I was born into a non-Christian family in Sudan but my father taught me during my childhood that there is only one God in heaven. He told me, “Don’t believe anything on the earth except ‘God in heaven'(kuoth nhual inNuer).”
It has been a privilege to experience racism because, as a devoted Christian, it has strengthened my own daily life and provided opportunities to share my God.
My first experience of discrimination was from my own parents, relatives and friends. There was little development in the remote areas around my town so in 1978 I traveled from Akobo to Khartoum, the capital city of Sudan, to find a job and better education.
Soon after arriving in Khartoum, I met with young friends, particularly southerners (black people from South Sudan), who told me about a centre called the American Mission or Comboni College operated by Italian and Egyptian Evangelical Christians. They said it was a good school so I joined immediately.
There I learnt the Ten Commandments and was baptized. I read Luke 24:47-48 where Jesus said to his disciples that repentance and forgiveness of sins was to be preached in his name to all nations.
God responded to my prayer by empowering me, by revealing his love, fellowship and harmony, so I decided to go back to Akobo to begin preaching to my family and friends.
On my return my people, including my own brother, launched a fierce attack on me saying, “This young man is mad and is urging us to believe white people’s God”. I was isolated and there was serious tension and the planning of evil things.
My family took me to court because I believed in God. They persecuted me by telling the elders in the community that I was lying and deceiving them by telling them they must believe in God.
Aware that Satan uses tricky strategies I simply responded to the severe situation with prayer. I kept on praying until God answered my prayers through my mother’s declaration, “Accept and believe the God of my son”. Then the rest of my family and friends came to believe in the Living God as I preached to them.
God reveals his love to us through his only Son Jesus Christ and allows us to experience difficult circumstances and, when we are tempted, overcome our temptations. God’s love and the power of the Holy Spirit can change hearts, minds and evil plans and bring people into fellowship and baptism.
John Deng Bol Yakuac is a member of the Bayside Uniting Church Congregation.