Pastor Kuot Ngor
Pastor Kuot Ngor’s passion for spreading the Gospel and converting people to Jesus Christ started with two men under a tree in South Sudan and has now blossomed into a vision of converting 1 million people to Christianity. This website is part of that effort.
Now Ngor, who is the pastor at Gladstone Community Church, splits his time between Kansas City and South Sudan as he continues his mission of spreading the word of God.
“God gave me a vision of (reaching) 1 million souls from the Dinka tribe (in South Sudan),” Ngor said. “They have been locked in by the devil for centuries. They don’t know anything else. All they know is to worship nature, worship their ancestors and their shrines.”
Ngor’s journey to that vision has several plot twists. When Ngor, who is now 50 years old, was just 16, he joined a rebellion army when war broke out between the Arabs and Muslims and African Christians.
“I was born in war, raised in war, participated in the war and finally I quit the war looking for a new life, after all, my friends, whom we started kindergarten together, and joined rebellion together were killed,” Ngor said.
His journey took him to Kenya where he became a born-again Christian and eventually to the United States and Kansas City in 1995 when he arrived as a refugee. The trip here was not a smooth one. Ngor said he struggled a lot and did not have any friends or people to mentor him in his new land. It got to the point where Ngor asked his parents back home to arrange a marriage for him. The marriage actually made things more “miserable” for Ngor, and the marriage ended in divorce.
Ngor then joined the United States Army in 2005 and was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq in 2007.
“I came back broken completely,” Ngor said. “My spirit was shattered.”
Ngor was looking for yet another new start when he started going to Sheffield Family Assembly of God. Ngor and his family eventually joined a church closer to their home, at the urging of his daughter, and became members of Gladstone Community Church. While he was there, Ngor got his first calling.
“Pastor called me into the office and he told me that ‘I feel there is a call upon your life. Why don’t you take my place?’ “, Ngor said. “I was doubting myself because of my previous divorce, but he told me ‘why don’t you let the board decide for you.’ So I was sent to St. Louis and they heard my testimony, my journey of being a Christian after being a child soldier, fighting for freedom for Christian in Sudan. They said, ‘We see your testimony is very strong. We will commission you.’ So I was commissioned.”
Ngor said he never planned on being a pastor, but when he was told by the other pastor that there was a call of God in his life, he accepted that.
Shortly thereafter in 2012, Ngor went to South Sudan to visit his parents and he got another dose of reality or the human suffering that was going on in the region.
“People were suffering to the point that I knew their suffering was a result of idol worshipping and not knowing the God who created them,” Ngor said. “I just continued to preach to them.”
Ngor’s first convert was his father. He went into the marketplace and found another older man who accepted Jesus. It was that man who gave Ngor a revelation.
“He looked at me and said, ‘Are you staying?,’ “Ngor said. “I said no, I’m going back to the States. He looked at me and said, “Son, you come here for only two, three days to melt our hearts and then disappear. Who do you think will be teaching us the Good News you are talking about, about the God you are talking about?’ It hit me like a brick, so I start to think what to tell this old man. I told him, let me go back to the United States, then when I come back, I’ll tell you what I can do.”
When Ngor returned home and told his current wife about what the man had said, she did not hesitate in her response that he had to return to South Sudan.
“She didn’t even give it a second thought,” Ngor said. “So I thought, if the wife agrees with you, then God is in this.”
Unfortunately, the church, which is a member of the Church of God Anderson Indiana, could not give him any financial assistance, but Ngor’s calling was strong and it was important to him to preach in this region of the world, not only because it was his homeland, but it is an area of the world, called the 10/40 Window, that has the least amount of access to the Christian message.
The 10/40 Window is the rectangular area of North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia approximately between 10 degrees north and 40 degrees north latitude. The 10/40 Window was often called “The Resistant Belt” and includes the majority of the world’s Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists. It is purported to have the highest level of socioeconomic challenges and least access to the Christian message and Christian resources on the planet. Many governments in the 10/40 Window were formally or informally opposed to Christian work of any kind within their borders.
“I went back and started a ministry under a tree with two people, then three, and then all of the sudden 500 under the tree.”Ngor said.
With this initial success, Ngor again went back to his church and asked to be treated and funded as a missionary. But the church refused.
