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To heal a refugee

His name is Charles.

He is a refugee from Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) and an alumnus of our Bible school. He was among the first fruits of our Bible school, having graduated in 2017. When he confidently talks about the valuable training that he got from the Bible school, it is easy to note that what Charles gained is more than the Certificate in Biblical and Ministerial Studies that he now proudly possesses. What pushed him to join our Bible school is nothing more than the desire to become better at his work as a minister. Charles explained that he had been working in different positions at different levels of church administration from deacon to marriage counsellor and finally as Church Administrator. However, he still did not feel satisfied with the way he was working. Charles realized that there were some things that he was doing wrong and that knowledge gap strengthened his desire to look for training.

“I was just operating without fully understanding my job. I knew that was risky because as a church leader I was bound to misinform the people who depended on me.” Charles explained. He added that as a Church Administrator, his assignments mainly revolved around important tasks such as leading the church programme and that he risked leading the church astray if he barely knew what he was doing.

“It is an obvious fact that a learned person works competently than someone who never received training. I wanted to be a learned person. The church I administered in, was growing and it was high time I too grew spiritually.” Charles disclosed, adding that in 2015, with support from his church, he registered for a 2-year course at our Bible school. It was a decision that, Charles said, paid off in multiple ways he could have never imagined. Even before he had completed his training, Charles could notice an improvement in the way he handled his church administration tasks. It was as if a locked door had swung open and everything he had been lacking came flowing out.

“Let me be honest with you. At first, I was working without focus. I was a church leader who was ignorant of his field but when I joined the Bible school, I could now recognize where I was deficient, where I needed to improve and how to do what.” He recalled. That is not all, as a refugee who has been living in Dzaleka Camp since 2003, Charles has a good understanding of the trauma and challenges refugees go through. Refugees are among the vulnerable groups that experience trauma related to war or persecution and this has been known to affect their mental health. Most of these people are so affected by the traumatic experience they passed through that they resort to aggressive behaviour or worse. Sometimes, some of them turn to the church for emotional healing.

Charles has seen such cases before.

“You know, many refugees in the camp live in despair and hopelessness and we use the Word of God to bring back that lost hope and assure such people that all is not lost,” Charles said, adding that he has, on multiple occasions, seen young people turn to risky behaviour to shut off their emotional suffering.

“A person with no hope is a danger to the society because they have nothing to lose. It is very easy for such an individual to negatively influence others.” Charles observed. As a church leader in the refugee camp, Charles is involved in counselling to encourage fellow refugees who have lost hope and help them to get back on their feet, psychologically.

“We hold private Bible studies with such people and we visit them in their homes to strengthen them both spiritually and emotionally,” Charles explained. He further added that most often many young refugees who are desperate and hopeless believe that marriage is the solution to their problems thus they start searching for a marriage partner. Charles said that this poses a threat to these people since such marriages are usually characterized by domestic violence and abuse. Charles’ job as a church leader is not spared such scenarios and his office receives a lot of such issues.

“A long time ago if such cases were brought on my table, I don’t think I could have the confidence to take them on but now I am able to handle them maturely.” Charles stated, “I efficiently manage my job because I received proper training.” Charles joined our Bible school, seeking knowledge in theology but what he ended up obtaining is more than he envisaged.

He got a certificate in Biblical studies but, most importantly, he attained knowledge which is helping him to assist fellow refugees in achieving emotional healing.

There is Hope Bible School is funded by God’s Economy and Hilfe für Brüder International.