Refugee Camps Abound with Hope and Energy
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
School opened on February 6 with 421 excited precious ones. Girls make up more than half of the population this year, which is an unheard of ratio. Historically girls have not attended school in South Sudan. We are rejoicing over this. Our school is very revered by the community. So much so, that it is problematic for the staff to keep our standard of 50 pupils per teacher. This means we must turn children away in order to maintain the quality of the educational experience we offer.
Weekly worship led by local pastors is a standard part of the school schedule for Living Water Primary and Preschool. Discipleship teaching is also provided in the individual classrooms. the first week we had 93 young souls and one teacher pray to receive Christ.
Vocational training for ladies continues to thrive. A nine month tailoring and six month hairdressing class are soon to wrap up, and new classes will begin soon. In addition, we will be offering basic mechanics for men, and a baking class that will be co-ed. All of these classes have a pastor and a chaplain present daily, offering a discipleship training within the vocational skills training course. LWCT is in the process of having two new vocational buildings constructed. The existing two buildings, which are in two different refugee camps, will be replaced with permanent structures. The new buildings will be double the size of the existing ones.
Each of the 33 Baptist churches in Palorinya Refugee Settlement have added a children’s football (soccer) team. We have realized that the matches are wonderful evangelistic tools, and they help alleviate idleness, which often plagues refugee camps. Idleness leads to many other social problems.
The churches in Palorinya are thriving. Our visiting teams regularly hear much appreciation expressed for the support that you are providing. Agape Baptist (pictured) sends a big thank you and a New Year’s blessing to all of you.
The Jesus Film is very popular, even though large events are prohibited in the refugee camps. We just show it more often to smaller groups. We have the movie in 17 languages, which allows our Bari speaking evangelists to take the gospel to the refugee camps outside of Palorinya, where other South Sudanese languages are spoken.
LWCT supports a small Bible College that meets in Moyo, a town just outside Palorinya Refugee settlement. The students come every other month for a two week stay. It is a one year course and provides a certificate of completion. The classes are for men and women. They attend on different schedule. These graduates are the future church leaders in the camps. Some come from other Ugandan communities. The men are meeting now and the women will begin a new class in March.
Small business classes are continuously offered to graduates of the vocational school, the Bible college, agriculture classes, and anyone else who is interested in starting a small business. Already this year two groups have completed the course.
A small business loan program has been very successful. The applicants are vetted well by their pastors. Scovia Nyala, the teacher of the business skills course, manages the loan activities. The collections have been remarkably successful, allowing new people to apply. It’s exciting to see an economy build up in refugee camps. As of now, 39 people have helped with the small business loan program.
Celebrate Recovery group leader training began in November. We were not sure how well this would develop, as the curriculum is not available in the Bari language. However, it seems to be serving a great need among the refugees. There is a group for women and for men. We will take a male and a female volunteer on each visiting team to support this effort.
Agriculture training and assistance has been very valued. The rations for the refugees have been significantly reduced, due to the increasing number of refugees throughout the world. A generous donor provided a new tractor, which allows the refugees to plant much larger gardens. The land is being prepared now for the new crops to be planted.