Field notes, perspectives, stories & updates from IAFR's work in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya
Hunger is always an issue in Kakuma refugee camp, but the Covid-19 pandemic has ramped up the need to where our refugee brothers and sisters have asked for help (something they haven’t done before).
They have asked if IAFR can provide a month’s worth of maize, beans and cooking oil for 50 vulnerable families during the pandemic. To do so, we need to raise about $25/per person per month – or $6,250/per month to offer assistance to the 50 families (250 people).
I told them we will do what we can to try and help with 3 months worth of assistance. I prayed that God would answer their prayers and provide them with their daily bread. And I prayed that God might give us the joy and privilege of partnering with Him as he provides.
Less than 24 hours later, I got a call from a partner church in Washington D.C. They asked if IAFR had any Covid-19 Emergency Response needs related to our work. And a few days later, my home church in St. Paul, Minnesota asked:
“Do you need funding for food [in Kakuma]?”
It may well prove that between these two generous churches, that 2 months worth of food assistance will be provided. They both said that they will confirm soon. How beautiful it is to see churches in the USA partner with churches in Kakuma refugee camp in this life-giving way in the midst of the pandemic!
I often feel like I get to look behind the curtain and see how God is at work to answer the prayers of refugees and asylum seekers. In the past two months alone, I have been talking with them in the morning, listening to them share their needs – and within 24 hours I find God has already moved someone to give what is needed to meet the need through IAFR.
Once again, God has provided before I’ve had time to share the need and invite people to help. It is nothing short of breath-taking.
It’s the message running through Scripture from Genesis to Revelation, and it continues to be true today.
God sees. God hears. God cares.
If you'd like to help provide food assistance to our friends in Kakuma, click here.
As I head towards Nairobi airport, I can’t help but feel uncertainly in the air. The US declared it will stop receiving passengers from Europe unless they have residency beginning midnight tonight. I heard that the US government is asking residents arriving from Europe to self-quarantine for two weeks after arrival. I learned an hour or so ago that not only is my trip to Bangkok later this month cancelled – but so is my trip to Seattle (to meet with some churches). Another IAFR colleague cancelled her planned trip to Jakarta this month. I’m seriously wondering if my planned visit to our teams in France and Austria in early May will be possible. Uncertainty seems to accelerate daily.
That’s why I needed to post this photo of a tree in the middle of an ancient savannah with Mt. Kenya filling in the backdrop. Some things are crazy right now. But some things stand firm. Breathe it in.
While we need to take the current pandemic seriously, let’s not forget to fix our hearts and minds on the bedrock of Life. God is with us. God is good. Even in times of uncertainty and suffering. And in such times, may those of us who follow Jesus, seek to encourage and assist those who are vulnerable. May love rather than fear guide our feet.
And here’s hoping I can get back to Donna (my wife) tomorrow afternoon as planned.
UPDATE: My connecting flight from Amsterdam to Minneapolis was cancelled (as I was heading to the Nairobi airport). Thankfully, Delta rebooked next after a few hours. I’ll be flying Amsterdam – Chicago – Minneapolis now. It adds about 7 hours to the trip, but at least I’ll get back home. Still, I won’t be surprised if more changes happen between now (I’m still in Kenya) and then.
UPDATE #2: I almost made it back home. But 4 hours of customs and CDC related lines at O’Hare airport made me miss the last flight to Minneapolis today. I’m grateful to a generous board member who put me up in an airport hotel. That will make it a cinch to check in for my Minneapolis bound flight in the morning.
IAFR has been serving people in Kakuma refugee camp since 2010. About 195,000 people (mostly women and children) have found temporary refuge here from war, persecution and gross violations of human rights.
We visit Kakuma 2-3 times annually, during which time this blog is most active.
Visit the Kakuma page on the IAFR.org website to learn more!
We partner with United Refugee and Host Churches (URHC) - a refugee initiated association of over 160 churches from within the camp and surrounding host community.
We also partner with National Council of Churches Kenya (NCCK), an exceptional humanitarian agency.
IAFR | 1515 East 66th Street | Minneapolis, MN 55423 | firstname.lastname@example.org | 612.200.0321