Witness Moment

Sharing Christ in Kenyan Camps

A team from Living Faith Lutheran Church in Clive, Iowa, joins LCMS missionaries and a local worker to share the Gospel in Kenyan refugee camps.

In the refugee camps of Kakuma and Kalobeyei, Kenya, life is difficult for the 180,000-plus people who were sent here after fleeing their homes in Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Burundi, Somalia and the Congo. In Kakuma, the older of the two camps, people live in homes made of mud bricks with tin roofing. In Kalobeyei, homes are made of a wood frame and tarp. In both areas, there is little vegetation. Even though there are many organizations doing their best to provide food, shelter, education and medical assistance, it just doesn’t seem to be enough.

In July, a short-term mission team from Living Faith Lutheran Church in Clive, Iowa, made the arduous journey to the camps with several LCMS missionaries. Their purpose was to encourage local Lutherans and to share the Gospel with those who had not yet heard.

Teams like the one from Living Faith help to support the work of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya (ELCK) by walking alongside the Lutheran congregations in the refugee camps to help them share the Gospel. For one week, the 12 members of the team lived out their faith by listening to stories, exchanging smiles and hugs, sharing encouraging words and Scripture messages, and praying with these dear brothers and sisters in Christ.

Seminarian Okach Omot Opiew from the Anuak tribe in Ethiopia said, “I didn’t really understand what [the door-to-door evangelism] was all about. Last year when I was with the group, I saw how effective it was, and after the team left I went door to door with the other church leaders, and we were able to start a new congregation in Kalobeyei.”

Okach will complete his studies at Neema Lutheran College (which is also known as Matongo Seminary) in Kenya and will return to Kalobeyei to serve there. He has been very active in reaching out to the youth in the camp, and he desires to return to his homeland one day to serve the church there.

The Rev. David Kuhnle (right), who served with the team from Living Faith Lutheran Church, Clive, Iowa, shares the Gospel with the help of a local Lutheran evangelist in the Kakuma refugee camp.

During the trip, the team from Living Faith was instrumental in connecting the Lutheran churches throughout the refugee camps and sharing the Gospel across many tribes.

Trips like these also help the LCMS East Africa field office and the ELCK learn about the needs of churches in different areas. A few months earlier, during a trip to recognize those who had successfully completed the local Lutheran Hour Ministries office’s Bible Correspondence Course, LCMS missionaries learned that one of the congregations had not received Holy Communion for almost five years. Shortly thereafter, LCMS missionary Rev. Thomas Aadland traveled to Kalobeyei to teach about the Sacrament of the Altar and administer the Lord’s body and blood to those who had gone many years without it.

God is present among His people in the refugee camps of Kakuma and Kalobeyei, and it is a joy and a blessing to be His instruments in building up the Body of Christ in a place such as this.

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