“They told me that ‘we don’t send missionaries back to their own nations,’ ” Ngor said. “I told them that there was a benefit for me to go back to the country. I know the language, I know the culture, I can eat their food. I don’t have to learn everything all over again. That’s where I came from, and these people are suffering beyond suffering.”
This financial rejection did not detour Ngor, who says he was spurred on by his faith. He continued to travel back and forth to South Sudan, and the ministry which initially reaches 500 now has 3,000 members.
“They worship nature, trees, animals,” Ngor said. “They practice a lot of witchcraft, but when I came with the gospel, it went like wildfire. They started coming to Christ like crazy. It became overwhelming from two people, now we have 3,000 members.”
The initial plans called for two churches, including the mother church, which has 1,500 members. Ngor quickly realized two churches were not enough. People who would walk for 2 hours to get to a Sunday service wanted churches closer to their villages. More churches also meant a need to train more evangelists.
“I’m training about 21 evangelists that I assigned to those churches,” Ngor said. “The ministry only started in 2013 and we have 16 churches with over 3,000 members. The mother church alone has over 1,500 members.”
All of this expansion also meant that Ngor needed more resources. One of his financial prayers were answered by Norma Smith, who used to be a missionary to the Sudanese in Egypt and Sudan.
“When she heard about my ministry, she invited me to go and speak in her church, and she asked me what can I do to support you with your ministry?” Ngor said. ” I told her to just buy me a ticket so I will be able to go over there preach and come back, and that is what she has been doing all these years.”
Smith has an organization called African Hope Incorporated that not only funds Ngor but two other pastors, one in the Nuba Mountains, which is located in South Kordofan, Sudan and one in Malakal, which is located in the northeast portion of South Sudan.
With support growing, Ngor began to have bigger visions of what he could do, and this is when he had the vision in a dream to reach 1 million members of the Dinka Tribe.
“These are the people that God gave me the vision to reach and bring them to Christ,” Ngor said.
The Dinka are one of the largest ethnic groups in South Sudan, constituting about 20% of the population of the entire country, and the largest ethnic tribe in South Sudan. They belong to a group of cultures known as the Nilotic peoples, all of whom live in the southern Sudan. The Dinkas rely on cattle herding in the dry season and growing millet and other varieties of grains during the rainy season.
While in a Dinka market area, Ngor had his next revelation. If his ministry was going to continue to grow, he had to build a school.
“I went to the markets and restaurants,” Ngor said. “I was trying to eat something and there was a little leftover in my dish. When I pushed the dish away about 3 kids were fighting over the plate trying to get leftovers. So I looked around and thought, it is school time, why are these kids fighting over my leftovers. I investigated and realized that these kids are orphans from the civil war of 21 years, so their parents were killed over time.
“These kids are not going to school because they are being raised by a single mom. She cannot buy them uniforms or pay the school fees. So I started a school inside the church. I told them even if your child is naked and barefooted and you don’t have school fees and uniforms, just bring them to school.”
Ngor’s son and other friends collected cloth, and when mothers brought their children to school naked, they were clothed and put into a classroom.
“We taught those kids how to read and write and more importantly, we taught them how to pray,” Ngor said.
The school has added one grade a year and will be adding the 7th grade this year.
To complete his ministry and make it self-sustaining, Ngor’s goal is to promote modern agriculture to these people who live on a massive fertile and untapped land.
“I introduced our plow to start to cultivate food,” Ngor said. “Because of my initiative of doing that, the (tribe) gave me a land of 300 acres, fertile, dark black clay land and told me if you cultivate this, we will give you more land. So I am trying to create jobs for the widows because the rations the UN (United Nations) gives them is very small and they tools they use are hand tools, so they don’t produce enough crops.”
Future plans include getting water pumps and farm machinery into the area so that even more land can be farmed.
“If we have farming machinery, the ministry will create jobs for people, who will produce a lot of crops and they will support the ministry and it will go on and on,” Ngor said. “What I am trying to do is establish the ministry that can sustain itself.”
In the United States, Ngor wants to establish a mission where other American friends who are mission-minded Christians will be able to come with him and preach the Gospel to these people who are lost in the darkness.
“This is the vision I have, and I am trying to set up this website so other Christians will see, and if they have the same vision that I have then they will come in and pray for the ministry, support it in any way or make sacrifice and commitment to come with me and preach the Gospel,” he said. “These people are ready, I am ready and God is ready. Are you ready?”