Pastor Sponsorship and Training!
This month we want to highlight a critical area of need in our ministry. In the past 10 years we have gone from one church plant in Tonj to seven additional church plants. These have mostly happened naturally as a result of our thriving CHE program and are planted in CHE villages.
In 2019 we ended the year with three additional churches. It is so exciting to see these villages desire a church and hunger after God’s Word. The men chosen to pastor these churches were not part of our original sponsorship program and are currently in need of support.
We’d like to introduce them to you this month. What a privilege and joy to interview Ps. Augustino from the village of Ariamduar. He attended our church in Maloney for three years before asking Ps. Santino if he can start a church in his village. His village, like most villages in South Sudan, is deeply involved in witchcraft and most people have their family superstitions and false gods that they worship and fear. The opposition he faced to start a church was great and he had curses placed on him and threats made against his life. Relatives even beat him when he refused to attend rituals and sacrificial offerings to the false gods. He started in April 2019 with just his wife and children. Then a few friends and neighbors joined in. By the end of 2019 he had about 120 people attending every Sunday. Last summer we baptized over 50 people from Ariamduar.
As well as senior pastor he also serves with our CHE program in Ariamduar, which we chose as a new CHE village after we heard his amazing testimony. Ariamduar is about 5 miles from Maloney (30 miles from Tonj) and takes about 1 ½ hours by car to reach. Ps. Augustino is married with 4 children and
attends a monthly training workshop and prayer meeting at the IDAT compound. It takes him 3-4 hours to cycle to Tonj and we were thrilled to gift him with a new bicycle.
Ps. Augustino used to attend the CC Maloney church with his relative and friend James (one of the ones who didn’t beat him). James is single and from a village called Palek, 5 miles from Ariamduar. He saw the believers in Maloney had a true faith and changed lives and wanted that for his village also. After the Ariamduar church started last April and seeing how well it grew he started praying about panting a church in his village. In September 2019, Ps. James planted CC Palek with the help of Ps. Santino and Augustino. He is not married, and his family were opposed but he persevered and now has about 60 people every week attending.
In 2012, you may remember, we graduated 13 pastors from a 3 ½ year pastoral training. Four of those pastors are still serving with IDAT, one is serving with another ministry and the others are back in their villages, all over Tonj state, pastoring their own churches.
While we can’t commit to such an intensive teaching at the moment, we do recognize the need for our pastors to receive regular tuition through workshops. We really want help with this need. So many of you came out for one or two weeks when we were training our pastors in 2012 and we’d like to invite you to prayerfully consider this again, if you have a gift of teaching and bible knowledge. You do not need to be a pastor to get involved.
Maybe you are a church that could send a team that could serve in this area while others serve on outreaches and in the clinic. Please prayerfully consider how God might be able to use you to help equip and expand this program. If you can’t come maybe you could donate a special gift to help fund the workshops or take on a long-term commitment to sponsor and/or pray for a pastor. All these are critically needed.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on any of these areas.