Living in our own country and with our families and friends, we provide the best that we can, farm the land that the Lord has blessed us with, and eat what they produce. This is not the case with our beloved brothers from South Sudan. They have been forced off their land due to war and are living in exile in the neighbouring country, Uganda. Many have been traumatised and hope has been snatched away from them. The joy of living a good life, sending their children to school and farming their land has been shattered. Hope seems to have been long gone. The fear of now and the future overshadow them. Some have witnessed the murder of their beloved ones and there is nothing they could have done.
They all still dream that one day all will be well and that they can be restored back to their country where they can build houses again, let their children get the best education they deserve and see economic growth of their beloved country. This is the cry of many South Sudanese in refugee camps across Uganda. Just hearing their stories, I couldn’t hold my tears as they narrated their painful journeys. It makes me wonder sometimes how we get to the end of the road and feel like nothing is holding our lives. Sometimes in times like these the only answer I can think of is calling on the Name of Jesus as all other grounds seems to be sinking sand. They have lost everything and some just managed to escape with only what they were wearing. All earthly possessions they acquired were gone in a matter of seconds and they were left naked and crying to Jesus to clothe them.
As I listened to their stories, I thought, “Hey I came to teach them and why am I in the receiving end, I must be the one giving”. God has His plans and it was His plan to break my heart for what breaks His and just to know that no matter what, He holds our lives in the palm of His hand and is aware of every situation in our lives. This was humbling and I knew without a doubt that apart from Him (Jesus) there is nothing that I can say or do that can be meaningful as He is the one and only God who knows the beginning and the end.
Woja Emmanuel and Johnny Ladu Paul were born and raised in the same village. The war in 2016 scattered them in different directions and they ended up in Uganda. They thought they would never see each other again. Johnny was placed in one refugee camp and Emmanuel in another. Johnny was so happy to be invited to the training and as he was allocated his room he met his neighbour who had been allocated the opposite room at the training centre. There was loud laughter and crying and embracing as they found each other! They continued to capture the attention of everyone at the centre. There was question after question as they asked each other about how, why, when and what they were each doing here. As the saying goes, “If you can’t beat them join them”. We had no choice but to rejoice with them! Surely it was God who had orchestrated this training, even though they had not learnt anything yet. This was a confirmation that God was in control and that only He has the solution to the problems they are facing.
In their respective refugee camps they face food scarcity almost everyday and they somehow have to make a way to supplement what they are given in the camps to match the booming population. As they went on with the training they discovered that this was the answer to the problems they face not only in the refugee camps but also in their villages back in South Sudan. The vocal Johnny Ladu Paul could not hide his joy as he narrated his plans for the people in Kiryadongo refugee camp and also when God restores peace in their nation. It was a joy to see hope arise and a passion restored for seeing the plans and purposes of God fulfilled in their lives and community.I know it is God who started it and he is faithful to see this work completed. It is Him who said to those in exile, “Build houses, settle down and plant gardens; eat what they produce. Seek the peace and prosperity of ‘Uganda’ and also pray for it, for if it prospers you will also prosper. For He knows the plans He has for ‘South Sudan’, plans not to harm her but to give her a hope and future.” (Jeremiah 29:4-11)
Join us as we pray for these precious souls that they may be fruitful were God has planted them but above all that the Lord will bring peace to their land and restore their hope.William Tom