Nearly 250,000 South Sudanese people are rebuilding their lives in Uganda’s Bidibidi refugee settlement after fleeing war and hunger. They need Water Mission’s safe water and sanitation solutions simply to survive each day. To truly move forward, however, they also need the opportunity to experience God’s love and healing as they process their trauma. Tragically, the UN Refugee Agency reported that suicides are on the rise among South Sudanese refugees, nearly doubling between 2018 and 2019.
As in every country program, Water Mission is committed to equipping local churches to serve both the physical and spiritual needs of their community. In Bidibidi and the surrounding communities with similar needs, we are empowering church leaders to facilitate trauma healing and reconciliation among refugees of rival tribes.
In early 2020, we led a training for 100 leaders on the power of forgiveness and reconciliation after trauma. Clergy attended, along with women’s ministers and Refugee Welfare Council members. The conference included practical guidance on how to minister to neighbors and help fellow refugees acknowledge and process their trauma. Facilitators learned how to create space for pain, allow people to be heard, and through God’s grace, encourage them to take the first steps toward healing.
“When we came to Bidibidi, there were a lot of challenges. There was no [safe] water and many people. But Water Mission has done great things. They supplied the community with enough water and trauma healing teachings. I know my God has strengthened me and no matter what challenges I may face, I am fine. I am okay.”
– Mary Yangi, Bidibidi resident
“Following hurt, pain, or atrocity, forgiveness can potentially bring resolution and freedom,” local pastor Joseph Lupai Moses shared after the conference. “It is a practical way of preventing the pain of the past from defining the path of the future. Reconciliation refers to the restoration of fractured relationships by overcoming grief, pain, and anger. To refugees, it is a societal process that involves mutual acknowledgment of past suffering and changing destructive attitudes and behaviors into constructive relationships toward peace.”
Peterson Leku, a participant, later told us, “I was planning to leave the settlement and go back to South Sudan. I lost everything I had and could hardly care for the needs of my family. I want to thank Water Mission because now I have learned to forgive others and myself such that I can move on…. I know Christ is in charge of my situation.”
With your faithful support, these leaders are equipped with the resources and training to share God’s love and redemptive power with their neighbors in new ways. As a result of the training and materials provided by Water Mission, churches plan to host their own local workshops. Pastors have formed teams to mobilize and train other churches in the settlement with the goal of facilitating redemptive healing on an even greater level.
Through unique programs like the trauma healing workshop along with safe water, sanitation, and hygiene services, you are helping refugees experience transformation as they rebuild their lives in Uganda.
Sharing The Living Water With Isolated Patients
COVID-19 patients in hospitals often find isolation from loved ones impacts their spiritual well-being. When a Water Mission team visited patients to distribute In Touch Messenger audio Bibles, six people gave their lives to Christ. One of the six new believers went to be with the Lord the next day. Water Mission’s previous relationship with these hospitals opened doors not only to distribute Bibles but also to pray with patients and share God’s love.
One of co-founder Molly Greene’s last initiatives was to create a prayer team for the ministry. Led by Karen Young, the first meeting took place in November 2019. Prayer Team volunteers gather and pray on a monthly basis for Water Mission as a ministry, for staff, and for the people we serve.
“While we pray over the everyday workings of the ministry, we also pray over the salvation of the nations,” Karen shares. “Psalm 2:8 is deeply placed in our hearts that not only will we address the physical needs of clean, safe water, but Living Water [of Jesus Christ] will become a reality for those we serve.”