March 2017: Burned Alive
It was early January when I received a call from Michael, our senior chaplain. He called to inform me of the deaths of two of our men, Gabriel Manyuon and John Deng. Gabriel had graduated in 2015, from the chaplaincy training program, and John was being field trained by Gabriel and would have been part of class eleven.
Michael shared this news that had come in from the front where one of the forward military units had been overrun by the enemy. From what we understand, there were wounded and dying men everywhere. Gabriel and John ran up trying to save other men’s lives when they were ambushed and killed, or so we thought. However, when the military was able to retake the overrun position, they found that John was still alive though he was critically wounded. He was transported to a hospital for treatment, but the medical care at the front is ill-equipped to care for critically wounded patients and far from what you would find in the western world. I know from my experience that John’s chances of survival were not good, but we prayed and hoped God would intervene. As a war zone, South Sudan is a very dangerous and hard place. Around the 21st of January, word came informing us that John had succumbed to his wounds and went home to be with the Lord. This was a difficult way to start the new year, but this was only the beginning.
On the 23rd of January, Michael called to inform me that Chaplain Peter Longar had been captured by the enemy and he was burned alive. He was on his way home to see his wife and two daughters when he fell into the hands of the enemy. What happened next, we can only speculate. When his remains were found, he had been bound and had firewood around his body. He was doused with fuel and lit ablaze.
Peter had graduated in June of 2015. He had been in the field a little over a year before he was killed. In the last 16 years, we have lost a total of 32 staff who have given their lives in the service of Christ. It is a hard fact to realize that we are no closer to this war ending. Sadly, this is going to go on. Yet, despite all the hardship, we are seeing many souls won for Christ.
The day I found out about Peter’s death, I just had to go home. The loss of too many men in too short of a time was overwhelming. I needed to be alone with the Lord and with my thoughts. Peter’s death was very difficult to handle because of the brutality of the nature in which he was killed. I shared this news with a few friends and Ken Graves sent me a message and I felt it was appropriate. He said that may you and I also go out in the same blaze of glory. It made me realize for a moment of pain, he will wear the robes of a martyr and a crown of glory for eternity.
It is my intention to build homes for the widows of Peter and Gabriel. This will not be a western style house—just bricks, cement and a sheet-metal roof. They will have two rooms with a causeway between the rooms. Most people in Sudan live in a mud hut with a thatched roof, these homes will be a great blessing to the families. The widows will also receive their husbands’ incentives (salaries) until they remarry. The cost to build each house is about $5,000, which is more than they would see in a lifetime.
I have included the photos and testimonies of Gabriel and Peter, but because John was a cadet in training, we had not yet recorded his testimony.
Peter Longar Manyuat
I came to the chaplains training program because Chaplain Peter Akech preached the Gospel of God to me and discipled me. He taught me Matthew 11:28 and he demonstrated daily how to love Jesus with all my strength. I wanted this same commitment in my heart. I joined the church and followed the examples I was given. As I came to learn the Word of God and began to go and proclaim to other soldiers, I realized God had a plan for my life.
When I arrived at the chaplain base, I was still shallow and selfish. I was not a good person. I told everyone that I was only going to stay for two weeks. God had one of the teachers share from Matthew 11:28, and my heart broke before God. Suddenly, God’s peace was upon me and my heart became transformed. Christ changed me. I thank God for increasing His Word in my heart through the chaplaincy program. I am so glad He kept me in the program.
I have two brothers and two sisters. My parents are still alive. My mother and father are born-again, and so are my two sisters and one of my brothers. My wife’s name is Bati. God blessed us with my two daughters, and I think God will give us another child. I ask for prayer for my ministry and for my family; especially for my brother who is an unbeliever in Christ.
Peter’s Favorite Scripture was Matthew 11:28:
“Come to Me, all [you] who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Gabriel Magok Manyuon
Before I became a Christian, I was not a good person. I often fought with other guys and stole many things from people. But now that I have Jesus Christ as my Savior, I left all those things at the Cross. I joined the chaplains’ program because God says in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” That is why I came; I came to get rest from my Father.
I have one brother and one sister. My father and mother are Christians. My father’s name is Abraham Manyuon and my mother’s name is Rebecca Anyich. My father has passed away. They accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and also led my brother, sister, and me to the saving faith in Christ Jesus. My siblings are all Christians and they still live at home. I am still single but I am praying God will give me a good godly wife.
Gabriel’s favorite scripture was Jeremiah 1:5:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
John Deng’s testimony will be known in eternity.
Chaplain Thomas in his testimony of these men’s lives spoke great and eternal truth when he said, “These men did not die in vain. They fought the good fight to the end and they laid their lives down so that others might live.”
If you would like to be part of building a home for each widow, please indicate “widow’s home” on the enclosed gift card along with your donation. Please join us in prayer as these women take on the monumental task of raising a family on their own.
Far Reaching Ministries