Friday, November 11, 2011

Kakuma Refugee Camp

Commemoration of Martin of Tours, Pastor
Veterans’ Day

The Lord be with you

Rev. Shauen Trump is a missionary of the LCMS in East Africa. Kitty and I have supported him this past year with our prayers, and a small financial gift. He has, in turn, keep us informed concerning his work through his newsletter, which is available on line ( The following post is from their October newsletter.

In a shallow depression of a parched and desolate land lies the Kakuma Refugee Camp. Approaching its 20-year anniversary, the refugee camp is located close to Kenya’s border with Sudan and at its peak provided living space to 70,000 refugees. Today the camp contains an unknown number of refugees from Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, and Uganda.

Years ago, as part of its work with the developing Lutheran Church in Sudan, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) began to provide pastoral care for the Sudanese Lutherans in Kakuma. At one point there were four Lutheran congregations in the camp, each ministering to a different people group. A lay leader provided for the day-to-day spiritual needs of the congregations and LCMS missionaries or pastors from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya (ELCK) visited as they were able. It’s been three years since a Pastor was able to visit the congregations in the camp.

Last month the ELCK’s Archbishop asked Shauen if it would be possible for LCMS World Mission to send someone to visit the congregations in Kakuma. Shauen’s immediate response was “I myself will go. Who will you send with me?” So this month, as part of an Advance Trip for New Hope Missions Church of Mooresville, NC, Shauen and seven others were able to visit the three congregations in the camp.

Together we rejoiced as Water and the Word flowed in 150 baptisms of men, women, and children. We presided over scores of confirmations and celebrated Holy Communion with those who had not received it in three years. In one congregation a small group of eight children sang, danced, recited Scripture, and presented a dialogue with energy and conviction that astonished us: “We are the young soldiers of Jesus Christ that will move the church forward into the battle of tomorrow. Yes, we are bishops, pastors, and evangelists of tomorrow. But without some foundation we cannot hope to go on… We must be sure we are in the Lord, the One Foundation … Remember we are marching through the world with the cross of Jesus Christ!”

As is often the case, Shauen set out to joyfully serve and encourage God’s people here only to find that it was they who served and encouraged him. Praise the Lord for His people in Kakuma!

(The first picture is of Shauen as he Baptizes in the Kakuma Refugee Camp. The second picture is of the children in the Kakuma Refugee Camp sharing their faith.)

I am reminded of the following wonderful hymn.

Hark, the voice of Jesus crying,
“Who will go and work today?
Fields are white and harvests waiting—
Who will bear the sheaves away?”
Loud and long the Master calleth;
Rich reward He offers thee.
Who will answer, gladly saying,
“Here am I, send me, send me”?

If you cannot speak like angels,
If you cannot preach like Paul,
You can tell the love of Jesus,
You can say He died for all.
If you cannot rouse the wicked
With the judgment’s dread alarms,
You can lead the little children
To the Savior’s waiting arms.

If you cannot be a watchman,
Standing high on Zion’s wall,
Pointing out the path to heaven,
Off’ring life and peace to all.
With your prayers and with your bounties
You can do what God commands;
You can be like faithful Aaron,
Holding up the prophet’s hands.

Let none hear you idly saying,
“There is nothing I can do,”
While the multitudes are dying
And the Master calls for you.
Take the task He gives you gladly,
Let His work your pleasure be;
Answer quickly when He calleth,
“Here am I, send me, send me!”

As verse three reminds us, supporting missionaries with our prayers and financial aid is a real and valued way to respond to our Lord’s call to reach out with the Gospel. Everyone can’t go to Kenya, or China, or wherever. But “with our prayers and with our bounties” we can, and should, fill the roll of Aaron.

Maybe you would like to support a mission/missionary with your prayers and with your bounties, but East Africa just isn’t pulling at your heart. I strongly recommend “Mission Central,” headed up by Gary Theis, as a place where you can be put in touch with men and women who are doing the Lord’s work and in need of support. Mission Central is sort of a clearing house for missions/missionaries associated with the LC-MS. If there is a need they go to Gary and Gary finds a way to meet the need. Mission Central’s web address is: Mission Central put Kitty and I in touch with Shauen. They can connect you with a missionary or mission of your own.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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