yunan ismail
neats graduate // church planter // disciple maker

“NEATS empowered me. Physically and spiritually, my mind and eyes opened. And now I know how to disciple someone, I know how to bring the gospel, and I know how to plant a church.” 

War tumbles so many Sudanese and South Sudanese around. War tumbled Yunan. He grew up in a Muslim home. A man named Philip told him about Jesus, and Yunan believed. He said he had no idea what to do, and before Philip could disciple him, war tumbled Yunan to a refugee camp in Kenya.

From believers in that camp he heard about NEATS, Empower One’s bible school that was operated in Kajo Keji, South Sudan at that time. Yunan scraped and borrowed and got to NEATS. It was exactly what he’d been wanting. He finally could learn about the power of God, the bible, and he said NEATS 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 Yunan. James Lomude and Jackson Songa would sit with Yunan 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 Yunan.
 

War tumbled Yunan 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 NEATS faculty along with James and Jackson had trained and discipled Yunan 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.

Yunan began to disciple John even before John believed in Jesus. John was a hard-core drunk. For months John would sit with Yunan and learn about Jesus. But many nights and mornings, Yunan and John’s sister would go pick John up from where he was passed out, drunk. But John kept coming. Yunan patiently kept loving him, and John surrendered to Jesus.

Today, John is in NEATS, and Yunan spends time with him some evenings.

 

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