Rain in the desert

We just arrived from Nairobi in Kakuma. A rare September rain greeted us. The temp is in the high 70s, so many locals are wearing winter jackets and hats. They are not used to this kind of cold.

Rain is good in that it replenishes the water table and cools down the overheated desert. But it also brings dangers – flash flooding and a fresh hatch of mosquitos increase the risk of malaria.

Still the people hear consider rain a blessing.

Refugee church building project

Above: IAFR is now raising funding to provide metal sheeting like this for refugee churches in Kalobeyei refugee settlement. About 100 sheets are needed to complete 1 church. You can give today at www.IAFR.org/donate (select the “Refugee Church Buildings” fund option under projects). 1 sheet = $9.50.
Above: Until they receive the metal sheets, they will continue to meet under trees and shredded tarps like this church.

KISOM

Above: The Kakuma Interdenominational School of Mission (KISOM)
Above: KISOM

It was a joy to participate in the first training session held in the brand new KISOM building yesterday.

Our refugee brothers and sisters launched KISOM back in 1997. In 2012 they began praying in earnest for a building of their own as they were last meeting in a condemned and abandoned primary school in the camp.

IAFR prayed with them. Once we had a draft of a proposed architectural design and budget, we brought it to our financial partners. They responded generously. We then contracted our NGO partner, National Council of Churches Kenya (NCCK) to do the actual building.

KISOM has already graduated well over 1000 students trained to be pastors, evangelists and missionaries. Many are church leaders in the refugee camp and surrounding host community. Others have since relocated to their homelands or a third country (refugee resettlement). Most are pastoring somewhere today.


Sadly, I fell suddenly ill shortly after taking this photos and making a Facebook Live video. I spent the next 24 hours resting and recovering. I’m thankful to say that I am well again and able to continue the visit here as planned.

Sick day

No knew photos to post today as I became suddenly ill this morning. I’ll spare the details.

I spent the day resting and trying to keep fluids down.

I’m thankful to say that I’m feeling much better than I was 8 hours ago – but still feel weak and have avoided solids.

I’m hoping this will have passed by the time I awake tomorrow morning.

Back to Kakuma

Photo: a group of refugee church leaders from Sudan outside of their church in Kakuma

It is time to return to visit our brothers and sisters and ministry partners and friends. Stay tuned for updates along the way.

Returning to Kakuma

Here we go! Back to Kakuma this week. I leave today and should get there on Friday morning. I’ll meet up with team of 2 from Wheaton College/Humanitarian Disaster Institute in Nairobi on Thursday.

The highest purpose of the trip is to deepen relationships with our refugee friends in Kakuma. Other objectives include:

  1. Offering an intensive week of integrated theology and trauma care training for church leaders
  2. Assessing progress on the KISOM Building Project
  3. Assessing progress on the IDP Water Project
  4. Confirming that the 700 Bibles in various languages made it to the refugee churches
  5. Meet with the 5 refugee/IDP girls who are receiving full IAFR high school scholarships
  6. Listening to and consulting with our refugee partners in the camp

It’s going to be a full 2 weeks! I am deeply grateful to those who take time to keep us in their prayers!

Kris teaching in Kakuma

Kris talked about dealing with stress to 60 Kakuma Refugee youth today.

They told us they feel stress from being forcibly displaced from their country,  from the death of loved ones, from very limited educational opportunities, from hardships living within Kakuma and from big questions about their future.

Their stressors are real and huge. In her comments Kris shared suggestions that seemed to bring encouragement. She reminded the youth that God sees and cares about each of them and then she prayed God’s help, strength and blessing over them.

Would you please take a minute right now and pray for Kakuma youth? That God would greatly encourage them and give them strength  and hope? Your prayers can make a difference.

Brian

Rain in a semi desert

While normally a hot and dry place with daily temps reaching into the 100’s, we seem to arrived at the beginning of a brief season of cooler temperatures and heavy rains.

Rains are considered a blessing in this semi desert even though they also carry with them destruction and sometimes even death bringing flash floods.

This morning’s downpours hindered our plans to visit some friends in the camp this morning, so we are hanging out with our NGO partner staff watching rugby (commonwealth games in Australia) and trying to describe what a Minnesota winter is like.