Thanks to Baptist friends in Texas, 39 pastors in South Sudan now have bicycles to make regular visits to their multiple congregations.
Pastors in South Sudan often serve four to seven churches in an “expansive area and vast territory,” said Saphano Riak Chol, presiding moderator of Faith Evangelical Baptist Church in Juba.
“The Pastors Bicycle Transport Project has been concluded. All 39 bicycles have been procured, and 26 of them have been successfully delivered.”
The 13 remaining bicycles will be delivered “when the road conditions and security improve.”
Texas Baptist Men learned of the need in late 2022 and quickly responded with funds for the project. The South Sudan church purchased the bicycles in Kenya, and they are designed for the rugged roads and needs of the pastors.
“One of the most impactful actions of a pastor is to visit people,” said Rand Jenkins, senior director of advancement at TBM. “The bicycles TBM donors provided to the pastors in South Sudan will enable them to visit more people and change more lives in their communities.
“Mobility in South Sudan is difficult and expensive. Yet meeting with the communities in which a pastor serves is vital to Christian community. Giving these pastors a mode of transportation will help change lives in the region.”
Moderator Chol said the pastors are “highly grateful and are now getting to do the ministry effectively because they have the means now to reach the communities. We have many congregations with few pastors. … The bicycles have come in very handy.”
‘Tool for a healthy hobby’
In the United States, “a bicycle is often a tool for a healthy hobby,” Jenkins said. “In South Sudan, it’s a vital means of daily life and transportation. Providing pastors in South Sudan with bicycles enables them to impact their community in greater and deeper ways.”
The project originated as a request through Baptist World Aid, one of TBM’s international partners.
“BWAid relates directly with indigenous Baptist groups around the world,” Jenkins said, “providing a connection with churches that often do not have other relationships with the United States.”
Support of the South Sudan project was an unanticipated ministry need, Jenkins said, “but when it surfaced we felt TBM supporters would like for us to step into this gap. Ongoing financial giving to TBM made this possible, and it is yet another means TBM has taken to promote the advance of Christ’s Kingdom work.”
“Prayer support is also an important part of our TBM work,” Jenkins said. “I believe it is our ongoing commitment to prayer that brought this need to our awareness in the first place. It’s one of God’s great means of connecting his purposes with his resources.”