more info about Operation refugee
THE STORY OF OUR FIRST REFUGEE
Operation Refugee was born when a refugee from Congo applied for our DTS in Potch. He sold everything to afford the Discipleship Training School. At the DTS he decided to totally change his life and turn to Christ. He was one of our best students and very hard working. The gospel meant everything to him. Not only was he committed but he was also very intelligent and was appointed as outreach leader by the group. He came from a very good family and his father was a pastor for many years and his brother is one of two base leaders at the YWAM DRC base. He was just needing an opportunity, spiritual deliverance and discipleship. YWAM fitted him like a glove. As he came to know the scriptures and the Holy Spirit better he grew every week and he was given tools to sort out his life. Presently he has gone to Congo to sort out all his papers which will be the final act of restoration before he can look forward to a new life in Christ serving God.
OUTREACH TO THE REFUGEE CAMP
For our current DTS, we prayed and felt one of the places we should reach out is the refugee camp in Tsaleka, Malawi. When we got there we saw there are 23000 refugees in the camp from 12 nations. Mainly from Congo (11000), Burundi (6000) and Rwanda (5000).
The first refugee I met was an 18 year old who was one of 5 kids. His father got killed in Burundi and his mother fled with 5 kids. He arrived at the refugee camp when he was about 12. For 6 years he has lived in the refugee camp. What is the future for him? He is as bright as any child, he is not there because of his choice. What we found was a little bit difficult to stomach. They can go outside of the camp but must have a letter to sleep outside of the camp. It is totally understandable that Malawi’s government doesn’t want these refugees on the streets of Malawi and want the refugee camp organised. Yet what does this boy now do? He has lived in the camp in difficult conditions for 6 years not knowing a different life and the road just to get back to his country is very difficult. Not only is it difficult but dangerous. These people really have no choice but to choose a life of poverty and hopelessness over danger which is very understandable, yet very far from ideal.
Safe international donations with PAYPAL
PLEASE support DTS for refugees:
Click on the DONATE button
OPERATION Refugee Africa NPC Donations
South African Banking details:
Operation Refugee Africa NPO
First Nation Bank
Branch code: 240438
Reference: (indicate your reference here)
YWAM: A BEACON OF HOPE FOR A NEW LIFE
When we arrived at the refugee camp I asked the pastors if we can hold revival meetings, my time was short as I was only there for a week and there were 23000 people. The pastors saw the opportunity to spread the gospel and the opportunity for education for their young people and called meetings for 3 days.
As we prayed we felt we should give application forms for DTS and see how many people applied.
50 young people between the age of 18-25 applied! The only problem? Nobody’s got money! As I prayed I felt I should start to run a campaign to get these people sponsored for their lecture phase so that they can start with a new life. People start off with a Discipleship Training School and can then get one of 7 degrees in YWAM. They can get a degree in Christian ministries, humanities, Arts and culture, sport, communication, business and education. The DTS is the entrance level in the University of the nations (University of the Nations) which is the university of YWAM.
We are positioned to help these people in a unique way. We can address the problem both spiritually and academically. As a base that is in a city known as the ‘city of education’ we are one of several bases that can help people ‘lift off’ and be equipped to be professionals in an area and then send them back to Congo, Burundi and Rwanda if they want to go and feel God lead them back there. This is an excellent opportunity to influence central Africa in a very unstable area historically.
After 50 applications we stopped the application process. The potential exists for more students, but we are going to try our best to get these 50 refugees funded initially.
WHERE ARE THEY GOING TO DO DTS?
As they are refugees and countries don’t want a flood of unwanted, unskilled, hurt people in their countries there is legitimate reasons for concern for governments. This problem needs to be addressed with the necessary wisdom that it deserves.
Of the 50 students that applied most are Swahili. There are refugees that can speak English but the major languages are Swahili, French and English. As YWAM has multiple bases in multiple countries we choose bases according to language and cost first. The bases identified at this stage are Blantyre, Malawi for English speaking people and different bases throughout Tanzania and Uganda for Swahili and French speaking. The aim is to send no more than 10 refugees to one base. We want to devote attention to each individual case and we trust that through the lecture phase each former refugee will find their way in life as they pray, get educated and are helped by the bases.
In this way we solve the problems of central Africa in Central Africa. The aim is to help, educate and empower central Africans to overcome their own problems by sitting at the feet of Jesus. We trust that out of these refugees, leaders will be born that will start new training facilities where more people can be educated to overcome the mindset that has brought the wars in especially Congo and the presently unstable Burundi. Although the refugees will be sent to these countries it does not necessarily mean that they will stay in this countries. The only aim is to take them out of the refugee camp into new circumstances and help them to get a plan and a vision for their lives.
WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO DO AFTER DTS?
If they pass their DTS they have the opportunity to staff at any base in the world. Not only can they staff but they can also continue with studies in the University of the Nations or find a job. All these matters will be prayed through with them individually by base leaders, staff and those volunteering in YWAM who have walked a successful path in being trainers and teachers in YWAM.
Operation refugee seeks to help with the releasing, funding and placing of the refugees. The bases will have the responsibility for the training, outreach fees and the discerning of the next step for the individuals with the individuals as the former refugees then take responsibility for their own lives as they are equipped to do so. Operation refugee aims to not give bases too many people but only the amount they feel they can successfully integrate in their international DTS to see a viable future to be created for these individuals through the relational networks that are being formed through the DTS students.
FOLLOW UP FOR REFUGEES
We believe that this strategy is not from us but ordained by God. When I heard we are going to get a refugee as a student I didn’t really know what to expect. I expected somebody that didn’t have very high intellectual capabilities and that our work would be cut out to change the worldview but I was excited.
When Steven came, his testimony was amazing. It was like a movie script but the truth. He told us how he made friends with another young man who was involved with rebel soldiers, how he was taken into the bush to take muti (potions in cultural African religion) to become a rebel soldier. He then realised he was in danger of violence or death and fled. He ended up in a refugee camp and the spent over 10 years in different refugee camps.
But what tickled me was that his father was a lifelong pastor and that his brother was one of two base leaders in the DRC YWAM base. What was the chance that his brother would be a base leader in the Congo?
This looked to me like a man that was handpicked. And he didn’t disappoint. He was tired and sick of struggling, he was giving 110% as a student, carried all the equipment when we went to class, cleaned everything constantly and we realised he was really serious with God.
He was appointed the outreach leader and did a great job. There are just a lot of natural skills that can’t be taught and a heart to help his friends, especially his refugee brothers.
Our plan is to appoint him to care for all the refugees that we place out. After we got money for 5 refugees we will urgently look to place them out. If this plan is going to work we should start small and grow big, yet an elephant starts big and grows bigger. After the 5 students are released Steven will help them to get their refugee status as they are guarded by the UN. The UN then officially releases them into our care. Steven will then travel with the refugees to their appointed base and book them in and pay for their lecture phase. They are then handed over to the base and he will keep contact with them.
He will be based in Potch as we will be the overseer of the process in Central Africa.