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The refugee church needs our help

November 22, 2022

Signs of faith in Dzaleka refugee camp, Malawi
"Where would people go to find hope?"

I recently asked a refugee friend of mine in Dzaleka Refugee Camp (Malawi) what the camp would be like without churches. He took a second to think about the question. I could see the wheels turning in his head. Finally, he said, “Where would people go to find hope?

It was not the answer I was expecting. I was expecting something a bit more practical and a bit less philosophical. But as I have reflected on it, I am convinced he was right. In refugee contexts all over the world, refugee churches do the heavy lifting of keeping hope alive.

Refugee church buildings matter.

There is an old saying that the church is more than a building, but in a place like Dzaleka, church buildings really matter.

The place people go to find community

Daily life is hard beyond words. There is little ‘space’ where people can go just for a little respite. But this is where churches come in. They are spaces that belong to the people. They are community gathering places. They are counseling centers. They are quiet places for prayer and large spaces for worship, song, and dance.

Church members are inspired to care for their church buildings with passion and zeal because it is the place they go to find community.

Refugee church buildings play a critical role in keeping hope and faith alive.

But there is more. Refugee churches provide space for many other community services. Their buildings are often used as temporary housing for new arrivals to the camp. Churches in Dzaleka refugee camp are used as elementary and high schools during the week. Some offer theological training courses, skilled trades courses, and even language learning courses.

The Refugee Church needs our help!

The first refugees came to the camp in 1994 as they fled the genocide in Rwanda. Many of them are still there today. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of others fleeing war, persecution, and failed states have joined them. The population of Dzaleka has grown from 15,000 to over 50,000 in the past decade.

Some of the old refugee church buildings are in desperate need of repair (or complete rebuilding). Many new church buildings are needed to serve the people.

Our brothers and sisters need our help.

Double your donation for refugee church buildings!

A generous financial partner has agreed to match the first $5,000 donated to IAFR's Refugee Church Building project fund between now and January 31, 2023.

Double your donation and give today!

Click here to GIVE TODAY!

Please join with us in prayer for our refugee church partners this coming holiday season as they seek to keep hope alive in difficult places like Dzaleka refugee camp.

Over 50,000 people live in Dzaleka refugee camp today.

Click here to learn more about our work in Dzaleka refugee camp.

Jacob Tornga with Tom Albinson

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