Sudanese Christians Michael and Salah are both teachers and moved to Egypt to study theology. But, amid Sudan’s economic crisis and deep insecurity in Salah’s home region, the two men and their families have stayed on. They shared their concerns for their homeland with SAT-7 Egypt reporter Mary Joseph, spoke of the opportunities to serve in both countries, and explained how SAT-7’s Sudanese dialect programmes help them stay connected to their roots.
Michael, 32, moved to Sudan’s northern neighbour in 2013. There he joined an estimated two to five million migrants and refugees from his homeland. While studying theology, he teaches languages at a school for refugees.
When asked about conditions in Sudan, Michael shares how normal life has been turned upside down: “After 2010, life in Sudan became difficult with civil unrest, economic crisis, and political turmoil. It was becoming worse every day.”
When Michael visited his extended family at Christmas, he was shocked to see how hard life in Sudan had become. “There is so much inflation! It is very difficult to find provisions and food, and unemployment is very high.”
Salah (44) had left his hometown in northern Sudan back in 2006 and returned after graduating in 2010. But an ongoing situation of political conflict in the area forced him to take his family back to Egypt within a year.
“There was civil unrest. Life was difficult and unsafe. People were being falsely accused and attacked, even in their own homes. I feel that my family and I are safe in Egypt,” he says. “When we respect the country that hosts us, God protects and blesses us.”
In Egypt Salah now teaches other theology students from his home country. And, despite the unsettled situation, he returns to Sudan when there are opportunities to serve. Recently, he and a group of other volunteers who now live in other countries held a reunion there.
Salah explains that some 34 pastors had emerged from his church in the late 80s and early 90s. In January a group of them used their reunion as an opportunity to organise a two-day Christian convention for the next generation of young people.
In touch through SAT-7
Apart from occasional visits, another important way of staying in touch with the Sudanese Church for both Salah and Michael is through SAT-7.
“My wife loves to watch SAT-7ARABIC, especially the episode when Sudanese Pastor Flimon Hassan appeared on the Keep on Singing programme,” says Salah.
It’s no surprise that he stresses the value of SAT-7’s theological series, saying, “Sudanese viewers have a lot to gain from watching these programmes.”
“SAT-7 IS LIKE A CHURCH IN OUR HOMES”
Michael speaks of the encouragement his family received from SAT-7 over the years. “We have been watching SAT-7 since before we left Sudan,” he says. “It’s a very special channel. It’s like a church in our homes. We get to attend church meetings and services on SAT-7 while we sit at home.”
“SAT-7 helped us love the word of God and study it. All the programmes are useful both spiritually and practically.”
Michael’s own favourites include teaching programmes like School of Christ and the weekly Freedom Meeting from the Brethren Church in Heliopolis, Cairo.
SAT-7 ARABIC’s program Critical Issues is presented by a Sudanese host whom Michael and Salah can relate to. “It’s a good programme because it addresses the Sudanese people in their own dialect; it is a great encouragement to viewers in Sudan.”
Asked what he would like to see more of, Michael thinks for a moment.
He says, “I’d like to see more programmes that discuss loyalty to one’s country, how to love one another and be dedicated to our homelands and leave a legacy to our descendants. We must learn to be giving and not be selfish, thinking only of what is good for us and not for the good of the coming generations.”
Please pray for these two servant-hearted men as they show God’s love to the people they teach and lead in their adopted country.
Enjoy the lilting worship of Sudan’s Candlelight Choir on SAT-7 ARABIC worship show Keep on Singing.
Learn about Candlelight Choir and enjoy another song recorded for Keep on Singing in the grounds of Cairo’s Cave Church.