Rev William Lobo and children“I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord,…” (Psalm 40:9-10)

I am Rev. William Jada Daniel Loro, the current moderator of Equatoria Presbytery in the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan.

Why I was in Khartoum, Sudan

I have been treated for the Hepatitis B virus since 2015. According to the doctor who first prescribed the medication in Egypt, I should have regular checkups at least every 6-12 months to monitor the effectiveness of the medication and to do an abdominal scan. I was late for my checkup due to financial constraints. By the grace of God, the church where I am serving helped me with money to do the checkup in Khartoum. I left Juba on Saturday, the 8th of April 2023, one day before Easter, reaching Khartoum that evening. On Sunday morning I celebrated Easter in one of the Episcopal churches near where I was staying. The following day I went to the hospital with my friend Michael Angelo Modi. The checkup went well, the doctor commenting about the really good test results. The only test remaining was the viral load, which the Al-Faisal specialized Hospital doesn’t have, so the doctor sent me to the nearby Al-Fidel Hospital. There I was told to return after one week to collect the results. So on Saturday I went to Khartoum city to meet my friend Michael, and to get the results. At 9:00 am I received a call from where I was staying that there were gunshots in the Souba area, where Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have been based. Before the conversation finished I heard gunshots in the military command site not far away. Immediately people begin to run in different directions, especially to bus stations. I and my friend tried to reach our bus station. Unfortunately, since drivers had fled to safety, there were no busses. We wondered what to do then. We ran to Khartoum Christian Center (KCC), a Pentecostal church. KCC was the center we used to worship in before the separation of South Sudan from Sudan in 2011. It is closer to the presidential palace than to the RSF command area. The area was controlled by the RSF, but the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) was fighting them. We knocked on the gate, but the gate keeper did not open for us. Near that church there was another hospital. Someone from the hospital saw us stranded at the gate and called us to enter the hospital, because bullets might hit us, as firing was now everywhere.


Inside the hospital we saw a tank coming from nowhere trying to go to the palace, but resistance forced it to retreat. Shooting intensified. Fortunately, one of the KCC pastors called me, wanting to know where we were. Having learned that we could not enter the church. He called the pastor in charge of KCC, who called the gatekeeper to open the gate for us, so we entered. Warfare increased, now involving jets, and artillery, as well as tanks. We and four others spent three days inside the church, traumatized and panicky, not knowing what to do. We hoped that the fighting would diminish so that we could find a way to go home, but fighting kept getting worse. Tanks were now moving past the church and shooting increased. Inside, lack of food was a problem. We couldn’t sleep well because of gunfire, and people were worried about us. We were worried about ourselves, not being able to predict what would happen in the next minutes and hours!

Through all this, we were praying with all confidence that God is the only protector and safe place for us. People in Juba prayed, and ministry partners in USA prayed through Jim Sutherland and his wife, who distributed our prayer requests to those who seriously prayed.

Divine Arrangement

People think that a miracle is only when God raises the dead, opens the eyes of the blind, or heals the sick. God is doing miracles every day in our lives, but due to our human limitations we can’t see it. Beyond doubt, I have seen the hand of God working in our situation, in the midst of war. Many people were killed by stray bullets. The medical commission estimated that more than 500 people have died and more than 4,000 have been injured as of today. The KCC church was in the contested area around the presidential palace and government army headquarters.

During the 3 days sheltering in the church, God was the One providing something to eat through the pastor, who was by phone directing the watchman to check for some biscuits (cookies), to add to some rice and flour that we had. I have learned a lot from God--things in God’s word we might not understand unless we have been put into such a situation. I have come to appreciate the goodness of God in deliverance, first seen when God used the pastor of KCC to have the gate opened for us.

How did God get us out from the Church?

