There are growing fears for the welfare of two South Sudanese church leaders who are being held in unknown locations by Sudan’s intelligence services. Pastor Yat Michael and Pastor Peter Yen have now each been held for over a month after being arrested while visiting Sudan’s capital, Khartoum.
The UK Director of Amnesty International said that “The longer these two men are held in a secret location, the greater the risk of them being tortured. To date, absolutely no charge has been brought against these two church leaders.”
While South Sudan has a largely Christian population, Sudan is predominantly Muslim and ranks sixth in the 2015 World Watch List of 50 countries where Christians face most persecution. Its almost two million Christians face strict laws imposed by an Islamic government, which has ruled that apostasy is still legally punishable by death.
The government applies other restrictions targeting Christians. Support for the local church from overseas is difficult because the government restricts the number of missionaries they let in by refusing work and travel visas. The number of expatriate Christians – such as those from South Sudan – has shrunk since 2013, when they were ordered to leave the country.
However, despite the restrictions, the church in Sudan is showing growth, according to World Watch List research, and a number of churches, including that to which the two missing pastors belong, have seen significant numbers turning to Christianity.
- Pray for the two pastors in prison, and their families. Pray that they will be protected from harm, stay strong in their faith and be released soon without charge.
- Pray for the Sudanese Christians as they face growing persecution and oppression.
- Give thanks for the growth of the Sudanese Church, even in the face of the persecution. Pray that it will continue to grow and that many Sudanese will turn to the Gospel and come to know the truth of the Living Christ.
Romans 16 vs 5: “So the churches were strengthened in the faith and increased in numbers daily.“