will find it. As believers, we have experienced firsthand that the greatest safety available to us is found in Christ. We know that this world is full of hardship and insecurity, but the security we have in Christ surpasses this life on earth. Jesus has promised eternal life to those who put their faith and trust in Him. Reminded of this incredible blessing given to us by our all-powerful God, may we pray in faith for the nation of Sudan.

Please join us in praying for the following:

  • For meaningful negotiations to end the war and address humanitarian issues
  • For increased funding for the many needs among the Sudanese inside and outside of Sudan
  • For the Sudanese Church to be protected, strengthened and fruitful, growing in number as God saves people in their time of need

Putting Action to Words:

If you would like to financially support the ministry work being done in Sudan, please contact: jeremiah@incontextinternational.org