News / Thoughts

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News / Thoughts

Leading prisoners to Jesus…

June 20, 2016

Pastor Michael Yat and Pastor Peter Yen Reith, members of the South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church, were arrested in Sudan at the end of 2014, but released in August 2015 after thousands of people like you prayed and spoke out on their behalf. Check out some of the story below of how they led prisoners on death row to Christ!

While Michael and Peter are now free, there are other pastors in prison in Sudan today. If you would like to speak out on their behalf, please email and we will provide you with more information.

Preaching to men on death row

During their imprisonment they were moved to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) office in Amarat for two months. Peter remembers: “The cells were only 2m by 6m and we were up to 20 people in there at times. The heat was almost unbearable. We could not sit down, because there was no room. We also had to buy our own food and were often overcharged. But we were able to talk to our loved ones occasionally. The best part about being there was that we were able to get Bibles and preach to fellow inmates.”

Michael says: “We also got to briefly see our families for the first time. Peter was able to secretly use a phone to get online. That is when we saw the news and the calls for prayer for us. It was amazing! We did not know that there was so much international awareness raised for us. We were really surprised and very encouraged.”

After they were officially charged, they were sent to Omduran prison, which has over 3,000 prisoners. Peter says: “This was our mission field! Pastor Michael and I worked out a schedule to preach with the permission of the prison officers who were very good to us. That is until a foreigner came to the prison and was caught taking pictures of the premises. After this the prison officers changed drastically. They ordered us to immediately collect all our things because we were being moved right away.”

They were then moved to Khober prison. Michael says: “My cell was very small, only 2m by 3m, but we were twelve people in there. We would take turns sleeping. Six would sleep for four hours, wake up and sit while the other six slept. I cannot describe the heat and horror of the hygiene situation. There were no windows in the cells, yet temperatures would normally reach 50°C. It is a true miracle that we did not get sick. It is God who protected us.”

Peter says: “The conditions were very hard. But it was the happiest phase for me because I was put in the same cell with condemned persons and had opportunity to preach to all. Most of them were Muslims. People asked me why I was there and when I told them I faced the death sentence for being a preacher, they would say, ‘But if they are going to kill you, why are you so happy?’ It gave me the opportunity to share about heaven and about Christ. They were shocked and wanted to know more.

“Whenever the prison officers realised we were preaching to fellow inmates, they would take us to other cells. We did not mind this because in this way we got access to almost all the condemned people! God surely has His ways of doing things, even using those who think they are punishing you.”

Peter continues: “We made peace with the reality that God would either get us released or let us be killed. The outcome was fully in His hands and we placed our faith in His ultimate purpose. When the judge read the 45-minute long ruling, we sat there in peace waiting for whatever was to be. When he declared us free, I thought I was dreaming! I could not believe my ears! I looked at Michael and asked in disbelief, ‘Did he just release us?’ and he confirmed that I had heard correctly.

How we’re working in Sudan

Through partnerships with the local church, Open Doors equips church leaders in Sudan for different aspects of ministry, supports community development, and provides practical assistance to persecuted Christians. This includes literature distribution projects, theological and discipleship training and trauma care training, Standing Strong Through the Storm training to help believers to stand firm through persecution, and community development projects.

Stand with your church family in Sudan:

Pray: Use the prayer points below. Perhaps you could ask your church or small group to pray for Sudan too.
Speak out: While Michael and Peter are now free, there are other pastors in prison in Sudan today. If you would like to speak out on their behalf, please email and we will provide you with more information.

Pray now…

  • Praise God for answering our prayers for Peter and Michael, and that God was able to use them to reach many in prison with the gospel
  • That all the Christians imprisoned in Sudan would know God’s strength, comfort and wisdom
  • For a fair judicial process, and that charges against the imprisoned Christians will be dropped
  • That all those involved in the cases against these pastors would come to know and love Jesus for themselves.

We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.