Far Reaching Ministries
Far Reaching Ministries (FRM), founded in 1998, is an evangelical Christian missionary and humanitarian 501(c)(3) organization. Ongoing funding and support is provided by individuals, churches, businesses and private foundations.
In 1996, Pastor Wes Bentley, Founder and CEO of Far Reaching Ministries (FRM), began serving as a missionary in the war torn regions of Bahr El-Ghazal, Western Equatoria, and the Nuba Mountains (Southern Kordofan). Two years later, FRM began working with South Sudanese refugee camps, primarily in Kiryandongo, Uganda. Offering love and hope to orphans and widows who had lost their families, FRM served the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of those most affected by ethnic and religious cleansing.
In July 1997, the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) met with the New Sudan Council of Churches (NSCC), in the historic Kejiko Dialogue. The SPLA recognized the fragmenting of its ranks due to tribalism, crimes of violence against civilians, and other abuses of power. The SPLA called upon NSCC (now integrated with the Sudan Council of Churches and referred to as SCC) to establish a chaplaincy program. The NSCC agreed and began searching for partners and donors.
In 1998, FRM began working with South Sudanese refugee camps, primarily in Kiryandongo, Uganda, offering love and hope to orphans who lost their families through genocide, famine and disease. Being displaced by decades of violence, FRM serves the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of those most affected by decades of ethnic and religious cleansing.
That same year, Pastor Bentley trekked into the Sudan bush with a Captain in the South People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). Over a hundred and fifty soldiers responded to an invitation to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to be born again, and the vision for a chaplaincy program was born.
In 1999, FRM launched their first chaplaincy training program in Nimule, South Sudan, after meeting with the Governor of Sudan’s South Kordofan (Nuba Mountains), Abdul Aziz. By February 2000, FRM was mandated the official Biblical training arm of the SPLA Chaplaincy Program by the Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (SRRC). As of August 2011, nearly 350 men have been trained and deployed as chaplains.
Chaplains are taught verse-by-verse through the entire Bible. The Bible training curriculum is instructor led by senior chaplains and pastors from America volunteering to go to Sudan each year to teach these brave men of God.
Upon graduation, chaplains are deployed to front line battle unit, as well as non-combat units. Chaplains deployed to front line combat zones promote human rights, ensure the well-being of prisoners of war (POW), serve as clergy to wounded or dying soldiers, evangelize, disciple Christian soldiers, teach bible studies, conduct church services, as well as serve as spiritual mentors and counselors. Chaplains are responsible for advising commanders, when called upon, for religious and ethical issues. Chaplains also function as clergy in villages, assist wounded and dying civilians, assist in humanitarian efforts, plant churches, teach bible studies, hold evangelical outreaches by showing the Jesus Film, and conduct church services.
Currently we have over 70 chaplains deployed to the Nuba Mountains region. Nuba Mountains has been a hotspot for decades and is known for some of the most severe fighting in Sudan. The terrain is rugged and undeveloped so we developed a Camel Corp program to better enable chaplains to travel throughout the Nuba region.
In 1999, our sister company, Far Reaching Ministries Aviation (FRMA), started a program called Rabuna Fi, which means “God is here” in Arabic, a common Christian greeting in South Sudan. Rabuna Fi is primarily an evangelical Christian discipleship program teaching women to study the Bible and better understand the foundational beliefs of Christianity. In addition to discipleship, Rabuna Fi runs programs to teach women literacy skills, income generation skill, tailoring skills, and a program to help underprivileged children get an education through an ongoing program called Love Covers.
In July 2008, FRM was awarded a Certificate of Registration for Faith Based Organizations by the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) Ministry of Gender, Social Welfare and Religious Affairs.
Today, FRM has 400+ team members deployed across 10 countries living out their faith by sharing the hope we have in Christ Jesus, discipline believers, and assisting those in need or peril, and working with those desiring to break the unrelenting cycle of violence and poverty.
He was born in Darfur and came from a Muslim family. When Wes shared the vision for the FRM chaplaincy program with him, even though the governor was not a Christian, Governor Aziz said, “Wes, the Nubian people did not convert to Islam. We were conquered and forced to accept Islam. Maybe it is time for us to look back to our Christian roots.” Governor Aziz sent 32 of his men to train as chaplains with FRM. They were trained and then returned to the Nuba region.
