19 December 2017 // Articles & Stories

75 years of ministry in South Sudan

Connected to prayer

This article was first featured alongside our Prayer Diary in January 2018. You can download the January 2018 prayer points here or sign-up to receive future editions by post or email.

Russ and Lyn Noble have just completed 75 combined years of ministry in South Sudan. For the majority of this time they have been involved in sharing the love of Jesus through education.

In the 1970s and 80s, before they met, Russ & Lyn taught school children (Lyn at primary school level and Russ at secondary). After getting married, the Nobles moved into training primary school teachers during the late 1980s and 1990s. Latterly they have been involved in the training of literacy teachers. They have been developing heart language materials to help children and adults to read and write since 2000.

The Lord’s special work

Earlier this year Lyn sat next to Fatima at a funeral:

“Fatima is originally from Darfur in western Sudan and now living in Torit. She was a Muslim up until last year. She fell sick for four days and could not eat or drink or get up. After four days she heard a voice from above saying, “Gum!” (Rise!), the voice insisted she get up. She asked, “Inta munu?” (Who are you?). The voice said, “Yesu” (Jesus) and a bright light shone on her. She got up and was healed and then found her way to an AIC church in Torit.

Fatima cannot read so I asked how the Lord has continued speaking to her, and she said in dreams. I suggested that if she learnt to read she could hear the Lord speak through his written word. Her face lit up with joy. She has a lovely, toothy smile and says she loves the Lord. I was so encouraged to hear her story amidst all the bad things happening in South Sudan.

The Lord has his special work going on!”

During the second civil war (1983-2005) they travelled far and wide throughout South Sudan touching the lives of people speaking more than a dozen languages. Opportunities to show Christ’s love during times of war, stress, discouragement, poverty, and danger abounded day in and day out. The Sudanese Christians were often a strong encouragement, especially when aerial bombardments of bombs were mercilessly dropped on villages and small towns. The Sudanese demonstrated tremendous courage and faith in the Lord during these hard times. It was a great encouragement to the foreign missionaries to see first-hand the perseverance and fortitude of their African Christian friends.

Opening up the Bible

Their last ten years in Torit were spent working with the Otuho and Lopit languages as well as South Sudanese Arabic literacy teaching to women church leaders. It was a joy to see the new literacy materials developed together with counterparts and then used by people to learn the skill of literacy. There is now a New Testament in the Otuho language and work has recently started on the Lopit Scriptures. Someday, with hundreds or even thousands of people able to read in these language groups, the Bible will be opened, cherished and provide spiritual direction and comfort to both the Lopit and Lotuho peoples. 2 Timothy 3:15 will be true for these people: “…the Scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

Russ & Lyn Noble

We worked with the AIC South Sudan developing and encouraging adult literacy in mother tongues. Our desire is to see adults reading the Bible in the language they understand best. We are on home assignment and will retire in February.

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