Words of Life
Heartache and hopelessness is the experience of many in South Sudan. Poverty, conflict with North Sudan, and violent civil war amongst their own tribal groups have all taken their toll. Yet because of a simple device, placed right into peoples’ hands, words of hope and peace are being spoken into this void.
ACROSS is a ministry that has been serving the people of Sudan since the 1970s. One of their recent initiatives has been producing a wide range of audio programs to load onto Digital Audio Players (DAPs). These DAPS are then widely distributed in local communities, and people can listen to teachings that relate to their daily life on topics like health and hygiene, bible teaching, literacy training, and marriage advise.
Pioneers workers Rhys and Rhondda Hall have been serving with ACROSS for over thirty years. They have been told many testimonies of how the messages on the DAPS have turned people’s lives around. Here is one such story about a lady named Atong…
Atong grew up in Khartoum where her father was working with the government. She married in the early 1980s and had a son. When her son was about 20, he was given the chance to go Australia. Atong stayed in Sudan and went to live with her brother, a former governor, who was well able to provide for her, giving her whatever she wanted. But one day there was a tragedy: her son was involved in a car accident and died. When Atong heard the news, she collapsed and after her recovery, she became psychologically disturbed. Poor Atong lived for many years with no hope that she would ever again laugh or rejoice with other people. Then one day a woman who was concerned about Atong brought her a DAP and told her to listen to it in the night.
Atong explained: “When that woman left, I threw the DAP under my bed with anger and it stayed there for many months. One day, when I felt I should remove all the stuff under my bed, my eyes fell on the DAP. I took it out and pressed any key. It begun to talk and one of the programs, ‘Have peace with yourself’ was on. I kept listening to the DAP and it took me to a program that would become my favourite ‘Life is fragile and with care, you can make your own life better, don’t lose hope’. After listening to this wonderful program, I regained my strength and said loudly to myself, ‘My son was not the only channel of my life, I can do without him!’ and therefore woke up. Some women who had come to comfort me thought that I became mad. But that time I began thinking of what I could do to support my living. I decided to make a restaurant, and this thought came to pass. Now, at the back of my house is my restaurant and I am earning enough money to keep me and my two small children.” Atong’s life is completely changed because she was given a gift that spoke words of life.
Many communities that have received DAPS and are choosing to make significant changes based on what they are learning. In the many Cattle Camps in Sudan, there is a culture of cattle raiding and theft which often leads to violent retaliation. Watch in this video that shows how peace building programs on the DAPS are making a huge impact in these Cattle Camps.