After being inside for 3 days, and after much prayer and intercession, God prompted us to leave the church. Fighting was intensifying and could (and did) get worse in the coming days. We realized that, OK, we have prayed enough. Should God have to come by Himself to hold our hands and lead us out? That was possible, but we needed to take a step of faith and walk out of there ourselves. My friend and I got courage, and decided to leave. Before doing that, we surveyed by phone people who had been able to get home from Khartoum’s center, after being trapped, like us. The information we got was positive. Finally, at about 3 pm, we left and walked a long distance, since there were no cars available, toward an area called Arkaweit. Along the road we saw a man lying dead, probably from gunfire. This increased our fear, but God encouraged us to just continue walking. We reached an area where the SAF controlled. Soldiers asked us where are we came from. We answered that we were caught up in Khartoum when the war started. They helped us by directing us to a safer road, and we continued walking until we reached Arkaweit, not our final destination but at least far from the palace and army headquarters. We slept there one night and in the morning we took a bus to Hajusef, which was my base when visiting Khartoum. I arrived that evening. People there could not believe it. Along the road I saw a tank still in flames.

The next challenge was how to get back to Juba. l looked for my medicine, which I was not supposed to stop for any reason, but it but could not be found, adding more worry. So I decided to take advantage of the festival of Eid al-Fitr, at the end of Ramadan, which the two warring parties would respect by a ceasefire of at least 3 days. It was the first of the holy days, Friday, April 21. I went to the nearby bus station for a bus to the main station, from which I could travel to other states in Sudan. Fortunately, I got the bus to the main station, despite most of the petrol stations being closed due to fighting.

By God’s grace I got a bus going to Renk, South Sudan, near the border of Sudan and South Sudan. Our bus reached Rabak at about 4:00 pm, and from there we took another bus to Juoda al Junobia, at the border. From there we proceeded to Renk, arriving about 9:00 PM. This is 450 kilometers (280 miles) by road south of Khartoum. Where to sleep at this time? I hired a three-wheel rickshaw to the Episcopal church guest house, where I met three young men celebrating Eid. They were willing to show me the guesthouse, but no room was available. They offered to take me to their friend Sayad, who could accommodate me for one night. That friend happily took me in and I slept comfortably till that Saturday morning, eight days into the crisis. I wanted to attend worship at one of the Arabic-speaking congregations on Sunday, then leave for Falagh where I could get a flight to Juba. While planning this, I received a call from somebody who was told by one of my pastor friends that I was on my way to Falagh. He asked if he could help me get the flight to Juba. Here I saw another divine arrangement. Immediately I went to the station to catch a bus from Renk to Falagh. The road was rough, with lots of dust. By God providence we reached Falagh late in the night, despite our Toyota Land Cruiser having trouble with the left front wheel overheating. The man who was waiting for me took me to his guesthouse and showed me where to sleep. In the morning, April 23, he took me to the airstrip and registered my name with people going to Juba, where I arrived safely that Sunday afternoon. Even now, there are people in Falagh who are coming back to Juba from Khartoum, but there aren’t enough flights to take them. Some sleep there for days, but thank God it did not take days to come to Juba.  

Lessons learned from the incidence

First of all, I thank God for taking me to Khartoum, though He knew in advance what was going to happen. He allowed me to witness what I witnessed to glorify His name. This experience humbled me, as I considered my life in this world to have been ended. I have seen many people better than myself dead or wounded, but I am safe. This is not because of anything else but the prayers of the saints, which agreed with His will. I have learned that life in this world without Christ is just meaningless, because this world is not our safe place. God is the One who permits life to exist for His own purpose. Through these experiences my life has been revived and I see prayer as the necessity to be offered for those who are suffering all over the world. This situation helped me to see God’s hand in the situation of war.

Let us continue to pray for Sudan, especially for the church to be strong and protected from the evil of the war.

Finally, I thank all those in South Sudan and the United States of America who have been praying for me, that God may continue to use you in this ministry of prayer, to be a blessing to many in this evil world.

I hope this simple account of what God has done encourages the faith of those who will read it, and encourages those in the ministry of prayer that the prayers of the saints are not in vain.

This is for the glory of God.    

Rev. William Jada Daniel Loro, Moderator of Equatoria Presbytery
Presbyterian Church of South Sudan

  RMNI provided a year’s supply of his hepatitis meds upon his return home.