War tumbles so many Sudanese and South Sudanese around.
War tumbled Ismail. He grew up in a Muslim home. A man named Philip told him about Jesus, and Ismail believed. He said he had no idea what to do, and before Philip could disciple him, war tumbled Ismail to a refugee camp in Kenya.
From believers in that camp he heard about our School of Church Planting that was operated in Kajo Keji, South Sudan at that time. Ismail scraped and borrowed and got to the school. It was exactly what he’d been wanting. He finally could learn about the power of God, the bible, and he said the school made him, “mighty in preaching.”
But it was what happened outside of class that shaped him.
After the classes ended, two men took time on many evenings to invest in Ismail. James Lomude and Jackson Songa would sit with Ismail and answer his questions about the bible, how to follow Jesus, and what steps he needed to take next. But what he was really learning was that time in the evening – talking, learning, laughing, coaching and mentoring – was how discipleship actually takes place.
James leads Seed Effect, our savings group sister ministry. Jackson had myriad responsibilities with Empower One. Yet both invested time into Ismail.
War tumbled Ismail again when it came to Kajo Keji, and NEATS was relocated to Bidi Bidi, the largest refugee camp in the world. By this point the school faculty along with James and Jackson had trained and discipled Ismail well.
When he arrived in the camp:
- He started four churches in the refugee camp.
- He starting teaching in a co-sponsored high school serving mostly refugees.
- He trained and discipled leaders in those four churches, and installed them as pastors.
And like James and Jackson modeled for him, he made disciples.
He says he can count three generations of disciples today, including one named John.
Ismail began to disciple John even before John believed in Jesus. John was a hard-core drunk. For months John would sit with Ismail and learn about Jesus. But many nights and mornings, Ismail and John’s sister would go pick John up from where he was passed out, drunk. But John kept coming. Ismail patiently kept loving him, and John surrendered to Jesus.
Today, John is at our School of Church Planting, and Ismail spends time with him some evenings.
“Really God has answered my prayer.
And the main vision for me with John is to bring the gospel to the lost and to become someone who can also disciple another person to come to Christ.”