God has given Mending the Soul an amazing opportunity to train 100 African refugee ministry leaders in May. South Sudan, the newest country in the world, is on the brink of collapse. Country-wide conflict has displaced over a third of South Sudan’s population. Entire regions of the country are now uninhabitable due to military conflict. Over a million of these refugees now live in deplorable conditions in refugee camps in northern Uganda.
Virtually all of these refugees have witnessed and experienced unimaginable atrocities. They have lost their homes, possessions, and communities. They have no prospect of being able to return home in the near future. Humanly, they have little hope. But in the midst of this pain and loss, God is at work. MTS has built relationships with several amazing South Sudanese leaders who are faithfully serving their needy brothers and sisters in the camps. By God’s grace, they are having a great impact. They have enthusiastically asked MTS to come to two of the largest South Sudanese refugee camps in Adjumani and Arua (the Bidi Bidi camp) in North Uganda to conduct trauma conferences.
As we have been doing elsewhere in Africa for eleven years, we will first and foremost help these leaders with their own trauma healing. Secondly, we will give them tools to help their traumatized congregations and communities. We will be spending approximately one week in each community, visiting the refugee camps, attending church in the camps, and conducting two five-day By His Wounds trauma trainings. BHW is the trauma curriculum we wrote specifically for African church leaders. As you can imagine, these will be very challenging trainings. We are in great need of your faithful prayers. Only God can heal ravaged, traumatized families and communities. And he does! We greatly appreciate your prayer support.
Our Team Members Are:
- Kim and Kurt Brownsberger (presenters and team support in Ajumani)
- Ethie Gebeyehu (team and conference prayer director in Arua)
- Jumah Patrick (MTS African director, trip coordinator, and presenter at both conferences)
- Nora Poling (daily sharing her own story at both conferences)
- Steve Tracy (team leader, presenter at both conferences)
Our Trip Schedule is:
- April 26-May 3 Steve leaves and has six days with daughter Abby, son-in-law David, and their children, Shalom and Tashia
- April 28 Kurt and Kim leave for Uganda
- May 2 Nora leaves US
- May 4 Team prep day in Uganda
- May 5 Fly to Adjumani; visit refugee camp
- May 6 Visit refugee church
- May 7-11 By His Wounds conference for 50 South Sudanese refugee leaders
- May 11 Dr. Ethie flies to Uganda
- May 12 Team 1 flies from Adjumani to Kampala; Kurt and Kim fly back to US
- May 12 Dr. Ethie arrives in Kampala
- May 13 Team 2 conference prep day
- May 14 Team 2 flies to Arua; visit Bidi Bidi refugee camp
- May 15-19 By His Wounds conference for 50 South Sudanese refugee leaders
- May 20 Visit refugee church; team debrief
- May 21 AM Fly back to Kampala; PM Steve, Nora, and Ethie travel back to US
- That God will give our team physical and emotional stamina, good health, and great sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Pray that the great suffering we will experience all around us will drive us to deeper reliance on Christ. Pray that God will give us great wisdom in knowing how to best respond to overwhelming physical needs with very limited resources.
- For the South Sudanese refugee leaders we will be serving; that the Spirit will prepare their hearts for the conferences, and He will speak to them and encourage them during the conference. Pray especially that the Lord will bring great trauma healing and renewed hope to the attendees. Pray that tribal hostilities will not hinder the conferences, and God will bring reconciliation where it is needed. (Virtually all of the attendees will have lost loved ones, most having been killed by people of other tribes.)
- That God will lead each of us who will be teaching and sharing at these two By His Wounds conferences. Pray that there will be a great sense of freedom and courage for the attendees to share with each other. Pray that the women will have courage to share honestly, and that the men will have the courage and humility to listen to the women’s experiences. (Our hosts have asked us to give extensive teaching on the value and dignity of women as South Sudanese women experience incredible levels of physical and sexual abuse.)
- For protection from Satan’s attacks and disruptions. We have learned that teaching trauma healing in African settings like this is deep in Satan’s home turf. He will attempt to attack our team and the attendees in a myriad of ways, physically and emotionally. He loves to use things such as nightmares, shame triggers, sudden illness, family crises, and accidents while traveling to attack and disrupt our team and the attendees. Pray with us against Satan’s attacks.
- That I (Steve) can be a great encouragement to Abby and David Kakeeto, and our two granddaughters, Shalom and Tashia. Pray also that I can be of encouragement and assistance to them as they are in the midst of relocating their ministry to street children (API) from Kampala to a new location on 400 rural acres, several hours west of Kampala.
- Finally, please pray for Celestia during this time. She will be traveling to Houston on Sunday, April 29 to receive a new pain treatment that will last at least a week. Her two diseases (a rare connective tissue disorder and CRPS, a neurological pain disorder) have gotten progressively worse, resulting in debilitating pain. Please pray with us that God would use this new treatment to give her significant pain relief. Thankfully, God has opened the door for Celestia to take a four month sabbatical, starting April 28, so she can focus on physical and emotional/spiritual renewal. Celestia has been doing trauma care full-time for over twenty-six years, and is in great need of a time to rejuvenate and prepare for the next season of ministry.
We are very grateful for your prayers. We will send trip updates as often as possible so you can hear what God is doing and how to keep praying. Please subscribe here so you can receive these updates directly to your email inbox. In Christ,
“On him we have set our hope…as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”
2 Corinthians 1:10-11
Feel led to help even more? MTS needs financial partners to come alongside us, and help provide more healing resources to train even more leaders. Will you partner with us in serving these hurting refugees? Click here to donate today!