Rev. Arkanjelo Lemi was born and raised in Kapoeta in Eastern Equatoria where his father worked as a gold miner. After the death of Arkanjelo’s mother in 1978, believers from AIC churches ministered to him and led him to Christ. As a believer, he became involved in youth ministry, and during his Bible school years, he and groups of students would share the Gospel in displaced people’s camps, especially during Christmas. They would often say, “Let’s take Jesus to them. That’s the only gift we can give.” Over the years Rev. Arkanjelo has served in engineering, development, and pastoral roles and also worked with church leaders throughout Sudan. He was ordained as a pastor in 2005. Associated with AIC for many years, Rev. Arkanjelo was elected as the Bishop of Africa Inland Church in 2010. He is married to Julia and has five children.
Decades of war and violent conflict have left a poverty-stricken populace, yet also a thriving Church. Founded in 1949, Africa Inland Church works to strengthen the Sudanese Church through training pastors and church planters, planting churches among unreached peoples, and implementing a wide range of community development programs.
One day, Rev. Arkanjelo and a co-worker embarked on a trip to visit the AIC pastors serving in Madi and Acholi. Throughout the entire visit, they were overwhelmed by the needs of the people, including the pastors themselves. “At the time, we had nothing in our hands to give them,” Rev. Arkanjelo said. “I was extremely happy when the Lord answered the prayers and cries of His servants. Thank God Partners sent this money when the tears of these workers were still fresh.” The same day, funds were given to 20 pastors in the East Bank region at the time they needed it most.
“I am blessed my God is alive,” one pastor said. “He answers my prayers.”
On July 9, 2011, South Sudan became an independent state, splitting Africa’s largest country into two nations: Sudan and South Sudan. Hopeful for more freedom and a better life, tens of thousands of southerners who have been living in northern Sudan or other parts of Africa are returning to their hometowns in the South.
This new nation is now faced with a huge challenge of forming a government and engaging in sustainable infrastructure development for a very poor and war-ravaged people.
This mass migration of people will cause a tremendous strain on the limited available resources, services, and facilities such as schools and hospitals. Government leaders know they will not be able to cope with the phenomenal needs single-handedly and are urging the Sudanese church to mobilize even greater efforts toward community development.
With more than 60 years of ministry in Sudan, Africa Inland Church has established itself as one of the most significant church networks working to provide social and ministry services to the people.
Despite overwhelming challenges, Sudanese believers continue to persevere in their faith. They believe that this time in history is a strategic opportunity for the Church, and they are committed to taking up the challenge so that all of Sudan’s people will raise their hands in praise to God.
Church Planter Support, AIC
Persecution and war have long oppressed the Sudanese Church, but the Christian message is still being proclaimed by AIC ministry workers, pastors, and church members in South Sudan. People are being saved, and the Church is growing. Enjoying relative peace, many hope this will be a significant and blessed time in the history of South Sudan.
The huge influx of people returning to South Sudan is creating tremendous new opportunities to reach unreached communities with the Gospel. Although many areas of Sudan remain unreached, AIC is focusing much of their efforts on the unreached people groups in Eastern Equatoria, some of which have no basic services or churches. These people groups include the Didinga, Boya, Toposa, Jie, Kachipo, and several others.
Since AIC does not pay salaries to its pastors, the pastors must rely on support from the church members, which is minimal or even non-existent in some places. As a result, many church pastors must also work full time, which slows their ministry efforts. Partners International’s goal is to provide support for five pastors and small stipends for a number of others. In addition to church planter support, Partners hopes to resource them with much-needed ministry items such as Bibles and motorbikes. AIC is requesting funds for 300 Bibles for distribution to believers and seekers, as well as two motorbikes to help church planters with reliable, affordable transportation.
Church Planter Training, AIC
AIC operates the Imatong Bible School in South Sudan where Partners International would like to help support the training of 20 church planters in a one-year program. The majority of the trainees are already serving as church pastors and evangelists but have not had the opportunity for formal biblical training. The remaining trainees are new missionaries who would be sent to new areas to plant churches among unreached people. Once trained, these leaders will be able to disciple other young men and women in church leadership.
In addition to Bible school training, this project includes a variety of other training programs to develop Sudanese leaders in their ministry skills. These projects include:
• An annual missions conference for 50 AIC missionaries to refresh and encourage current missionaries and mobilize Sudanese churches to support missions work.
• A discipleship training course for 20-50 people. The course takes three months to complete in two-hour meetings several times per week. The goal is to do 2-3 modules per year. The next one will be held in Achole, then Kapoeta.
• A church-planter training course that combines Scripture storytelling with church-planting mobilization. The training will mobilize 50 church planters for ministry.
• A one-week seminar for 30 pastors in Juba on the topics of missions, church planting, and pastoral care.
• A Scripture storytelling conference for 25 church planters to learn tools to reach non-literates with the Gospel.
In all of these training events, leaders will grow in their capacity to share the Gospel, disciple believers, and plant churches. As more effective leaders, they will be able to lead the Church with sound doctrine and for the glory of God.
Sunday School & Youth Training, AIC
Throughout the time of war in Sudan, many youth were abused and exploited. Militia leaders recruited them by the thousands, sometimes forcing them to withdraw into the bush and fight against rival groups. Because of this and the chaos of the conflict, a whole generation of children in some areas missed out on education and continue to struggle with the pain and violence they experienced in childhood.
Ministering to youth is a strong focus for AIC, not only to protect them from the control of selfish politicians and militia leaders, but because many do not know their place in society. Without an education or direction in life, they are vulnerable to exploitation and mistreatment.