A year and a half later, Wes and Governor Aziz met again in the Nuba Mountains. The governor said, “Wes, the 32 men you trained are the best 32 in my army! I want you to take another 50 men.” At the time, FRM could only afford to train 20 men; but, over the years, they have continued to pull men from each class to fulfill that region’s need.
By February of 2000, FRM was mandated the official Biblical training arm of the SPLA chaplaincy program by the Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (SRRC). Upon graduation, chaplains are deployed to frontline battle units, as well as non-combat units. Chaplains deployed to frontline combat zones are responsible for ministering to both soldiers and civilians. Aside from teaching Bible studies and conducting church services, chaplains become spiritual mentors and counselors to many people. As a soldier, they are tasked with looking out for human rights, ensuring the well-being of POWs, and (when called upon) advising commanders concerning religious and ethical issues. They are extensively involved in evangelism and outreach (like presenting The Jesus Film and planting churches in villages). They also assist in humanitarian relief and minister to the wounded, as well as those that are dying.
In 2003, FRM planted an evangelical Christian church in Nimule, South Sudan. Today, over 1,000 local villagers attend each week. Additional thriving church plants include Pagari and Loa. FRM plans on planting two new village churches across Southern Sudan each month starting in 2015.
In July 2008, FRM was awarded a Certificate of Registration for Faith Based Organizations by the GoSS Ministry of Gender, Social Welfare and Religious Affairs.
As of June of 2012, approximately 400 men had been trained and deployed as chaplains, and each year this number increases with each new graduating class. The chaplaincy corps graduates have earned a reputation among the Islamic enemy forces for being brave and fearless. The Jihadists call the chaplains, “The army of God that is not afraid to die for their faith.” Wes thinks of them as David’s elite “mighty men of valor”; men who count their lives only worth living to glorify Christ and fulfill His Great Commission.
Although FRM was initiated in Southern Sudan and Northern Uganda, we now operate in the following countries:
- Uganda: In 2002, FRM was registered as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). The following projects have been supported by FRM:
- Calvary Kampala: Registered as its own entity in 2009
- Calvary Fort Portal
- Calvary Entebbe: Registered as its own entity in 2010
- Tender Trust Orphanage: Kitgum, Uganda
- Kitgum Infant Orphan Care Center: Kitgum, Uganda
- Northern Uganda Community Based Action for Children with Disabilities: Kitgum, Uganda
- Family Empowerment Ministries: Masindi, Uganda
- Rabuna Fi Vocational Training Center: Masindi, Uganda
- Kenya: In 2002, FRM registered as a Religious Society/Trust. The following projects have been supported by FRM & FRMA
- Calvary Nairobi: Nairobi, Kenya
- Calvary Thikia: Thikia, Kenya
- Calvary Mombasa: Mombasa, Kenya
- Calvary Congo: Democratic Republic of Congo
- Rabuna Fi Women’s Program: Biblical instruction, prayer, and income generation activities
- Congo: Democratic Republic of Congo
- Cape Town, South Africa
- Undisclosed Closing European Countries
- Undisclosed Closed Asian Countries
- Undisclosed Closed Middle Eastern Countries
- United States
FRM’s global strategic objectives include, but are not limited to:
- To fulfill the biblical mandate given by Jesus Christ, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15)
- To pierce the darkness of sin in this world with the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, through discipleship, using all resources donated
- To demonstrate faith by works, providing those things which are necessary for the body (James 2:18) such as food, clothing, and shelter, in the name of Jesus Christ (James 2:16)
- To challenge and edify the body of Christ by making known the trials and needs of its members worldwide, so that through prayerful support, we may Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies. (Hebrew 13:3)
Candidates for the chaplaincy corps are taught verse by verse through the entire Bible in one year, requiring them to complete two books of the Bible every two weeks. The Bible training curriculum is instructor-led by senior chaplains and pastors from America that have volunteered to go to Sudan to teach in consecutive two-week sessions.
Chaplain candidates start their days with 90 minutes of physical training, including a pre-dawn run Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Corporate prayer commences at 5:00 AM and ends at 8:00 AM on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Breakfast is followed by six hours of Biblical classroom studies and two hours of personal study, five days a week.
