A Unified Sudan

God's Word brings fresh identity to an evolving nation

Two Sudanese citizens receive Bibles from the Bible Society of Sudan in the capitol, Khartoum.

The nation of Sudan is a work in progress. Fifty-five years of religious and racial angst, including two civil wars, tell the story of a country never fully comfortable in its own skin. However, a referendum put to vote on Jan. 11 seeks to bring fresh identity to the area. The referendum asked southern voters to choose one of two options: unify or secede. Initial data revealed that almost 99 percent of voters checked the “secede” box, a clear statement from the independence-ready south. A new nation will be born July 9.

In this time of important change for the nation of Sudan, Ismail Kanani, general secretary of the Bible Society of Sudan (BSS) answers Scripture's call to transcend earthly borders and make disciples of all nations. He is committed to bringing the Word of God to a nascent country set to enter the global stage.

Kanani splits his work between Khartoum in the north and Juba in the south, traveling by air the distance it takes two days to cross in a car. Having two offices is crucial in a country that ranks among the world's largest, let alone a bifurcated one.

Even with so much ground to cover and his nation divided, Ismail Kanani and his staff at BSS remain unified behind the mission of Scripture. The BSS strives to reach every citizen of Sudan, whether in the north or south. “We are involved in all aspects of life, in the churches and outside the churches,” he says.

American Bible Society works alongside Kanani to generate the different translations and tools he needs to reach the various people groups of Sudan. His main ministry aim is the youth of Sudan, especially in the western region of Darfur.

This area, a battleground for ethnic and religious warfare for the past seven years, is a highly dangerous place for Christians, because it is dominated by violent Arab militias. Kanani is quietly focusing on the university students of Sudan to spread the gospel into the region. Organizing book fairs and other events at local colleges, the BSS provides bibles to the rising generation of Sudan, an effort to revitalize the movers and shakers of this developing country.

But Kanani's efforts are not limited to Sudan. “Faith has no borders,” he says, and as Sudan is adjacent to nine countries, the BSS is committed to serving anyone who needs a Bible. “Uganda, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, The Central African Republic, and Egypt all share struggles with Sudan,” he says. “We work to help all of these different nations. It is a partnership.”

Every day, Ismail Kanani works to bring the peace of Scripture to a nation filled with conflict. Scripture calls for the hearts of every tribe and nation, color and language to turn to God in praise. Kanani strives to make the Gospel available to every person in Sudan, setting a precedent of unity during this pivotal moment in this nation's history.

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