Fear gripped Jasmin as she sat on the plane that was taking her back to Sudan. A month before, she had promised herself she would never go back. Now she was willingly returning.
Three and a half years ago, Jasmin accepted a call to work in the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Sudan office as the finance director. It was a fitting position. She has 20 years of experience in finance and has served 15 years with ADRA. Prior to her post in Sudan, she had served in Sri Lanka, Mongolia, and Papua New Guinea. Sudan was not her first hardship posting; she had no illusions that it would be easy.
When Jasmin arrived at the ADRA compound in April 2018, there was no gas, no reliable running water, and no source of electricity. In April, temperatures can still reach as high as 41 C (106 F). With limited access to water and no air conditioning, the heat is oppressive.
The challenges didn’t stop there. In 2019, a coup ushered in a period of instability, violence, curfews, and uncertainty about what each day would bring.
Why did Jasmin stay in such difficult circumstances?
“It’s the mission,” she said. “Generally, the Sudanese people are very good people. I feel loved by them. I know that they are there for me. Every time I found myself discouraged, I would go to the field to see the situation. With that, you’re motivated again to continue. We don’t preach there, and we don’t share the Bible. But at least if they can see some good in the expatriate Adventists, they will see God through that.”
Beginning in 2021, a series of events, including a lawsuit against ADRA Sudan, made it clear that ADRA’s reputation and ability to continue its lifesaving work were under attack. The instigating individuals targeted Jasmin because of her influence in the office.
“They knew they could shake the organization if they succeeded in taking me out,” Jasmin said. “Things reached the point where I was no longer sure of my life.”
As soon as she could, with the help of vigilant colleagues, Jasmin boarded a plane for home. But once home, she experienced a growing conviction that she needed to return.
“You know, if God is with us, who can be against us? I have a favorite text, Jeremiah 29:11. ‘For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ It’s a text I cling to. God will not give me harm. If something bad happens to me, it’s for His ministry,” Jasmin said.
After Jasmin’s return to the ADRA Sudan office, she worked diligently to find a suitable replacement for her role. It was during this time that the court ruled in favor of ADRA Sudan and dismissed the lawsuit. ADRA Canada continues to work in partnership with ADRA Sudan to bring lifesaving aid and education to remote and conflict affected areas of the country.
“Other forces might try to destroy an organization whose intention is to serve those in need,” Jasmin said. “But then, they can’t actually destroy an organization whose mission is led by God.”
The original version of this story was posted on the February 2022 issue of Canadian Adventist Messenger.