Rev. Alexander was born during Sudan’s 20-year civil war to a Roman Catholic family in Juba, the southernmost city in Sudan. As a teenager, he was one of many boys taken from their families in the South to Khartoum. There, he nearly starved to death, surviving only by rationing small doses of glucose obtained from a hospital. The government’s plan was to brainwash the boys and send them back home to influence the South. But in Alexander’s case, the plan failed. His Christian upbringing and love for the Lord kept him strong through the years of indoctrination and Muslim schooling. As a young man he began working with Africa Inland Church as an evangelist. In 1988, the Lord called Alexander to move to Khartoum where he worked with AIC leaders to establish churches, launch a youth ministry, and direct AIC’s relief efforts in Darfur. In 2010 he was elected to the position of Auxiliary Bishop for AIC. Rev. Alexander is married and has six children.
Founded in 1949, Africa Inland Church-Sudan (AIC) 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 for the poor.
“We came to Khartoum because of war in the South,” said Simon Gore, one of the patients of AIC’s clinic. “We have been living in a displaced people’s camp since 1995. I never knew the importance of the AIC-Sudan health center until I contracted tuberculosis. I did not know I had it. I discovered it during a lab test at the center. I was told by the medical personnel that I needed to undergo treatment at the center. I complied, and I am now better. No one can believe that I was ever affected by the disease. Even I thought I was going to die, but thanks to God I am alive. My treatment was free otherwise I could not have afforded the cost. I thank God for the help I received from AIC.”
On July 9, 2011, South Sudan became an independent state, splitting Africa’s largest country into two nations: Sudan and South Sudan. The South is now faced with the challenges of forming a government and engaging in sustainable infrastructure development.
Resources are more widely available in the North, however they are not fairly distributed. Discrimination against Christians including the denial of health services, education, and employment opportunities remains a serious problem for Christians in Khartoum and other parts of Sudan. With the secession of the South, many believers fear that Christianity will begin to face formal anti-Christian policies and government systems, perhaps even the institution of Shariah law.
Hopeful for more freedom and a better life, a huge number of southerners who have been living in northern Sudan are returning to their homes in the South. Schools, clinics, and even churches are experiencing a shortage of workers. Due to this mass exodus, the need to equip existing churches and believers for ministry is more important than ever before.
Meanwhile, the conflict in Darfur—one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world—continues. An estimated three million people have been displaced from their homes and hundreds of thousands killed. Despite widespread media attention, the people of Darfur continue to suffer violence and desperation due to lack of safety, shelter, and food. New conflict has broken out in the Nuba Mountains, where those who fought with the South in the long civil war are now facing violence and displacement. Preservation of human rights for marginalized communities throughout the country remains a key issue for prayer and advocacy.
Church Planter Support, AIC
Despite the current challenges for Christians in Sudan, AIC is committed to carrying out its mandate of evangelism, missions, and church planting among the peoples of Darfur, the Nuba Mountains, along the Blue Nile, and the high concentration of people in and around Khartoum. Due to the secession of South Sudan, the relative peace between Islam and Christianity is being challenged by many groups working to Islamicize the whole of Sudan. Sustaining and equipping AIC’s workers in this region of the world is of utmost importance to Partners International and the expansion of the Gospel in Sudan.
AIC’s church-planting work has seen significant progress despite the tremendous obstacles they face. In the previous ministry year, they succeeded in planting 30 new churches—12 in the West, 13 in the East, and 5 in Khartoum. They have also sent two missionaries to Darfur and three to Eastern Equatoria. AIC would like to place seven new church planters in Port Sudan, Upper Nile, and South Darfur to plant churches among the Fur, Beja, and Nuba peoples who are largely unreached and have a significant number of Muslims.
Since AIC does not pay salaries to its pastors, the pastors rely on support from their church members. However because of the deep poverty of their communities, this support is very minimal or even non-existent in some places. As a result, many gifted pastors are opting to seek other employment, leaving the ministry work suffering. Gifts to this project will provide much-needed support for 12 AIC church planters and staff serving throughout the country.
Church Planter Training, AIC
Following the secession of South Sudan, the churches in Sudan have seen their congregations dwindle. What is more, the number of trained pastors and leaders has sharply decreased as well. AIC is making the development of new leaders a key priority for the coming year. This year, with your support, Partners would like to provide scholarships for three leaders from the Nuba Mountains and Darfur to take part in a three-month leadership training program in South Sudan or another nearby country to equip them in effective church leadership.
We also plan to hold a pastors conference in Khartoum to encourage and mobilize all of AIC-Sudan’s church leaders and pastors toward fulfilling the Great Commission. AIC feels this conference is very important in light of the dramatic political and religious changes that have taken place in their nation over the past year. In addition to encouragement, networking, and strategy planning, participants will study Scripture storytelling. This is a successful methodology developed by Scriptures In Use (SIU) to reach non-literates with the Gospel that includes storytelling, drama, cultural adaptations of Scripture to song, and memorization. The training will provide AIC’s church planters with a powerful new evangelism method that is culturally, linguistically, and spiritually in tune with the worldview and oral learning style of the people they minister to. This approach to sharing the Gospel has led to fruitful church planting in many areas within the 10-40 Window.
Women's Self-Help Projects, AIC
In many African settings and especially in Islamic societies, women suffer many social evils. In Sudan, they have suffered even more due to the long civil war which left many as widows and single mothers. Many husbands died in the war or the entire family was displaced and separated during the chaos. Thousands of women and children have lived for years in displaced people’s camps and have never integrated into local communities.
Having received many fervent requests from local women, AIC is seeking to empower Christian and Muslim women economically so that they can provide for their families. To this end, AIC operates a vocational training center in Khartoum to train women in income-generating trades. The trades emphasized are tailoring, sewing, computers, cooking, and handicrafts. For example, those who take part in the cooking classes are trained to be self-employed, making and selling desserts, bread, cheese, yogurt, roasted meats, and juices. The one-year training program includes three courses per year and takes place four hours per day five days a week. The women are recruited through graduate referrals, visits to churches and homes, and advertisements. An adult education program ensures that the women will be able to manage their finances, understand contracts, and keep proper records. The training includes a weekly time of Bible study that not only encourages the Christian women but also reaches out to Muslim women in the community. As the women’s businesses grow, their children benefit tremendously through better nutrition, health care, and education. AIC hopes to provide vocational training for more than 80 women this year. Your gifts will provide equipment, supplies, and training costs for the center.
Women's Self-Help Projects, AIC
An important second step of the women’s vocational training program is to provide micro-loans. With new vocational skills and the knowledge needed to start a successful small business, women have everything they need to start their new venture except for initial starter funds. For this reason, AIC provides micro-loans which empower women to access credit and engage in business ventures within their neighborhoods. The women commit to repaying their micro-loans so that other women can be helped in a revolving “bank” system. Your support will help 10 women access a micro-credit loan.