God, Send Someone

As we drove into the refugee settlement, I saw scattered mud huts and makeshift latrines and attempts to establish some modicum of a normal life.  But their lives are anything but normal.  It’s very hot and this area has few trees to provide shade.  We were welcomed by singing and ushered into a small hut with a tarp from the UN for a roof. There were 10 representatives from the two Anglican communities within the Pagirinya Refugee Settlement, located about 20km from the border with South Sudan.  This particular settlement is quite large and has 41,000 people. However, all together, there are about 250,000 Sudanese refugees in 12 different settlements in Northern Uganda near Adjumani.

Each person introduced themselves and one man started by saying, “We praise God every morning”…meaning that although life is very difficult for them, they are thankful for the safety and provision they have found in Northern Uganda.  Everything comes from the Lord and we can only give back to Him what has already come from His hand…except for a sacrifice of praise, which is ours alone to give. I imagine praising God every morning in the midst of such suffering is indeed a great sacrifice, one that these Sudanese Christians make with no hesitation.

Our meeting place

Dr. Katie Rhoads, an American missionary with whom I share a compound in Gulu, has been ministering to the South Sudanese refugees for several years.  She makes the two-hour drive to Adjumani quite regularly so I asked if I could tag along.  I’ve had refugees on my heart for a couple of months.  Well, little did I know…I was an answer to prayer.

Outskirts of the settlement

You see, when you have nothing…and no hope of getting much help…and you are a believer…you start praying for God to send someone.  First the Lord sent Dr. Katie to this newest refugee settlement and she has been building relationships with them. But the needs are great and Katie’s resources are limited.  So she told the members of this Anglican community of refugees that she would pray with them and they would wait to see how God would respond…that’s about the time I asked Katie if I could to tag along on her next trip.  As one woman told me, “We prayed and asked God to send someone and He sent you.”

Although food is scarce, these refugees are not starving, like many thousands of others who have been unable to flee South Sudan as the war there continues.  The UN and other NGO’s are doing their best to provide food, health care and very basic needs. The Ugandan Govt. has given each family a small plot of land…about the size of an average yard in the US, to live and maybe grow a few vegetables. They are given some building materials and it is up to them to construct their own mud huts. Some schools are also being built for the children.

The first church site we visited…they have put up poles and a few home-made benches to sit on. Without a roof…it is too hot and soon the rains will comes.

To my surprise, they did not ask for food or clothing and other items they obviously needed…But what this group of Anglican believers have been praying for is the resources to build some kind of shelter where they can gather to worship and hear God’s word and be encouraged.  They are struggling daily to carve out a life for themselves in the settlement and yet what is utmost in their minds is that THEY WANT TO GATHER TO GIVE THANKS TO GOD AND READ HIS WORD AND BE ENCOURAGED! They have started to build two different simple church structures. You can see in the photos that they have marked off the footprint of the shelters with poles…but that is as far as they have been able to go. The UN does not give materials to build churches. They need more poles, bamboo, nails and grass to make a grass thatched roof…all of which costs money. So…they prayed that the Lord would send someone. He sent me…and now I am appealing to you, my fellow Christians.

The group from Site I – Dr. Katie is on the far right.

Site II – Only the poles for the walls are up.

The group from Site II

Would you prayerfully consider making a contribution to help these brothers and sisters in Christ to have a place to worship the Lord and find encouragement by being together?  To those in the Diocese of South Carolina, perhaps your parish has been praying and asking the Lord to shine a light on a need that you can meet.  Here is an opportunity for you to participate in building up and encouraging fellow Anglican believers who are struggling and suffering and fighting for survival after being forced to flee the bloodshed and starvation in their home country. God willing, my prayer is to raise at least $ 1,000 which will cover building materials plus some Bibles as well.  If the Lord provides more, it will all go to providing resources for worship in the camp…things like communion elements, altar and linens, etc. There are about 3,000 Anglicans in this particular settlement alone. They want to be fed spiritually…the Lord is asking you to participate. Will you help?

Rev. Rachel stands under the tree which marks the current worship site for Group II. Look closely and notice the cross carved into the tree to mark the sacred place of worship.

A selfie with Rev. Rachel. She only speaks Dinka so we could not communicate directly without a translator…but we really didn’t need to…we share the same Spirit!

The Rev. Arthur Jenkins, at Saint James Church, my home parish, will accept your contributions and forward the money here to Uganda.  Please DO NOT make your contribution through the Paypal button…instead send a check made payable to Saint James and put “Sudanese Refugees” in the memo line.  Mail to:

Saint James Church

Attn: Sudanese Refugees

1872 Camp Road

Charleston, SC  29412

The woman to the left of me presented me with the sarong-type clothing. It was part of her uniform as a member of a women’s prayer group called Thiec Nyalic which loosely translates as “Ask God Anything” Prayer Army! I think I am now an honorary member and I am asking God to soften your hearts towards these determined Christians.

As we were sitting in the hut talking, I asked if they were all from the same village in South Sudan…if they had known each other before and had come to the refugee camp together.  “No” they said…”we have only met since arriving at the camp.  We come from different places and even different tribes.  We found each other after arriving.”  Then Rev. Rachel spoke up and said that they are all one in Christ and she quoted Psalm 133 “How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters live together in unity.”  They have found each other and are stronger together.  Praise God for the unity we have through our Lord Jesus Christ!

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog.  Please pass it along to anyone you feel may want to help these dear brothers and sisters in Christ.  May God bless you immensely!

In His Love,

Elizabeth

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7 Responses to God, Send Someone

  1. Paul Cooper says:

    Hi Elizabeth, you have been on my mind the last few days and I lifted up a number of prayers on your behalf. It always amazes me God’s timing that you send this email now. Count on a significant contribution towards this church building from the Cooper’s. This is something that I can really get excited about. It reminds me of the shelter we built for Sunday worship in Mexico to help get the congregation out of the sun and into the shade. I saw some pictures last week from the ranch and even after five years it looks like The tarp covered simple steel frame is still serving it’s purpose for the church family there in Mexico. We love you and are praying for you, Paul and Pam

    Paul Cooper

    >

  2. Barbara Simmons says:

    Awesome, awesome, awesome… Thank you Elizabeth for sharing… and I especially thank the Lord for what He is doing with you and in you and through you! Praying for you…. blessings and love, barbara

    On Sun, Mar 19, 2017 at 8:29 AM, elizabethbumpas.com wrote:

    > elizabethbumpas posted: “As we drove into the refugee settlement, I saw > scattered mud huts and makeshift latrines and attempts to establish some > modicum of a normal life. But their lives are anything but normal. It’s > very hot but this area has few trees to provide shade. We we” >

  3. Bill Anderson says:

    Thank you Elizabeth for this opportunity to provide a worship shelter for our brothers and sisters in Christ! You posted this just in time for St. John’s, Johns Island’s Global Missions Committee to unanimously decide to support this critical need at our meeting tonight. God’s Blessings to you and Dr. Katie.

  4. George Greene, IV, says:

    Elizabeth, my name is George Greene, IV, and I work with Water Mission in Charleston (member of St. Andrews Mt. Pleasant). I saw the above blog post in print in the Spring Edition of the Jubilate Deo. I don’t know if you are linked up with our Uganda program, but we may be able to assist with providing your group audio bibles. We have a number of water projects serving refugees in Northern Uganda and are actively implementing new projects. I believe we have a regional office established in the area. Let me know if interested and I’ll get you linked up with the appropriate folks. Blessings, G IV

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