Visiting the Kakuma Refugee Camp

On October 8, the first leg of the Road to Kakuma shipment was completed when our container arrived at the Port of Mombasa in Kenya. Thank you to all our supporters who have made this possible.

This summer CLWR staffer Derrick Nyamori returned to his native Kenya to visit friends and family. He took the opportunity to visit the Kakuma Refugee Camp to meet with Lutheran World Federation (LWF) staff and see first-hand how our shipment might help. He offers this report:

 
Arriving at Nairobi’s modest Wilson airport at the crack of dawn, about 20 of us were led into the plane that would take us to Kakuma. Initially it was a scenic flight, with dramatic terrain that features Mount Kenya. This slowly gave way to vast plains that seemed to get drier and sparser as we approached Kakuma. With the gravel airstrip in view, it was clear that the scarcity of water must be a big challenge for this town and refugee camp. We flew over a bone-dry riverbed as we descended into a bumpy landing.

Derrick Nyamori (right) with an LWF staff member. CLWR/D.Nyamori

Derrick Nyamori (right) with an LWF staff member. CLWR/D.Nyamori

I was graciously received by Lutheran World Federation staff and driven to their offices. They were very capable in and passionate about their work, if somewhat overwhelmed by the recent surge in refugee arrivals. I came to learn that the conflict in South Sudan was the main cause for this spike.

The camp tour was as emotional as it was interesting. While life in the camp is far from ideal, I left with the impression that among the most important things the camp does for the refugees is create hope. Typically, the refugees escape areas where their lives are at constant risk from political conflict, scarcity of resources and gender-based violence, to only mention a few. At the camp, they find a home. They find a place to learn and, perhaps most importantly, they find security. While life remains a daily struggle, the existence of such a place is a big reason why these refugees can still dream of a brighter future.

A child looks at water tanks in the Kakuma Refugee Camp. Water must be trucked in daily to meet the needs of the people for drinking, washing and cooking. CLWR/D.Nyamori

A child looks at water tanks in the Kakuma Refugee Camp. Water must be trucked in daily to meet the needs of the people for drinking, washing and cooking. CLWR/D.Nyamori

At the time I visited, the population of the camp was about 170,000. It is at full capacity, yet there are new arrivals every day. Resources are strained, and the refugees feel this most acutely. The water system is aging, leading to leakages and overflows. There is a constant need for non-food items (NFIs), such as those supported through CLWR’s We Care program.

Women and children wash and gather water at a communal tap. CLWR/D.Nyamori

Women and children wash and gather water at a communal tap. CLWR/D.Nyamori

Life in the camp can greatly be improved, but from every person I talked to in the camp, there’s an overwhelming gratitude for the existence and continuance of the camp, and for the help they receive through all the organizations involved. With the conflict in South Sudan still raging, the need is ever greater.

 
– Derrick Nyamori, CLWR Administration Coordinator

A CLWR prayer for the nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Lord of all, we see your face in the world all around us. Guide our giving of ourselves to your glory.

Give us hearts that discern the value of deeper meaning, beyond the surface sparkle that often distracts us from your truth.

Surprise us with your teaching and use us in leading others to seek the will of God in this world.

For yours is the kingdom and the glory. Amen

(Matt.22:15-22)

Thanks to Rev. Jane Gingrich (Hills of Peace Lutheran Church, Kamloops) for contributing this week’s prayer.

Bishop Dr. Munib A. Younan visits Canada from the Holy Land

Bishop Munib Younan photo squareBishop Dr. Munib A. Younan will visit Ottawa, Waterloo and Winnipeg this month to speak about peace-building and humanitarian work in some of the most conflicted areas in the world.

He is the president of the Lutheran World Federation and the bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land. As such, he has a unique perspective on regions affected by conflict: GazaSyria,Iraq and South Sudan are among them.

Canadian Lutherans, through CLWR, are offering support to people affected by violence and displacement in these regions. Much of that work is accomplished through the Lutheran World Federation, one of our main humanitarian partners on the ground.

Bishop Dr. Younan is a Palestinian Christian who actively works to bring Palestinian and Israeli communities together. (Read his biography HERE.) While in Waterloo, he will be presented with the Civis Mundi Award for Global Citizenship at at public event on October 22.

He will also attend receptions/meet-and-greets in Ottawa (October 21) and Winnipeg (October 24).

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to hear Bishop Dr. Younan speak!

Ottawa: Tuesday, October 21, 7:30-9:30 p.m., Ottawa Marriott Hotel, 100 Kent Street, Ottawa
Reception, meet-and-greet, and address by Bishop Dr. Younan. Free admission and all are welcome. A free-will offering will support the Elder Care Pavilion at the Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem. For more information, click HERE.