AIC has developed a training program for youth leaders who reach out to local youth, giving them a place for fellowship, friendship, and guidance. In four one-week training sessions throughout the year, 20-30 youth leaders will study life skills, conflict resolution, peace building, marriage, leadership, and HIV/AIDS awareness, equipping them to minister effectively to youth. AIC is also requesting our support to train 60 Sunday school teachers who will provide a Christ-like example, discipleship, and guidance to thousands of children and youth through weekly Sunday school programs. AIC will also hold their annual youth music festival that brings together 600-700 youth for discipleship and community outreach.
Health Care-Displaced People, AIC
Many hospitals and health care facilities in the South were looted or destroyed in the civil war, leaving only a few ill-equipped health facilities that are badly in need of repair. After the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement in 2005, the Khartoum government promised to support the South with infrastructure development from the shared sale of oil. However, very little has been done. Now the entire responsibility to rehabilitate the poorly-run health delivery system in South Sudan is on the shoulders of the new government. Meanwhile, communities are desperate for medical services, particularly for their children and the elderly who are more vulnerable to disease.
Over the years, AIC has established health clinics in strategic locations where they can serve large populations. Providing affordable health care has alleviated much suffering among the poor, but many more communities are without medical resources. Partners’ goal is to provide much-needed medicine for AIC’s clinics.
Women's Poultry Program, AIC
Women's Microloans, AIC
More than 75 percent of the people who have repatriated to South Sudan are women and children who had lived in the North for more than 20 years of war. The repatriated communities have been joyfully reunited with their relatives in their respective towns and villages, however this has put pressure on relatives who must share already limited supplies of food, shelter, water, jobs, and medical care. Many Sudanese women lost their husbands during the war and are now raising large families as single mothers. Most of them are extremely vulnerable economically. As the government works to establish better community services in South Sudan, it is the women who must grapple with the daily needs of their families. Most of them do this single-handedly with very minimal resources at their disposal.
Despite their difficult circumstances, AIC believes women play a strategic role in peace building and are a crucial pillar in the wellness of the society due to their motherly hearts and their influence on their children.
Through their women’s program, Women of Good News, AIC would like to carry out a number of projects for the development of women in South Sudan this year. These include:
• Providing 40 women with chicks, chicken coups, incubators, and generators to launch a poultry raising project.
• Equipping 40 women with tools and seeds to start a farm, growing vegetables, maize, ground nuts, cassava, tomatoes, and other food items to sell in the market.
• Sending teams of women to do evangelism and outreach in new regions.
• Providing business training and distributing micro-loans to 50 widows and single mothers at a low interest rate, enabling them to start a new business or expand an existing one.
• Holding a leadership conference for 45 women, equipping them in basic leadership principles, as well as evangelism and ministry skills.
• Inviting 30 teenage girls to attend a training on health, hygiene, and biblical relationships.
Through these projects, women will grow both economically and spiritually, making them better equipped to care for and mentor their children.
Water Projects, AIC
As thousands of Sudanese return to their home areas in the South, few are returning to towns with working water and sanitation systems. This is leading to an upswing in water borne disease that is overwhelming health centers with sick patients.
Through this project, AIC will provide five 300-liter water collection tanks to local schools, providing fresh water for the children and local communities. They will also provide toilet facilities for each school, helping to reduce disease among the children who are the most vulnerable to sickness and death by water-borne disease.
School Teacher Training, AIC
School Teacher Training/AIC Sudan N SSAI33500
Because of the destruction of the education infrastructure during the war, many teachers are actually untrained and provide minimal benefit to the children. The majority of educated Sudanese have found better-paying positions within the government or with NGOs operating in the region. This has negatively affected the quality of the teaching in local schools. AIC’s schools face a similar challenge. Their goal is to improve the qualifications and skills of their teachers, while also improving the management and administration of the schools. With the increasing number of pupils and a constant shortage of resources, administrators and teachers need strong managerial and administrative skills to deliver effective educational services.
In this project, 25 head teachers and school administrators will be trained in financial and school management. An additional 15 teachers will receive short-term training at the Yei Teachers Training College.
As a result of this investment, there will be an increased number of trained teachers serving at AIC schools, the schools will be managed and supervised adequately, and there will be a conducive environment for children to learn.
School Classrooms, AIC
The majority of schools in southern Sudan were destroyed during the long civil war. As a result, literacy rates have plummeted. A whole generation of children in South Sudan has not had the opportunity to attend school. To meet this need, AIC has opened schools in three areas of Sudan (Juba, Eastern Equatoria, and Western Equatoria) with Christian teachers that teach a biblically-based curriculum.
Over the past year, enrollment levels in AIC schools have increased rapidly because of the thousands of families who have been repatriated back to South Sudan. There are usually government schools in the areas where the AIC schools are located, but the government schools are poorly run and lack funding, so often the AIC schools are preferred because they have good teachers and better administration. While this creates an opportunity for AIC to impact thousands of new families, many of the schools are now extremely overcrowded. Additional classroom space is urgently needed.
Our goal this year is to build classrooms for a number of schools which are filled to capacity. These include schools in the towns of Torit, Kapoeta, Nyokuron, Parajok, Gudele, Tennel, Buluk, and Arapi. Primary schools in South Sudan usually include preschool through grade seven or eight. The school year usually runs February through July and September through December, however this has not been consistent. School is taught in English. In addition to educating children, the school premises are often also used as centers for adult education and other Christian training programs.
Technology Resources, AIC
Infrastructure is extremely underdeveloped in the whole of South Sudan. Coupled with the size of the country, communication between the central church structure and the outlying churches is a big challenge.
AIC’s administrative office currently does not have internet capability at its facility in Juba. Partners would like to build the capacity of the ministry by covering the costs of internet installation and the related equipment needed. This will profoundly benefit the ministry by providing improved communication, efficiency, project management, and ministry oversight.