Due to civil unrest in the country of Sudan, many refugees were forced to flee their country and make a home away from their home. Sudanese outreach started with an opportunity in 2006 to minister to Sudanese refugees at Lincoln Heights Evangelical Lutheran Church in central Iowa.
Other churches in the cities of Mankato, MN; Rochester, MN; Des Moines, IA; Renton, WA; Omaha, NE; Vancouver, BC; Calgary, AB; and Ottawa, ON, Canada have found themselves with a new opportunity to share their faith with Sudanese families in desperate situations searching for a glimmer of hope. After staying in refugee camps and navigating the long processes involved in coming to North America, the Sudanese are appreciative of the opportunities and assistance offered to them from many WELS churches. However, providing assistance with daily struggles and the physical needs which refugees often face is just one small part of their larger goal; sharing God’s message of salvation through Jesus Christ.
One refugee, Peter Bur, came to Omaha, Nebraska and began worshiping at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in 2010. He enrolled in the Pastoral Studies Institute (PSI), of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in partnership with the WELS Joint Mission Council. He graduated in 2015 and was assigned to serve as Sudanese Ministry Coordinator for WELS Joint Missions. In this role, Rev. Bur coordinates the pastoral training of South Sudanese leaders in North America and also in refugee camps in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda.
In February of 2018, the Global Sudanese Committee (GSC) committee, consisting of five South Sudanese leaders and their Anglo Pastors, attended a four-day working conference in which they reviewed all of the various ministry being done to reach both the Sudanese refugees here in North America as well as in Africa.
Although opportunities exist in the actual country of South Sudan, the ongoing fighting and brutality are still interfering with possible mission trips into this area. The Lord continues to bless the outreach opportunities throughout the United States, Canada, and refugee camps in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda to reach more and more Sudanese refugees with the gospel.