My Christian Faith – A Life Story


Rev Mahamoud Kalbash

My Background


I was born in 1967, to a Muslim family and I am one among seven brothers and sisters of one father and mother. I attended primary school from 1978 to 1984 in Um-Dorain, then Amiriya intermediate school from 1985 to 1987 and the  Comboni Sisters High school from 1997 to 1999. After that God sent me to study Bible Theology at Bishop Gwynne College from 1993 to 1995.
In my culture I am called Kodi, but my full name is Mahamoud Kalbash Angalo 
Tutu.

Kodi is the name traditionally given to a second boy born after a girl (Kaka) in the Moro tribe of Nuba Mountains that I come from in Sudan. I come from a place of a hundred tribes of the Nuba Mountains called Umwarang (Moro) in South Kordofan State in central Sudan. My home is Kurchi village in Um-Dorein county in Kadugli State. 

My Life before Christ

Before, I came to know Jesus Christ as my personal saviour; I was living a sinful life, fighting my colleagues in school and in the village with no reason. In the school I was a Muslim but at the same time a Christian by name, because my father registered me as a Muslim. But I had Christian friends who sometimes helped me with their Bible to read by night slowly by slowly, and sometimes asked me to go with them to church.

But when I was coming back from the church, always the headmaster who was a Muslim, would be sitting beside the road to search out the Muslim pupils who went to the church. Then he punished them. I was always among the pupils who suffered in his hands and it was repeated time and again. We Muslim students were beaten or slashed by machete but it did not deter me from going to the church, and it became our habit. It was because I received joy and peace just being in the church. This happened but I had not yet fully surrendered my life to Christ.

In school, I studied Islamic subjects just to pass the exams till my primary school level. At the same time, I was going to the mosque while I still attended church services. I remember in the church, my Christian colleagues gave me the chance to pray and even to preach. Inside, I was being torn apart by the double life that I was leading.

At home, things were not any better. However, I continued to go to church secretly without my father’s knowledge.  

To be a Muslim or Christian, so I did not know which way I should take and I am hearing the Bible saying if you are not saved Christ is coming or death is with us; so you can be "either in eternal life or hell".

The way to Christ

How come I got to know Jesus, having been born in a Muslim family, in a place with a lot of Islamic influence? In the year 1980 I was in my father's house during the school holidays and I remember very well the events of one particular night. Two church elders, Barnaba Kuku and Botros were singing nearby and their song touched my heart. The song went "Oh! You the world, Oh! You the son of Adam do not say there is no God, wake up and see if there is no God, who made all things in the earth……?" I woke up that night and began thinking of my life and path which I needed to take. To cut short long testimony now I am a born again Christian, and through my faith in Christ brothers and sisters become believers of Christ.

Before I fully committed my life to Christ, something dramatically happened that convinced me to accept Jesus as my personal saviour. “One night in 1985, I was in my father’s house sleeping when I saw a vision of myself in my father’s garden not far away from our home. Suddenly a very strong light shone upon me and I began to run away from the light.” While I was running away, a voice shouted my name ‘Mahamoud! Mahamoud! Say that you are a Christian’ and the voice repeated that several times. Meanwhile, the light continued shining on me until I said ‘Yes I am a Christian’ then the light went away. I woke up feeling very strange, I remember. Meanwhile, the struggle was going on in my life, from within and from without.

In the year 1988, I decided to commit my life to Jesus Christ and I decided to make a public announcement of my decision to follow Christ and forsake the religion of my father (Islam) and in June, I was baptized. In April, 1989, I was confirmed as a member of Anglican Church under the late bishop Bolis Idris Tia in Omdurman Savior’s Church.

Challenges

Immediately after taking this decision, it was full-scale hostility from my father and neighbours. My father did not take it tightly and took it as an act of disobedience to him. During my journey of faith as a challenge from my father and some Muslim relatives they used to say,  "my son, you’re under our care till you get married then you will be responsible for yourself.” But now, you are either to obey us and stay at home or to be Christian leave home. These words tortured me severely as I felt like I was betraying my father.” And I remembered one day my father told me that “the Qur’an and the Bible could not stay together in one place, but he did not tell me to leave home.”   

The other challenge I had faced is from my close relatives, they would say to me “you will not be a Christian because you are under our authority until you get married then you will be free to decide where to be". I was very confused. I did not know which way I could go, whether the way of my relatives or the way of the bible, which was very clear that unless one is saved, they will have eternal damnation when Christ comes again. ” I was demoralized. I brought all these challenges before the Lord, who gave me strength, and brought Christian colleagues along my way, who encouraged me from the word of God. A lot had happened.

From then henceforth, I was able to stand despite the hindrances that stood in my way. Today, I am God's vessel, and for his glory I work very hard to win many souls for Christ's Kingdom.

