Tiechbor’s tone was somber as she told me, “People are still leaving South Sudan because of the war. They walk very far, some get robbed and killed along the way. Then they make it to the border. More are robbed and killed there. But if you make it to Gambella, you can go to the camps or settle in the town.” We were safely on the Ethiopian side of the border, in Gambella, riding in the backseat of a bajaj on our way to the church to start the day’s workshops, looking out on all the homes and shops crafted from United Nations tarps and metal sheets, all looking very temporary but many having been in place for several years. I couldn’t help but think about how we are all sojourners here in this world, and about the comfort and hope of God’s promise that heaven is our home.
I travel to Ethiopia as part of my work as South Sudan Field Manager, and Christian health and development work has been part of my life for a long time. I can still remember when I was in primary school and a nurse came to tell us about the work she had done while living in East Africa—I was hooked. Fast forward about 15 years later, and, newly equipped with a master's degree in public health, I moved to Malawi to serve as a public health administrator for the Central Africa Medical Mission’s mobile clinic program. I loved the work there and learned how to listen to communities—to learn about their struggles, to appreciate their God-given strengths, and to partner together to achieve what they set out to do. It's the same approach I now use at Kingdom Workers.
Our 32 passionate refugee WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) education volunteers teach their communities the technical information and hands-on skills they need to prevent disease. They teach valuable WASH practices like how to make a simple handwashing station or use solar disinfection to purify water, and also point people to something much more valuable, the grace and love of God. In order to carry out the local volunteers’ annual continuing education workshop, I train and support South Sudanese refugees now living in North America to travel to Gambella to facilitate the training. I also coordinate ongoing program planning and pursue opportunities to expand our work. We recently started partnering with four refugee congregations in and around Kakuma Camp in Kenya. I'm eager to see what the Lord has in store as we work on community-building efforts to bring hope and the sweet message of Jesus to men, women, and youth living in circumstances that can feel anything but hopeful.
It has brought me such tremendous joy to partner with our South Sudanese brothers and sisters and I'd love for you to join this partnership, too. Please consider supporting this work with your monthly gift of $50-$200 and join us in bringing education, resources, and eternal hope to refugee communities.
Kingdom Workers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. While we make every effort to honor the intent of each gift, Kingdom Workers has complete discretion and control over the use of donated funds.