Promise Child’s heart is for those who do not yet know of the saving grace and love of Jesus Christ. Our heart aches for those who not only live in spiritual poverty but are also destitute in this world. Some of the most disadvantaged and wounded individuals in this world are refugees fleeing war and violence. Most of the time, this comes with loss of loved ones, loss of identity, and so much trauma. We currently work in two refugee settlements in Uganda, where efforts vary from location to location but always include church planting and ministering the Gospel.
RWAMWANJA REFUGEE SETTLEMENT - CONGOLESE
Open since 2012; numbers in the Rwamwanja Refugee Settlement have fluctuated. The camp has recently swelled to 80,000 Congolese refugees, and it is anticipated that the camp capacity will reach a maximum of 150,000. The camp is 42 square miles.Food rations at the camp are beyond poor – the budget was just cut by the government by 40%, leaving the monthly allowance at $3 per month, per person. Refugees work hard and have been given a proper amount of land to farm to produce food, but it has been challenging to grow good crops with the current water situation. The water affair is horrible. We interviewed large groups of people who testified water is hard to come by—refugees are traveling for miles to get to boreholes or using polluted river water. Polluted water is sometimes brought in by trucks as well. The camp seems to have very few boreholes, and the available ones require payment to fill jerrycans. $1 per can. Overall, people lack basic needs such as clothing, good shelter, and hygiene products because of the lack of funding. People are intentionally having more babies because this adds a name to the family list which then mean they will receive a little more support; they do not understand the overall cost of raising these children. This increases the cycle of poverty and neglect.
Nearly every one in the camp has personally experienced horrific ravages of war – rape, violence, poverty, loss of family, home, and purpose. There have been no trauma healing programs – not a single person we interacted with has heard of this type of emotional and mental help. They were so receptive to the idea of this program being brought to their people. Medically speaking, intestinal worms, Typhoid, skin conditions, fungal infections, malaria, respiratory infection, and STDs are running rampant. Often, many refugees suffer and/or die from simple, preventable diseases.
"90%-100% of the women here have questions and thoughts in their hearts because of the suffering they have gone through. With the people who listen to the Word on the Proclaimers and not someone preaching to them, we get encouraged knowing precisely what God is speaking into our lives. Women in my group and the church are so grateful this program has come to us, and we are praying that many will be reached. Ten people come to my first group, and I go to multiple locations weekly because there are so few Proclaimers. Some of my groups reach 30 people. We come together, pray, and listen to one whole chapter and then discuss that very chapter every time we come to listen. Many people have come to the Lord through the listening programs."
"What has made all the Congolese be in the camp is the wars. In a few words, I speak with a prayer request that you people should continue to pray for us. 90% of the people in the camp are here because of tribal wars and ethnic differences. Some people here are rejected in Rwanda, DRC, and Uganda, so that is one of the issues many people are suffering from is having no identity; they are citizens of nowhere. People here are suffering from chronic trauma that does not get healed. Please continue to pray against segregation with African tribes. Rebels control almost all provinces in Congo. Even in the camp, those conflicts are within. We request your prayers that since the Word of God is coming close to us through the Proclaimer, some healing will come to us. We thank you so much that you talked about a trauma healing program. May God use you to bring this message to the people."
CAMP BIDI BIDI - SOUTH SUDANESE
Camp BidiBidi is a South Sudanese refugee settlement in Uganda, Africa. At one point, it was the world’s largest refugee settlement reaching numbers over a quarter million displaced Sudanese, primarily women and children fleeing unrelenting war and violence. Many children are orphaned, women widowed, and all left hopeless in a foreign land with little to no resources.
Operation Mourning to Gladness is designed to reach these beautiful refugees through a six-fold approach. This includes (but is not limited to) pastoral training, Faith Comes by Hearing listening programs, widow care, church and development, providing for acutely malnourished children, and caring for pregnant women.
We believe it is of utmost importance to have sustainable works created within the refugee camp where people can be consistently built up by preaching God’s Word. We take careful prayer and time raising national pastors who will be faithful to bring the hope of Jesus Christ through sound doctrine. Currently, God has a full-time pastor and assistant pastor for each of the Camp church plants. 2 Timothy 2:2
Unfortunately, most children in the refugee camp are malnourished. When children are brought to us on the brink of death, we start a three-week specially formulated nourishment program. This fund allows us to treat more malnourished children monthly – prayerfully bringing them physical and spiritual nourishment. Matthew 25:3
The desire is to plant Bible-teaching churches in every region of camp Bidi Bidi. Funds to help construct indigenous church buildings with benches and purchase Bibles and bring healing through programs such as youth worship teams, adult conferences, and soccer teams. Currently, we have six thriving churches spread throughout different regions of Camp Bidi Bidi. Acts 14:2 Galatians 6:1
Listening groups use solar power audio Bibles called Proclaimers in 8 different Sudanese languages. There are hundreds of groups throughout the camp where refugees come together once a week to listen to one chapter of the Bible and discuss for at least one hour. Promise Child has hired full-time national ministry workers to oversee this program. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” – Romans 10:17
Since there are so many young pregnant women in the camp, this fund provides birthing packages with basins, towels, sheets, gowns, a cord tie, a one-week supply of food for the mother, baby clothes, medicine, and a malaria net for about 15 pregnant women a month. This allows mothers to give birth in the camp safely and gives both the mother and the baby a greater chance of survival. John 16:21
So many women and men have lost their spouses, and this fund will allow widows to be cared for within the camp under the authority of Calvary Chapel Bidi Bidi. After sharing the gospel, providing shelter and food will be the top priorities. “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” – James 1:27