Pastor Stanley LoNathan
Pastor Stanley LoNathan (pronouced low-'nay-thun) is the founder of Sudan for Christ Ministries. A native of Yei, Sudan, Stanley was educated in Cairo, Egypt and is a graduate of Victory Bible Institute. With a calling to return to Yei and minister to the great needs of South Sudan, Stanley shares the love of Jesus through the many outreaches of Sudan for Christ Ministries.
Stanley and his wife, Vicky, have 3 children- Deborah, Daniel and Esli.
WATCH this recent message from Pastor Stanley!
This is Pastor Stanley's story... (VIDEO HERE via FEED THE HUNGRY)
(notated by missionary, Dreamland friend and supporter, Uche Izuora)
I traveled to Cairo Egypt in 1990 with several other students from the South Sudan on a government scholarship to study. After I graduated I could not come back home because of the war. Like many of my colleagues we didn't have anything to do, there were no jobs; the only jobs available were to work as house boys for the Egyptians. They were real task masters just like Bible days. The work was too much but I had no choice. Frustration drove me to alcoholism.
In 1994 UNHCR opened up their offices to help hundreds of the Sudanese people from the South who were caught up in Egypt to apply for a refugee status. I submitted my application with a lot of lies to prove that I was a political refugee. During the confusion and frustration of those days, I received Jesus as my Savior in 1994.
I received the call of God in my life in 1995 and I began to preach. The same year, I was called to the UNHCR office for my interview for the asylum. I did not go because all the information I gave on my application were false. I had applied before my salvation experience. The Holy Spirit spoke to me that now I am saved I cannot defend the lies I sent in. After that many doors to travel to the USA and Canada came but I could not travel because God had removed the desire and quest to travel abroad by all means from my heart.
After I got saved, I was introduced to a church where 90% of the congregation were foreigners from America, Canada and other parts of Western Europe. I became the leader of the Sudanese people worshiping in that Church. The pastor of that church, Pastor Dave Petrecue who has gone to be with the Lord was from Canada. One day the pastor called me to his office and told me that the Canadian Ambassador asked him to send all the Sudanese families worshiping in his church to the Embassy because interviews will be conducted for them and those who are successful will be resettled in Canada.
I was called to screen all the Sudanese families immediately. I did; and within four months all these people were resettled in Canada. Many of my friends, including myself were amazed that I did not include my name in that list. That list was like the List of Life, of Prosperity, a list of HOPE. However, I have never regretted the decision.
In 1996, I began to nurse the vision to return home to Sudan and to plant churches and Bible schools. So in 1997 I joined Victory Bible Institute in Cairo to prepare and equip me to be a blessing to my people. I graduated in June 1998. During the Bible school days God spoke to three of my colleagues to join me in the mission to Sudan. We departed Egypt in 1998 traveling through Uganda. Our plan was to stay in Arua, a border town in northern Uganda where we will be ministering in refugee camps before we would finally venture into Sudan, the civil war was still raging at this time and Sudan was a death zone.
We didn't know at the time that God was setting us up on a pioneering ministry to break the ground for other ministries to follow. When we arrived Uganda, we were detained at the airport in Entebbe for 8 hours before we were finally released; their reason was that we were spies from the government of North Sudan. The relationship between Uganda and Sudan was bad, such that both Embassies were closed. After a couple of days rest in Kampala we headed north to Arua and just one night in Arua, we were arrested and locked up by the police. In the cell, we were stripped bare, our shoes and all the money in our pockets were taken. Up till that moment none of us thought of returning to Egypt, though some of us had return tickets.
I have never been in a police cell since I was born, it was a shock to all of us but thank God we were together. We sang and prayed and the presence of God was and will always be in the police cell. The first day, the inmates were rough, demanding money or they would beat us up. Thank God by the following day they became our friends. But the worst was yet to come as the police told us on the third day that we were to be deported to South Sudan, we were afraid at first but then we didn't have any choice, so we trusted God, after all that was where He wanted us to be.
The police made sure we traveled all the way to the border. On arriving Yei, the SPLA (Sudan People's Liberation Army) authorities arrested us on allegation that we did not have proper documents to enter South Sudan. Our passports were taken and we reported at their office every day for one month to make sure we were not enemies of the Movement. Yei was not safe, we lived in bunkers most of the time, fighter planes dropped bombs twice or thrice daily and many people we knew died some of them were our disciples. God kept us alive and He continued to use us.
Two years later it became easier for foreign ministries and churches to come to Yei and we thank God for the grace He gave us to go through all the pains we experienced for His cause and glory. We have since hosted many foreign ministries. Our ministry, Sudan for Christ Ministries has always been a platform for ministry expression. We welcome those that want to come to south Sudan to fulfill God's call on their lives. We would be willing to assist them in any way possible to see Jesus honored with their visit and our partnership.