Each candidate participates in practical ministry training throughout the entire week. Candidates are divided into four groups and rotate through local villages, visiting hospitals, jails, etc. Each group’s training officer gives assessments of the competency of the individual students, after three months of service, and once every module is complete. Candidates are required to demonstrate proficiency in all practical ministry opportunities in order to graduate. These opportunities include:
- Evangelism and Teaching
- Children’s Ministry
- Counseling and Visitation
- Women’s Ministry
Upon graduation, chaplains are deployed to frontline battle units with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), as well as non-combat units. There, they are responsible for ministering to both soldiers and civilians. Aside from teaching Bible studies and conducting church services, chaplains become spiritual mentors and counselors to many. They are tasked with looking out for human rights, ensuring the well-being of POWs, and (when called upon) they advise commanders concerning religious and ethical issues. They are extensively involved in evangelism and outreach (like presenting The Jesus Film and planting churches in villages). They also assist in humanitarian relief and minister to the wounded, as well as those that are dying.
Far Reaching Ministries has 75 chaplains deployed to the Nuba Mountains region. Nuba Mountains has been a hotspot of violence for decades and is known for some of the most severe fighting in Sudan. The terrain is rugged and undeveloped so Far Reaching Ministries developed a Camel Corp program to better enable chaplains to travel throughout the Nuba region.
To date, Far Reaching Ministries has had 13 team members die in the service of the Lord. Some killed during the north-south war, with four being killed by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). One American has died while serving in Sudan.
FRM hosts annual refresher courses for ongoing education. The chaplains are resupplied with teaching materials, and to receive new field equipment and supplies.
Tensions between Northern Sudan (GoS) and Southern Sudan (GoSS) continue to be high. Northern Sudan has continued bombing oil rich regions in South Sudan, most of which are along the heavily disputed border established during the CPA. The escalation of violence and impending humanitarian crises in the Nuba Mountains, Darfur, Blue Nile and Abyei regions continues to intensify. Satellite images show that the GoS is amassing tanks, helicopter gunships, and extending a runway for an escalated military offensive (genocide). The work of the SPLA chaplaincy program continues to train and equip new chaplains and to provide on-going education and materials (Bibles, teaching aids, The Jesus Film sets, etc.) to existing chaplains.
Far Reaching Ministries supports five international Bible schools. Their primary school in Nimule, South Sudan, trains and equips Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) Chaplains and evangelical Christian pastors ministering to the continent of Africa.
Goals include planting churches in every country that we have been called.
Train and equip pastors from every tribe and language in Africa. Through pastoral training programs, national missionaries are trained and sent out to establish churches.
Activities include education, Bible training, medical outreach and awareness programs, and caring for orphans.
Activities include financially supporting orphanages and schools in Sudan and Uganda for children between the ages of birth through adulthood. Their primary goals for each project are to equip vulnerable school age children with an education for a more successful future. Regular Bible studies are held at each location. Curriculum is adapted for each specific age group.
Self-Sustaining Farming, Development & Training:
Individuals and families, including children, are taught through a hands-on approach the techniques of developing and maintaining simple agricultural activities. This endeavor provides enough for basic food needs. Once agriculture techniques are mastered and provide a surplus, they are taught to generate a small income to supplement for other family necessities.
Working with existing institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGO) to combine resources for more effective outreach.
Provide relief and aid in the forms of food, clothing, shelter and medical attention for those in need.
Income Generation & Literacy Training:
Activities enable women to be self-reliant. Women are trained to make crafts, read, and tailor, so that they will be able to provide for their families.
Human trafficking is a global crisis that affects men, women, and children, with an estimated 27 million victims. 80 percent of them are women and girls, and 50 percent of those are children. The largest industry of human trafficking is sex slavery. Most victims are women and young children. Victims are abducted, kidnapped, or coerced into believing a job/education awaits them. FRM is building global awareness and encouraging individuals and churches to get involved to bring an end to this global crisis.
Activities include educating the Western public about poverty, health, medical crises, and the persecution of evangelical Christian believers around the world. Sensitize young people, girls especially, and families to threat of human trafficking.