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There are people in Northern Kenya who are dealing with trauma and need help to overcome it. You can help! You can help make a happier Christmas for those affected by trauma. Your gift will help provide workshops, counselling and support for men, women and children.
Will you give a donation to help people like Appolinarie?
Read and watch Appolinarie's story below.
Urban Refugee Trauma Care is a ministry serving 70,000 urban refugees and asylum-seekers in Nairobi who are vulnerable to mental health issues. The refugees are traumatized as a result of exposure to physical and political violence, separation from families and loss of social and emotional support
The project works with 45 local churches in Nairobi to become trauma healing communities, who provide biblically based trauma healing groups and host regular trauma healing events for the urban refugees and asylum-seekers.
It's evening and Appolinarie, who is heavily pregnant, runs out the back of her house, under the fence and scrambles through the bushes with her sister.
Behind them, shouts and screams pierce the quiet of the night.
Their family is being dragged out the neighbouring houses one by one, hacked with machetes and beaten. This is southern Rwanda in July 1994.
After running a while into the evening, Appolinarie collapses to the floor and passes out for several hours, drenched by the incessant rain. Her sister wakes her and encourages them to continue through the undergrowth to the next village.
At each village they come to and whichever direction they travel, the story is the same. Brutal violence and killings. They must keep moving. Appolinarie and her sister know the area well so they can move inconspicuously away from the built-up and exposed areas where they might encounter trouble. They don't know who they can trust.
She wants to give up, surely death is better, but finds the strength to continue.
A month after fleeing her home, Appolinarie is reunited with her husband and together with her sister they cross the river into Burundi. Exhausted. Depressed. This is where she gives birth to her firstborn. Safety in Burundi was just an illusion, however. The conditions were no better from where they fled, with the militia and locals in violent clashes. So, with her 3-week-old baby and her sister, Appolinarie started the even longer journey to Tanzania.
In Tanzania there were three camps for refugees, the place where she would spend the next two years of her life. There were many people in the camps all with stories of hardship, coping with life together in the tough environment of the camps.
In 1996, the Tanzania government closed the camps, meaning the many refugees living there were forced to move on again. Early in 1997, Appolinarie arrived in Nairobi, Kenya.
In Kenya, is where Appolinarie became a participant in the trauma healing groups and now, today, she helps lead these groups. Appolinarie describes trauma counselling without the word of God as "not enough. There are the spiritual places that counselling theories cannot reach" she says.
Tohru Inoue, a SIM missionary, went to a refugee camp in Kenya recently to help with trauma healing work.
He arrived at the venue and heard the participants in their devotion time singing a hymn;
"My faith has found a resting place,
Not in device nor creed;
I trust the Ever-living One,
His wounds for me shall plead.
I need no other argument,
I need no other plea;
It is enough that Jesus died,
And that He died for me."
It seemed to be a class favourite, as he heard it several times throughout the week.
The climax during the trauma healing sessions is writing down their deepest pains on little bits of paper and bringing them to the cross: a symbol of bringing them to Jesus.
It is an emotional time. People are coming to realize that they are carrying around pains they never knew they had. And they come to a place where they're parting with those pains. And people find in the cross - perhaps for the first time - someone who acknowledges that pain. They find in the cross, someone who is willing to take a hold of them and heal them.
As the bits of paper were silently consumed in flames, they held hands and sang another song that lingered and spoke,
"I tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God ...
you will see the glory of God."
A pastor was in tears as we sung that prophetically, repeating the refrain again and again;
"In your country ... you will see the glory of God ...
In your family ... you will see the glory of God ...
In your lost opportunity... you will see the glory of God ... "
And he believes they did. Through the tears, they saw it. In their deepest pains, they saw Him. In a heap of ashes, they saw Him. In the burned out bits of paper, they saw the glory of God.
Even here, in a place where despair abounds; in the borderlands of a country not their own; in a camp among refugees, there was a song that kept him company...
"I tell you that if you believe,
you will see the glory of God ...
You will see the glory of God."
And as Appolinarie can attest, she did indeed see the glory of God!