Uganda (MNN) — The Bidi Bidi Refugee Camp, the largest in Uganda, has recently been shrouded in scandal. Reports surfaced that refugees have not been receiving food because officials have been taking what was meant to help these vulnerable people.
Bidi Bidi Refugee Camp
Many of the refugees in the Bidi Bidi camp are from South Sudan, a country currently torn apart by civil war. But it’s here, in this place of corruption and at times despair, that e3 Partners is trying to bring hope with the help of short-term trips. And despite their struggles, the people e3 have met are friendly, compassionate, hospitable, and generous with the little they have.
“They’re looking for hope, and that’s what Jesus is. He is our hope. And so, these people, they’ll welcome you in, they’ll listen to what you have to say, and so many of them have come to know Christ,” e3’s Jeff Johnston shares.
One hope is that once these Christians are able to return home, they’ll bring the Gospel with them and share it with their country people. And e3 is already seeing that hope take root.
Hope Taking Root
A woman named Joy came to the Bidi Bidi Refugee Camp after her entire family was murdered in South Sudan. One night rebel militants came to her home and shot her husband, who was a high-ranking army official, her daughter, and her brother. Her brother-in-law, sister, and their eight-year-old daughter lived nearby, and were at her home during the attack and were also killed.
“What happened was they were in their home and all of a sudden these rebel soldiers barged through the door, and in a moment of pure chaos and tragedy, they just started firing their weapons,” Johnston says.
Joy, who was pregnant at the time, was also shot. However, she survived the shooting and went to a hospital where surgery was performed on her. But while Joy’s life was saved, the baby she was carrying was not.
In minutes, Joy’s entire life was ripped away from her. Filled with shock and sorrow, Joy chose to leave South Sudan, acknowledging how she was no longer safe in her home country. Her next destination was Uganda.
“On that journey [to Uganda], she ran into a man who was preaching the Gospel. And this man led her to Jesus. At that point in her life, she felt like she had nothing…and right then, right there she accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior,” Johnston shares
Joy did make it to Uganda, and she’s been in the country ever since. In fact, on e3’s last trip to Uganda, the team met Joy. She had joined the group as one of the locals who were eager to help the team share the Gospel and the love of Christ throughout the camp.
New Life in Christ
“She said, you know, ‘I lost everything in my life that I thought mattered to me. And I’m still sad, I’m still sad about everything that I lost. But, I have Jesus now, and Jesus fills me,’” Johnston recounts.
Joy’s story touched e3 because it shows how even in the most awful of tragedies, Christ’s love and story can still bring hope and redemption.
Short-term trips to the refugee camp in Uganda may seem intimidating; they may even seem scary. But they’re not. The people e3 encounters in Uganda are kind and generous. And if you’re wondering if these short-term trips will do more harm than good, you can have some peace of mind.
“A short-term trip is not really what we’re doing here. We do it through short-term trips, but we’re doing them so often, that we’re really developing these relationships and we’re helping them as they grow as Christian leaders,” Johnston explains.
e3’s goal is to help ignite a fire for the Gospel, but to mainly train these Christian leaders in the camp with sound doctrine, Biblical foundations, and skills for sharing the Gospel. This will enable leaders to take ownership of sharing the Gospel and when they finally return home, they’ll be equipped to plant churches, too.
Be Prayerful, Be Active
So please, lift up these Christians living in the Bidi Bidi Refugee Camp in Uganda through prayer. Pray for their healing, encouragement, and perseverance. Pray for the people of South Sudan and the other refugees around the world, that they’d encounter the hope of Christ and know peace despite their circumstances.
E3 is holding a prayer campaign this year. Learn more about it here!
Interested in being a part of e3’s work? Then consider taking a short-term trip with the organization!