Into the semi desert

Above: Kalobeyei refugee settlement near Kakuma

I’m en route once again to Kakuma refugee camp in remote northwestern Kenya. It’s sure to be a shock to my winter-acclimated bones to be in that harsh semi-desert climate with temperatures forecast to be over 100 F every day (and there is no escape from the heat).

This visit is focusing on pastoral training as Dr. George Kalantzis (Wheaton College Professor of Theology) and Dr. Margaret Diddams (Wheaton College Provost) will offer a theological training intensive. They will also offer a day of teaching teachers how to teach. And yet another day of consulting with the Kakuma Interdenominational School of Mission (KISOM) concerning curriculum development. This is all at the request of the refugee pastors there.

We also hope to spend a day with churches in Kalobeyei refugee settlement, about 10 miles up the road from Kakuma.

I will also be following up on several IAFR projects in Kakuma/Kalobeyei, including:

  • Documenting the KISOM building project that was completed last year;
  • Documenting the refugee churches for which IAFR provided roofing and other materials;
  • Assessing progress of our water project that will provide a clean source of water to a camp for about 4,000 Internally Displaced People (IDP) our side of Kakuma town;
  • Discuss plans for the April Refugee Youth Camp that IAFR is sponsoring thanks to our partner, Northwood Community Church (MN);
  • Buy 3 of 15 bicycles for the use of key leaders serving with our refugee partner agency, United Refugee and Host Churches (URHC;
  • Assess progress of the 5 girls IAFR is sponsoring through high school – 3 of the girls are from the refugee camp and 2 are from the IDP camp – made possible through our partner, National Presbyterian Church in Washington DC.
  • Meeting with our brother, Nicholas Gagai, who IAFR supports through URHC as he serves with them as Director of KISOM and Director of Refugee Youth Camp – both projects that IAFR supports.
  • We will also discuss plans to hold a special URHC Pastor’s conference in 2021 or 2022 – a much needed time of encouragement and refreshment for these men and women who shepherd refugee congregations.

Other things are also likely to surface while in Kakuma. My motto is “Maximum Flexibility!” for a reason 🙂

Of course, we will also learn much from our brothers and sisters in Kakuma as well. Their faith is being tempered in the fires of loss and protracted suffering and uncertainty. We have so much to learn from them.

So I hope you stop back to see how the trip unfolds. I hope you also cover us with your prayers while there, for without God, we can make no meaningful impact.

-Tom Albinson

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