Hope Still Remains for Christian Refugees in Uganda

ICC Note: There are thousands of South Sudanese Refugees living in the world’s largest refugee camp located in Uganda. Many refugees have encountered post-traumatic stress disorder, and they have been able to sustain their illness by speaking to camp counselors, by praying, and seeking God’s power to heal.

08/09/2018 Uganda (Religion News) – Every morning when Achol Kuol wakes up, she borrows a Bible from her neighbor and reads a verse to comfort herself before she meets others in an open-air church rigged from timber. They sing, dance and speak in tongues during the service. Some who feel filled with the Holy Spirit scream and jump — not with joy, but remorse.

Confessions flow as they recall the ones they killed in the civil war back home in South Sudan. They cry out, lamenting ordeals they endure at night. Others weep in prayer as they ask God for forgiveness.

“I can’t sleep unless I keep on praying,” said Kuol, 38, a mother of five. “I always have nightmares. In my dreams I go back to my old village and I see how my friends were shot dead. They keep on calling me, ‘Achol! Achol! Achol!’ And I would wake up screaming.”

For thousands of South Sudanese here in the world’s largest refugee camp, the search for healing from recent horrors involves a quest for God.  Saddled with post-traumatic stress disorder in many cases, refugees are often encouraged by camp counselors to attend church as a pathway to healing.

“Many refugees usually go to church because it’s the only likely place in the camp where they can get help to recover from the trauma,” said Gabriel Mayen, a trauma counselor at Bidi Bidi. “The church gives them new hope, which is important to refugees and any person who has experienced trauma.”

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