Jun 302019

You may not be aware that today is Refugee Sunday. For decades St Philips has been spiritually, personally and materially active in this justice ministry through Wakimbizi, one of the church’s many ‘out’ focused ministries. ~ Malcolm

Life in a refugee camp.

Few of us fully appreciate how tough life in a refugee camp can be.  Jeremy Largo, a member of this congregation, is one who has experienced the full horror of it.  Even in his resettlement in Australia, he is experiencing the awful suffering of those in the camp.  Four months ago, Jeremy learnt the tragic news of his daughter’s death in the Kakuma camp in Kenya.  She died after giving birth to twins, both of whom have also passed away. Grace had no husband; he was killed in the civil war in Sudan.  She leaves five orphaned kids, all under 12 years old.

Grace’s kids are now cared for by Lucy, her best friend, a single mother with seven children of her own.  Their humble home is totally inadequate to accommodate the enlarged family and, with the onset of the rainy season, conditions could hardly be worse. Understandably Jeremy is devastated and frustrated at his inability to do little more than talking by phone each day with Lucy and his surviving grandchildren. 

The Wakimbizi group helped settle Jeremy here in Perth back in 2005.  He later moved east for several years but returned in 2017 determined to rebuild his life, beginning by joining this parish.  Through the good agency of World Vision (bless you, Donna) the Lutheran World Federation was able to visit and assess the needs of the orphans and their carers.  (We have the list and it is extensive!)  World Vision has also promised aid to the family.  The Wakimbizi group was able to provide some immediate relief and, through the generosity of this congregation, has now sent funds for provision of a shelter.  Hopefully, construction can start soon.  Pastors from St Philips Kalobeyei have visited Lucy and the orphans to comfort and assist them.

You may remember a musing headed ’Alphonsine’s Story’?  Aphonsine with her three siblings was also settled in Perth by Wakimbizi, back in 2004.  Well, Alphonsine started a charity, Christian Ebernezer Jireh (CEJ), which provides support for widows, disabled persons and orphans in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.  Her mission is to provide for those who slip through the support gaps of other, mainstream NGOs.  Almost single-handedly, she has already funded it to the tune of $180K!  Can you guess how God is working here?  Yes, CEJ is meeting some of the critical needs of these poor orphaned children and their foster mum.  Shortly, you will see a video of the new mattresses and clothes which CEJ provided for the family and hear the words of the grateful kids.  So this is an ongoing story and I intend to relay it to you as it unfolds.  If you feel moved to help shape the outcome, please speak to me or John Pearman.  And please speak to Jeremy, who may not be known to many of you. 

Graham Whitley

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