Global Insights | Parenting in South Sudan

We thought it would be inspiring to hear about how Christians parent their children in different parts of the world. There are many similarities in gospel-centred parenting world over, but there are also many differences depending on our cultural context. Read the introduction to this series here.

We’re excited to hear the story of a missionary couple living in South Sudan in this post. For safety purposes, they asked to remain anonymous.

Where do you live and what’s it like?

South Sudan. Amongst a rural people-group of agriculturalists in a remote and hilly region.

What are some of the challenges and opportunities that you face in Christian parenting because of your context?

We are missionaries here and so our days and life are shaped around telling our friends and neighbours about Jesus. The community is currently very open to us sharing the gospel so it is easy to talk of Jesus freely and openly both at home and around the villages. We are part of a team with other Christian families so all our daughter’s peers also know Jesus. Because our environment is so isolated we have a lot of control over what she sees and hears. There is no TV/internet or secular input aside from the local African traditional beliefs.
Some of the challenges include being away from a wider support network, such as Grandparents, to get advice/support. We are in a team of mixed nationalities, some of whom parent in quite different ways, so though we are all Christians this can be very challenging at times. Our daughter is often overwhelmed by attention from the local people who are fascinated by a little white girl with blond hair, which makes it a constant tension between loving and not offending our neighbours but also loving and protecting our daughter. It can also be hard to balance our ministry responsibilities alongside spending quality time with her, especially to stimulate and educate her when she must often play alone.

What do you do to encourage your daughter to love Jesus?

We pray for her, that she may know and love Jesus herself. However much we would like to, we can’t make it happen. We hope we demonstrate our own love of Jesus in our own lives, our marriage and our wider relationships. We do our own ‘kids church’ every week, sometimes twice weekly, where we sing songs together, read a Bible story and pray to God. Singing is something our daughter loves so it is easy to share Christian music with her e.g. Colin Buchanan*/Emu music. We try to include God in everything we do daily, so when out for walks we talk about the things Daddy God has made, or we explain when we are out telling Bible stories in the villages that it is so our friends can know King Jesus too. With limited resources we have found having ‘Beginning with God*‘ from the Good Book Company a helpful resource.

It’s so interesting to learn about parenting in different contexts. It helps us to analyse our own contexts where we our bringing up our children. We hope you’ve found this post inspiring and helpful.

Where we live in the UK we don’t have to worry about a lack of good Christian resources, or fear that our children will face isolation because of their faith/race. But we do face challenges like secular messages being communicated to our children through the internet, TV and even the school communities around them. Evangelistically there are challenges too, with many people being suspicious or apathetic to Christianity.

Reflect on your own context for a moment. What challenges and opportunities face you as you seek to live for Jesus and share your faith with your children?

We’d love to hear your reflections! Please fill in the form below to take part in the series yourself.

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