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One American family is risking death to rebuild the war-torn country of South Su

One American family is risking death to rebuild the war-torn country of South Sudan. Read Transcript


GEORGE THOMAS: William Levi was 18 years

old when radical Muslim soldiers confronted him about his faith.

I was asked to relinquish my Christianity

and become a Muslim, take guns and fight, and come and ravage

villages like this.

I say no way.

Mohammad, did not die for me, Jesus did.

GEORGE THOMAS: He was thrown in prison and tortured,

yet never lost hope.

Because I knew God was with me.

GEORGE THOMAS: Just as refugees flee the Middle East today,

Levi, too, left his homeland in 1985 finding asylum

and a new life in America.

But his escape from the clutches of jihad

was only the beginning of an odyssey that eventually brought

him, his American wife, and children back to his war

torn nation.

On our wedding day, she say-- she read a scripture,

she say your people will be my people.

Where you go, I will go.

And where you die, I'll die.

GEORGE THOMAS: That was 14 years ago.

Since then?

Is this an adventure?

GIRL: Actually, we're right in the middle of, basically,

a bush.

GEORGE THOMAS: Are those poisonous?


That's deadly.

BOY: Oh, a scorpion.

It is definitely on the edge of the jungle.

We feel like we're always pushing back the jungle.

GEORGE THOMAS: With his six children in hand--

Even right now, like we're in the middle of a war.

GEORGE THOMAS: --6,500 miles from America.

This place is a fertile and developing nation that has only

been around for five years.

GEORGE THOMAS: The Levi's home away from home

is a parcel of land in a remote village of South Sudan.

Why do you come here?

We come here to help my parents.


And why do your parents come here?

Because they come here to help people that are sick.

GEORGE THOMAS: In between home schooling and raising

their children, the Levis run Operation Nehemiah,

a Christian organization helping South Sudan rebuild

from the ashes of war.

We believe that Christ is worthy of the worship of South


GEORGE THOMAS: One of the first things

they did when they moved here was to start a church.

Mind you there wasn't a soul in at least a 5, 10 mile radius.

In fact, this entire area was literally the bush.

But all these years later, more than 10,000 folks

have moved into the community, many

of them hearing the Gospel for the very first time.

Operation Nehemiah also runs a brick

making factory, agricultural development initiatives,

and other numerous projects all in an effort

to rebuild the local economy and empower war weary residents.

As the Bible say if you don't work, you can't eat.

So people are beginning to create sustainable

living for themself.

GEORGE THOMAS: Levi's goal, rebuild South Sudan one family

and one village at a time.


Operation Nehemiah provides clean water

to tens of thousands of villagers.

They also run a medical clinic.

And in 2003, they started the first ever radio station

in the area reaching listeners with Christian music

and messages of reconciliation.

To give you a sense of the magnitude of challenges facing

the Levi family, you just have to take a ride down this road.

Actually, it's not even a road.

It's a dirt pathway.

Five miles back in that direction

is the headquarters of Operation Nehemiah.

In this direction is the Levi house.

They have literally built their home in the middle of the bush.

And getting there involves a bone jarring ride

to a small house at the foot of a mountain range.

In between school, chores, Bible studies, and church activities,

the Levis also cultivate 200 acres

of land growing all kinds of fruits and vegetables.

They view the farm as a prototype

that will provide families a long term

solution to the country's food insecurities.

Levi admits the news coming out of South Sudan is bleak.

Parts of the country are facing famine conditions.

More than a million people have fled to neighboring countries.

And the ongoing violence threatens to tear apart

this young nation.

Still the Levis won't give up.

HANNAH LEVI: South Sudan is not a lost cause.

There is great opportunity here for the Gospel

to go forward and influence culture.

WILLIAM LEVI: And then that will translate into a strong church.

One day we have a strong church.

And then the community around will be strong.

And that translate into a strong country.

GEORGE THOMAS: George Thomas, CBN News South Sudan.


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