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Muslim students from Sudan's Darfur region are volunteering to work alongside a Sudanese Christian athlete and other believers to build new schools and a church in war-ravaged southern Sudan.

Olympic 1,500-meter competitor Lopez Lomong, who came to the United States in 2001 as a Lost Boy of Sudan, gained international acclaim for his advocacy on behalf of Darfurian Muslims during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. As a member of Team Darfur, he spoke out against the Sudan government's campaign to drive Darfur's residents off their land in the country's western region. Lomong was the most prominent Sudanese athlete at the 2008 Olympics, serving as the flag bearer for the U.S. team during the opening ceremonies.

But Lomong also dreamed of helping his remote village, which he had fled in 1992, by enabling southern Sudanese to build a new church there. Lomong partnered with Sudan Sunrise, a Kansas-based ministry that seeks reconciliation between Sudanese Muslim and Christian refugees. During the civil war, Sudan's government conscripted thousands of Darfurian Muslims to fight in the South, so animosity between Darfurians and southern Sudanese runs deep.

Sudan Sunrise founder Tom Prichard started his ministry among Sudanese in Kansas. Now his ministry works inside Sudan and Kenya. In late November, it brought together about 130 Sudanese Muslim and Christian youth in Nairobi, Kenya, for dialogue. "What we are doing is a catalyst to spur people. It is showing the character of Christ," Prichard said.

The event also featured Christian rapper Emmanuel Jal, a former Sudanese child soldier, and Valentino Achak Deng, whose story is the basis for Dave Eggers's novel What Is the What. The attendance of three Muslims from Khartoum, each of whom spoke ...

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January 2011

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