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World Refugee Day: Trauma Healing for South Sudanese Refugees 

Water Mission is committed to bringing safe and Living Water to our global neighbors impacted by disaster and humanitarian crises. On June 20, we acknowledge the United Nations World Refugee Day as we have in past years, shining a light on the refugees we serve alongside the local church.  

Uganda’s Rhino Camp is one of the large refugee settlements where Water Mission is serving people with safe water and sanitation. While providing for physical needs, Water Mission staff are also attending to the spiritual well-being in communities by sharing the love and hope of Jesus Christ. More than 100 Christian leaders were recently trained as trauma healing facilitators in response to the influx of refugees resulting from the South Sudanese Civil War 

Water Mission held conferences for local pastors and church leaders in two sections of Rhino Camp: Ofua and the newest extension, Omugo. They were trained as biblical trauma healing facilitators, skilled to effectively counsel and encourage men, woman, and children in their communities.   

The church can respond to trauma through validating, supporting, and comforting victims; speaking up about injustice; and reconnecting people with God.
Impact of Trauma 

The trauma refugees experience often overwhelm their ability to cope. Many experienced war and fled their homes. In addition, there is continued hostility between tribes now living near one another in the refugee settlements. Trauma is a common barrier to healing and requires trained guidance. 

During one of Water Mission’s seminars, Pastor John Yoak from the Omugo community explained the challenge. 

“In South Sudan, we have been taught that killing is a normal thing,” he said. “We have been taught that tears must stay inside because men don’t cry. And we’ve been taught at the opportune time, we must avenge our dear ones.” 

This level of trauma disrupts family, faith, identity, and even a connection to God. It wounds the soul and creates barriers to hearing the gospel. 

Gospel-based trauma healing is focused on forgiveness and reconciliation.
Healing Through Forgiveness 

Faith-based healing training helps leaders make the church a safe community for trauma victims. 

Through the Trauma Healing Project, Water Mission is helping the brokenhearted and comforting those who mourn. Sharing experiences and testimonies in conferences like these helps refugees learn to express their feelings honestly to God in lament.  

After attending the conference, Jonda Samuel shared the difference healing makes. 

“I witnessed my dad killed. He was shot seven times,” Jonda said. “I want to thank God that I have been able to forgive those who killed my dad. I forgave them and I am relieved. This teaching by Water Mission is refreshing. Ever since I came from South Sudan, I never had teaching like this. How I wish that every South Sudanese could get access to this teaching…. My life is changed.” 

We thank the Lord for Concordia Lutheran Ministries, who generously partnered with us in this mission.

We thank the Lord for Concordia Lutheran Ministries, who generously partnered with us in this mission. Together, we are intervening with trauma healing that is gospel-focused and rooted in forgiveness and reconciliation.  

Only the Lord can heal troubled souls, and we are blessed to bring the hope of Jesus Christ to our global neighbors in refugee settlements. Please remember this work and those we serve in your prayers, and consider coming alongside us to transform lives.  

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