• Pray for long-term peace and lasting stability to prevail in this fragile, new nation.
• Pray for churches to remain united as they model peace and reconciliation to a watching world.
• Pray for the people to reject ethnic hatred, embrace the gospel, and demonstrate love and forgiveness.
South Sudan is one of the richest agricultural areas in East Africa’s White Nile Valley, providing income for much of the population. The South Sudanese are known for their height, boldness, patriotism, and work ethic. Marriage is one of the most important cultural milestones and creates strong bonds between families. South Sudan is also rich with oil, which accounts for 97% of the country’s known revenue. The majority of this money is used for the military, but humanitarian crises plague the nation.
The newest nation in Africa, South Sudan was once a part of Sudan. During the 1956 Sudanese independence, the south unsuccessfully tried to form its own nation. Religious and political division led to two civil wars. Starvation, drought, and violence killed 2.5 million people, mostly civilians, throughout these wars. The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement ended many tensions between the north and the south, and in 2011, with a 98% vote, the south seceded from Sudan. While conflict still existed, South Sudan had finally become a sovereign nation. But in 2013 a political dispute between President Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar led the new country into civil war. Atrocities such as forced cannibalism, gang rape, death by burning, and child abduction were all reported. Despite attempted peace talks, the country continues to be divided by war. Many have gone back to Sudan because of hunger, while many others have fled to Uganda to escape the crisis.
Most of the South Sudanese population is either animist or Christian. Western missionaries introduced the Gospel to Sudan in the 1800's, and many nationals converted to Christianity. Christianity has continued to grow throughout a history of conflict and violence. Since the split from Sudan in 2011, Christianity has been the predominant religion. The Church has reached out as a haven for those displaced by the country’s conflict. Recently, various churches have provided refuge for citizens who have been driven from their homes. The Christians of South Sudan have risen in a time of crisis to be the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting nation, mobilizing relief efforts to help those in need.
Capital City: Juba
Government: Presidential republic
Major People Groups: 15% Western Dinka (Rek); 10% Eastern Nuer(Jikany Door); 8% Northeastern Dinka (Padang); 7% Zande (Azande, Mbomu); 6% South Central Dinka (Agar)
Religion: Christian 62%, Ethnic religions 32%, Muslim 6%
Language: Dinka, Nuer, Zande, Arabic, Bari
GDP Per Capita: $1,600
Literacy Rate: 34.5%
POPULATION IN UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUPS: 5.2%
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