Few people can understand the pain and suffering refugees experience when forced from their homes. Whether fleeing from violence, natural disasters, or other traumatic events, families leave their lives behind in search of safety.
The emotional burden is heavy, leaving mothers like Mary heartbroken and angry. She is a refugee from South Sudan, a nation that has endured years of violence and turmoil.
“I lost two of my children to the hopeless war,” Mary shared with our team. “I came to the [refugee] settlement with negative thoughts and bitter hate in my heart.”
This level of trauma can destroy families, faith, self-worth, and, most importantly, a connection to God. If not addressed, trauma can be a mortal wound to the soul and create a barrier to hearing the gospel.
“I told my elder children to join a militia group and kill any [rival group member] they could find,” Mary continued. “I cannot imagine how much pain they have caused others.”
Water Mission’s ministry work in refugee communities focuses on physical and spiritual restoration. We meet physical needs by providing clean, safe water and spiritual needs through sharing the Living Water of Jesus Christ.
In partnership with Concordia Lutheran Ministries, Water Mission is involved in the Northern Uganda Refugee Trauma Healing Project. This biblically based initiative promotes forgiveness and reconciliation.
Facilitators encouraged refugees to take their pain to Christ, who died on the cross for our sin and everything sin brings with it: death, pain, sickness, conflict, and abuse. The training focuses on helping refugees who have gone through horrific experiences start a grieving process. The goal is that refugees experience healing and can begin to rebuild their lives and communities. The goal is to comfort those who mourn and heal the brokenhearted.
A total of 150 church leaders were equipped during this training in March. They learned to facilitate trauma healing in their church communities and are actively sharing through their churches in both corporate worship and small group bible studies.
As these church leaders bless their communities, refugees like Mary are experiencing Christ’s restoration.
“This conference has made a difference in me,” Mary shared, telling us that she plans to call her children home from fighting with the militia.
Walking alongside refugees as they grieve and process pain is essential to trauma healing. Such restoration allows individuals to express their feelings openly to God, encourages refugees to rely on Christ, and equips them with resources to help others heal.