The Dinka of Sudan
A missionary entered a small Bible school in Khartoum, Sudan. He approached the class of 24 students, including members of the Dinka tribe. Interested in seeing what the students were learning, he asked the class of young evangelists to tell him how he could become a Christian. “None of the 24 could tell me!” he exclaimed in dismay.
Unfortunately, although many of the 2,800,000 Dinka in the North African country of Sudan have been evangelized, much of what they know is head knowledge about Jesus, rather than clear understanding of what accepting Christ is all about. They are in need of sound Christian teaching and Christian compassion.
The Dinka are a tall, thin and very dark skinned people who are found mostly in southern Sudan along the Nile River and into the countryside, generally to the west. There are about five distinctive groups of Dinka. They are the largest people group in the south and make up about ten percent of Sudan’s total popu-lation. Despite this fact, however, they are looked down upon by many other Sudanese, particularly those with lighter skin. They are also rejected by other Sudanese people because of their leadership in the civil war that has ravaged the country for over a decade. The Dinka make up a majority of the rebel army, and in fact John Garang, the rebel leader, is a Dinka.
In this Islamic nation, the Dinka are also rejected because they are Christians, although many claim to be Christians only so they will not be identified as Muslim. Many are Catholic and have mixed Christianity with traditional African religions, while some still follow animistic practices.
The Dinka are traditionally cattle herders. They give their cows names, and sometimes a herder will take the name of his favorite cow and prefer to be called by that name. They are a poor people and the Islamic government in Sudan has limited their opportunities even more.
The civil war in Sudan has been hard on the Dinka. Many families have at least one relative who was killed while fighting the government forces. Even if a Dinka is not involved in the war, people automatically assume he is a rebel just because he is a Dinka. Some Dinka herds have been taken by renegade bands with no clear indication of whose side they are on. The Dinka need to hear God’s message of comfort and compassion. They need to be reached with a clear, true message of Christ.
- Pray that the lost and suffering Dinka will be reached with the compassion of Christ.
- Pray for Christian workers who will go and work among the Dinka. Pray for clear Biblical teaching for all Dinka, especially those who are in training as Christian leaders and evangelists.
- Pray that Dinka Christians will be willing to lead other Sudanese to Christ. Pray that the Sudanese government will be more lenient towards missionaries and other Christian workers.
- Pray for an end to the civil war which has ravaged the land of Sudan for many years and killed many Dinka warriors.
- Pray that the Bible, which has been translated into the Dinka language, will be readily available to the Dinka.