Bidibidi Refugee Camp
Bidibidi Bible Training Center, in the South Sudanese Refugee Camp, is entering term 3. Typically the Biblical Training Schools/Bible Training Center's run one week a month for about one year, including classes, exams and graduation. Because our refugee friends have the available time, and we have the lodging, the class in Bidibidi is running two straight weeks each month.
One of the alarming statistics that we learned is that about 3/4 of the people in South Sudan cannot read. With that in mind, it is incredible that we have 65 students in attendance whose English is fluent enough to follow along with the studies. There were only 5 we had to turn away because of the English requirement. We are hoping we will be able to do another school in Arabic soon. Can you imagine!? We are so excited to teach the Bible in Arabic!
We did extensive interviews with each person seeking to enroll. During the interviews we asked each potential student to share their testimony. Many students spoke of the difficulty of the journey to the refugee camp and the Lord's provision of safety for them. Many of the students were able to give testimony of the Lord's work in their life, but unable to communicate how they had received salvation. We have no doubt that this Bible School will not only ground people in their faith, but will bring many to saving faith as well.
The first Sunday we were there, Jacob Kasule, one of our Bible Trainers, had the privilege of preaching. Four men accepted Christ during the service. We were shocked to see that all four of the new believers stayed after the service to help us set up the dorm room and even signed up for the school. I am happy to report that each of these men have completed the first two terms. One young man by the name of Wallace assured Brian as we left the camp, "I will remain."
There are several young women attending the class as well. Four of them have young children. They sit on a mat at the back of the class keeping their toddlers occupied as they take turns writing notes and nursing. One of these ladies, Paipa, shared the ladies' story. She said "We have all been in the camp for over a year. We do not know where our husbands are. We don't know if they are fighting or if they are dead. Our husbands don't know if we made it to the camp or not. There is no communication into South Sudan. We are on our own and life is tough." I took a few minutes to encourage the ladies to persevere and to help each other. During the difficult times in my life, it was only God's Word that carried me through and I am assured that it will be their hope as well. They were encouraged.
At the end of the second week of class, students voiced their appreciation for the program. They already see that their lives will never be the same. A majority of these students are not pastors, but see the need to share the knowledge they are learning, They are already strategizing to plant churches as soon as they return to South Sudan. The 65 students represent 8 different tribes from all 6 regions/states of South Sudan. The impact of this class alone could be tremendous. The students see themselves, not just as refugees but as missionaries.
The Pastor overseeing the school at the camp has planted 28 churches in the refugee camp over the last year with the goal of many more.