A call to ministry

I thank God who brought me from darkness to his light and gave me the opportunity to become a partaker of the grace and mercy as His own son. God called his servant leaders in different ways and situations. When He called Jonah to carry the message of repentance to people of Nineveh; Jonah tried to hide from God and he fled by taking a ship going to Tarshish (Jon. 1:1-end). Another story is of Jeremiah who said I am only a child and not fluent or a good speaker (Jer. 4-19). My call came in a time when I was a student and I wanted to pursue my education. It happened that in the year 1989, when a lay–reader in the Anglican Church, called Abraham Asabet asked me to sit for an examination with other students to enable me join a Bible theological school. At that time, my eyes were focused on finishing my high school education and I did not want anything to interrupt that or stand in my way.

I told him to leave me alone since I wanted to complete my studies. That did not deter him. He kept insisting that I should go and sit for the exam. To please him I decided that I would sit for exam but would deliberately perform poorly so as not to qualify. I thought that nobody knew of this plan. As I was planning all this in my heart, I did not know that God had other plans and purposes for my future life (Proverbs19:21).

I remember one night I was in bed and I heard a song by small children singing and saying, ‘the church cannot grow without evangelists, pastors, lay-readers, or a bishop.’ The song was repeated many times until I woke up confused and frightened. I encouraged myself and prayed. In the morning, I told my family and friends what happened to me during the night. I called our church worship committee and they came and we prayed together. The scheduled day of the exams came and six candidates from my area were chosen to go and sit for the exam. Surprisingly, when the results came out, I was the only one out of the six who was picked to go and study Christian theology in Juba, (which is now in Southern Sudan) for three years. It was good that I was not married or engaged to any girl at that time. This made it easy for me to leave home and take the journey to start another phase in my life.

From that moment my life has never been the same from the day I made the decision to follow Jesus. I do not regret the decision and will never look back. I went and completed my studies from 1993-1996, and I obtained a certificate in Bible Theology (grade one), in Bishop Gwynne College. After graduation I returned to Khartoum in July 1996, and I remember my first assignment given in October, to take some funds and deliver it for construction in Kadugli diocese. Kadugli diocese was at a distance of many miles. I took a bus and on our way we had gone some distance when the two back tyres exploded because the bus was carrying too high a load on the back. Through the sufficient grace of God no one is injured in this incident. The second assignment was to choose where to be placed for my pastoral work as an evangelist. Because I came during the church crisis and I had been given two places to choose one from. A parish in Omdurman or Dilling parish in Nuba Mountains.  

The life in Christ and Ministry

Since I accept and surrender my life to Christ as my personal saviour in June 1988, up to date I will never ever look backward. It is my privilege to have a strong belief and hope with all God's revelations and visions to me which assured me that “when this physical body has passed away still I will have eternal life in Christ Jesus.” Not because I have done something right or good but by His grace and mercy I am saved and have confidence in His promises. So, when God returns again I will be with Him in His eternal Kingdom. I have hoped to see the place He has prepared for me, and those who wait for Him to come.

I have experienced a lot in my Christian ministry in my many years since God called me. I have met many challenges in my ministry but God has been faithful to me. One issue is the lack of education, African cultures and the shortcoming of missionaries who brought the bible to us; who did not tell our people the whole story. It was a good teaching but concentrating only on spiritual needs which left us with a question mark in other areas of our life. Right now, we are trying to teach our people, telling them the whole story and bringing the church back to life again. I thank God for enabling me to carry out this task, and using me to awaken the church for holistic ministry.

Goals and Objects

There are many reasons one can rejoice about the fact that the church should have an impact on history. However, when I look at thechurchofJesus ChristinSudanand inAfricaat large today, I see something disturbing. The church does nothing or makes no impact on the cultures and people around. Therefore, what I would like to be is “one that responds appropriately to God’s love and knows Him better through obedience, especially by obeying the scriptural command which Jesus called the most important, that of loving God with all of our heart, soul, and mind.”  

Looking forward to the future, church leaders need to be equipped with practical skills and resources that can enable them to live a life of self-reliance that brings hope to broken people and nations. They also need to be trained and empowered to fight poverty in the churches and the community. It will be great when I see the church return to the correct view of its mission, inspire a new vision for local ministry and empower believers to minister holistically in the world, as Christ would. I have full confidence that through cooperation with the church family, we will be able to develop and transform our diocese and the community around us.

The other thing for the church is to observe and respond to others' needs which can be described as spiritual, wisdom, physical and social. And my goals are: 

  1. The church should be obedient to God's plan and purpose.
  2. Equip people to serve by advancing the Kingdom of God.
  3. Equip church leaders with the practical skills and resources that can enable them to live out of a self-styled life of love and wholistic ministry that brings hope to broken people and nations.
  4. Training of church leaders in fighting poverty in the churches and in the community.
  5. Learning how leaders could administer and utilize the resources God’s trusted them with in the church.

As the Diocese of Kadugli is looking forward for transformation, this will give space to put the goals into practice and I'm sure there will be achievement of goals and development. Therefore, the church will begin to understand it’s role and to know God's intention and purpose. This will be essential when the church returns to a correct view of its mission, inspires a new vision for local ministry, and empowers believers to minister holistically in this world, as Christ would.

I believe in this saying that “the foundations for the church and community destructions are: Ignorance and Lies, which leads to death and slavery. But the foundations for the church and community development are: Knowledge and Truth, and these lead to freedom and a good life.”