Waterloo: Wednesday, October 22, 7:30-9 p.m., CIGI Auditorium, 67 Erb St West, Waterloo
Presented by the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary. Free to the public. Bishop Dr. Younan will be presented with the Civis Mundi Award for Global Citizenship, and he will address “Building Peace in the Holy Land: The Contributions of Christians and People of Faith. For more information, click HERE.

Winnipeg: Friday, October 24, 7:30-9:30 p.m., Inn at the Forks, 75 Forks Market Road, Winnipeg
Reception, meet-and-greet, and address by Bishop Dr. Younan. Free admission and all are welcome. A free-will offering will support the Elder Care Pavilion at the Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem. For more information, click HERE.

A CLWR prayer for Thanksgiving Sunday

God of abundance, you pour out on us a lavish feast for which we are thankful.

Bless us by the presence of those who do not feel your welcome so readily. Offer your cloak of gracious love and mercy through us this day.

Guard us from our prejudices and keep us from our judgements. Here, together, open our hearts and minds to the great celebration you offer to each and every one. Amen

(Matt.22:1-14)

Thanks to Rev. Jane Gingrich (Hills of Peace Lutheran Church, Kamloops) for contributing this week’s prayer.

A CLWR prayer for the seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

Crucified and risen, you are Lord. Show us the way of compassion, despite our wicked tendencies.  

Teach us to hear your Word on the breath of those whom we deem unworthy. Turn our ego-centered living towards other-focused compassion towards those in our world who are beaten with words and worse.  

Bring us ever-closer to you, O God, through the building up of our relationships here and now with those you send our way. Amen

Thanks to Rev. Jane Gingrich (Hills of Peace Lutheran Church, Kamloops) for contributing this week’s prayer!

A CLWR prayer for the sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

God of surprises, you point us in directions that challenge our assumptions of the way things are.

The kingdom of God is a place that gathers all together, but so often we have trouble coming together as people from different walks of life with different life experiences.

Put in our paths opportunities for service where we may be stretched, and come in contact with need in the world.

Help us to respond in genuine ways so that all may have a share in the reign you are bringing into being.
Through the one with authority and compassion, Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen

-Thanks to Rev. Tyler Gingrich, CLWR’s Youth Engagement Coordinator, for contributing our prayers this month.

Making “Connections” with people around the world

Thank you, Jane Ann, for supporting people in building better futures. Below, you can read a Tom and Jane Ann cheque presentationmedia release about her book and her donation.

When Lutheran author Jane Ann McLachlan released her book, Connections: Parables for Today, she announced that she would turn over her royalties to Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR) and the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) to assist in their aid and relief work. Ms. McLachlan fulfilled that commitment this month.

Ms. McLachlan presented a cheque for $2205.00 on Wednesday, September 10, to Tom Brook, Community Relations Director of CLWR. On Friday she will be presenting another cheque to MCC. She will also donate the proceeds from future book sales.

Ms. McLachlan said, “It is an honour to be a part of the valuable work that CLWR does to help those in desperate need, and I’m pleased to know that churches across Canada and the United States are finding my book useful in church discussion groups and adult forums. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to use the talents God gives us in a way that gives back. When I speak in churches I am so amazed at the wonderful ways in which so many Christians are using their talents to benefit their church and those in need outside their church, and I’m delighted that my book is part of that groundswell of giving.”

Published by Pandora Press of Kitchener, Connections: Parables for Today is a collection of ten Connections cover 961592014short stories that show that people often have more in common than they initially realize.

Mr. Brook has called Connections a “brilliant series of stories that help us to stay aligned with our neighbour. Jane Ann brings wonderful insights into human nature and guides us through our responses in a way that can reorient our lives. A perfect resource for small group study or personal reflection.”

—Tom Brook, Community Relations Director, Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR)

Rev. Riitta Hepomaki said, “Connections is an outstanding, thought-provoking resource for study groups and for personal meditation. Through these ten stories, Jane Ann opens a window to the diversity of human life, and the accompanying discussion material deepens the readers’ understanding of themselves, the people around them, and the Bible excerpts that accompany each of the stories.”

—Rev. Riitta Hepomaki, Assistant to the Bishop, Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

Connections: Parables for Today can be purchased through Pandora Press at: http://bookshop.pandorapress.com/  

Phone local: (519) 745-1560  
Phone toll-free: (866) 696-1678 
Fax: (519) 578-1826  
E-mail: christian@pandorapress.com

Jane Ann McLachlan can be contacted to speak at your church through her website, http://www.janeannmclachlan.com, or by email at jamclachlan@golden.net.

For further information, contact Jane Ann McLachlan by email at jamclachlan@golden.net or by telephone at 519-888-7276.