Uganda: How a Bible app is growing churches in a refugee camp

Uganda: How a Bible app is growing churches in a refugee camp

A pastor who fled the civil war in South Sudan has been equipped to establish new church plants, thanks to a mobile phone app.

Rev. Alex Sokiri and his wife Harriet fled an armed raid on their town in Kajo Keji in South Sudan in July 2016, forcing them to leave all their possessions behind. They travelled on foot to the Morobi Refugee Camp in Northern Uganda where they, and others from their church and community, struggled to adapt to life in the camp that has now been their home for the past two years.

“In the camp life was very hard,” Harriet said. “Some people came to us wanting to commit suicide because they had left everything. They had no food, no shelter. They were completely traumatised and discouraged.” Alex drew together other pastors from across the camp and together they established small church plants to help people gather into supportive communities. “There were many mental health issues,” he said. “We encouraged the people with the Word of God and restored their hope.”

Alex and Harriet use the eVitabu mobile app, which means ‘books’ in Swahili. This app contains a wide range of theological resources and Bible versions. Having fled without possessions, Alex has found the loss of his theological library challenging. However, the eVitabu app developed by the African Pastors Fellowship (APF), which is loaded on to a solar-powered tablet, is enabling him to teach, prepare sermons, and inspire and equip fellow pastors in the camp.

Watch this video about Alex and Harriet Sokiri’s ministry in the refugee camp
“The app helped us with ideas for counselling, farming, youth ministry, peace-building and church planting. It brought many changes in our life and the life in the refugee camp. For instance: we read how we can form communities and do outreach. So we formed two sports clubs in the refugee camp bringing all the young people together. The youth are traumatised and often involved in criminal activities.” Currently, around 100 young people attend the sports programs. Harriet has reached out to women and created a small market garden.

Source: Alex and Harriet Sokiri, APF

Joel News International – #1122 | April 15, 2019

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This church lets the homeless sleep on the pews

Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” He then said: “Follow me.”

– Luke 9:58-59a

This church lets 225 homeless sleep on the pews

Lack of sleep is one of the most critical health issues for the homeless. An average of 225 homeless people seek safety and rest on the pews in the sanctuary of St. Boniface church in San Francisco every day, thanks to The Gubbio Project.

The Gubbio Project was co-founded in 2004 by community activists Shelly Roder and Father Louis Vitale as a non-denominational project of St. Boniface Neighborhood Center located in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood in response to the increasing numbers of homeless men and women in need of refuge from the streets.

“No questions are asked when our guests walk into the churches; in an effort to remove all barriers to entry, there are no sign-in sheets or intake forms. No one is ever turned away; all are welcomed, respected and treated with dignity,” the project’s website states.

While the church uses the front 1/3 of the sanctuary for church-goers to celebrate daily mass at 12:15 p.m., the Gubbio Project uses the back 2/3 of the sanctuary. “This sends a powerful message to our unhoused neighbors – they are in essence part of the community, not to be kicked out when those with homes come in to worship,” the non-profit organization says. “It also sends a message to those attending mass – the community includes the tired, the poor, those with mental health issues and those who are wet, cold and dirty.”

In addition to a place to rest, the church offers warm blankets, socks, hygiene kits, and massage services.

[More work for the cleaners – God bless them]

Source: The Gubbio Project

Click to play this video of The Gubbio Project

March 21, 2018

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