Wineskins Archive

December 19, 2013

God Still Rescues (Mar-Apr 1998)

Filed under: — @ 10:25 pm and

by Peter Ladu Lasu
(with thanks to Sam Shewmaker for his assistance in getting Peter’s story)
March – April, 1998

God has always been at work in my life. I saw this when I was still in Sudan. I am a Sudanese by birth and have just graduated from the Nairobi Great Commission School. The things you are about to hear tell what happens in a country such as Sudan which has been at war for such a long time.

In Sudan, I went from a life of relative comfort to one of harassment, arrest, torture, starvation, despair, and hope in Christ; then release, danger, unspeakable horrors of killings, escape, and finally deliverance. In Southern Sudan, I had prospered as a young businessman, selling petrol, and owning a coffee store and several vehicles for transporting goods.

All was well in our family until one of my cousins left home to join the rebel movement, S.P.L.A., which opposes the Muslim government of Sudan. He left his wife and children which our family continued to look after. The government intelligence soon began to suspect that I was a rebel agent because I was caring for my cousin’s children. I was violently seized and taken to a military prison. The cell I was taken to was like a very small house with one room into which about 200 prisoners were packed. It was so crowded that there was no room to lie down and sleep except by shifts. We had to stand most of the time.

It was very dark except for one small opening in the roof which let in the light by day. We were only allowed to go to the bathroom once a day. Whenever the room was opened at night we knew that someone was being taken out to be tortured or killed. I was severely beaten over a period of five months. Every day, our breakfast was a different type of torture. Our number diminished, until there were only about 40 of us left in that room.

There was a certain military sergeant who was one of the guards who knew all the secrets about what was happening, but he was also a devoted believer in the Pentecostal church. He asked for permission to preach the gospel to us, and after struggling several months with the authorities to gain permission, he was given a chance. He was allowed to take us out for an hour once a week and we had fresh air, fresh food and even special food from his own house.

He knew all of us were going to die, and spoke to us with that in mind. He spoke of the second death and the importance of not receiving the second death. After that preaching, all of us repented of our sins and he prayed for us. He than gave us some small New Testaments to take back to our cell. From that day, I had no fear of the death we were waiting to receive, having fully given my life to the Lord.

During the fifth month of my imprisonment, I was reading my Bible one day as usual about three o’clock in the afternoon. I was reading from the book of Acts 12:1-20, the amazing way an angel came and took Peter out of the prison. I began wondering whether God might look down on another Peter—myself—and deliver me from prison. By this time I believed that God could do miracles if He chose to, and I was committed in my prayers. It was then my turn to sleep, and I prayed about this and went to sleep.

During the course of my sleep, before my turn to lie down was over, the door was opened and my name was called. At first I was confused because I was still thinking of Peter and the angel and the prayer I had prayed. But then I realized this is the way we were called to be executed, never to return to the cell. My turn to be called in the night had arrived.

The normal welcome to the office was to receive a slapping, or to be kicked or beaten immediately. Instead of being pushed to the floor, I was surprised that I was told to sit on the sofa. What was happening? The commandant of the prison began by apologizing for the beatings and keeping me in prison, and went on to say that their investigations had revealed that I was innocent, therefore they were releasing me immediately.

At first I could not believe him, and felt sure it must be a trick or a scheme of some kind. Getting out of that place seemed an impossibility. It took a lot of courage for me to ask him if he really meant what he was saying. He assured me he was serious, and advised me that there still might be those who would kill me, even after I was released, and that I should collect my things and leave and go to another place altogether.

There were heavy rains pouring down that night, but in spite of that, I went straight to my house that very night. I found that my mother had invited the church to come and pray for me in my house, and since there were heavy rains, they were not able to go back to their homes. At first they did not recognize me, as I had become so thin in prison. I had been quite heavy when I left them five months before, at about 180 pounds, but now I was down to about 120 pounds. They received me warmly and we rejoiced and prayed together.

I informed them that the commander had advised me to leave with the next convoy as it would be dangerous for me to stay in my home town. The convoy would leave in the morning for Juba. It was difficult for me to leave them so quickly and with the joy, we shared also the sadness of parting again. We prayed together, and they all prayed that the Lord who delivered me safely would continue to do so, through whatever lay ahead.

Early in the morning, I left my home, taking only a little money, and leaving everything else with my brother. I was heading to Juba from Yei with the convoy transport, a journey of about 100 miles, which should take a few hours. In actual fact, that journey took one month. We encountered land mines, shootings, and fighting along the way. On one day there was massive killing, about 270 people were killed. We had to bury them all in one grave.

We finally reached Juba, where I stayed for three days, recovering from every sort of shock and journey fatigue. Then I went on to Khartoum, where I was fortunate to find a job with the Danish embassy, as a driver for the Ambassador. I stayed there for two years until the Danish embassy was forced to close, due to the political pressures put upon western consulates by the Sudan Muslim government. The pressures were also felt by all Christians.

The Danish Ambassador generously helped buy a ticket for me to Egypt. In Egypt God was with me. I was able to find employment as a driver for a tourist company, and came to meet some members of the Church of Christ in that way. One of them, Mrs. Marty Lynn from Nashville, Tennessee, USA, put me in touch with the World English Institute, an evangelical correspondence course, in which I studied for two years while continuing my job. Mrs. Marty Lynn also introduced me to some elders in Nashville who taught me the fundamentals of Christianity. One of them talked to me about going to Bible school, and that he would be my sponsor. I had to consider whether to leave my job or not, and put myself in a position of trusting God for my provision. I thought about how God had delivered me from terrible agony, and now it was time to render service to Him.

In Nairobi at the Great Commission School, I was hit with another problem when my sponsor, L. E. Cranford, died. But thanks be to God, his widow continued to help me until I finished the two year course. Now I am equipped with the basic Bible training with an emphasis in missions. I now realize that I need to go a step further in my training in order to serve the people of Sudan very well.

There is no Church of Christ in Sudan. I would like to be able to continue my education, to enable me in the future to reach not only the poor and needy Sudanese, but also the educated not only within Sudan but those who are scattered throughout the world because of ethnic and political strife.

May God help me to rescue them, as He has rescued me.Wineskins Magazine

Peter Ladu Lasu

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