Graduate Project: Ministering in a Refugee Camp
February 2020, Written by SIFAT Co-founder Sarah Corson
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” 2 Cor. 1:3-5
Bullen, SIFAT’s only graduate from South Sudan, recently sent a letter to SIFAT that began with this Bible verse. He knows from the core of his being what affliction means, and just as real to him is the God of all comfort.
His people have been exploited and enslaved for centuries by the Arab Northern Sudanese fighting for ivory, slaves and later, oil, against the African Southern Sudanese. Finally, South Sudan gained its freedom and joined the United Nations as the world’s 193rd nation in 2011. But in less than a year, terrible atrocities were started again, and the population in this war-torn, impoverished nation is suffering enslavement, savage acts of torture and destruction of life and property.
A refugee in the U.S. for eight years, Bullen was able to finish his schooling to be a minister with the help of American Christians. Then, he came to study with us at SIFAT. He is such a beautiful, kind, compassionate person, one could hardly believe what he has had to overcome during his growing up years. What a witness to the saving power of Christ! He could have stayed here in the U.S., but in his own words, he said, “During my time in the States, I knew God wanted me to return to share the love of Christ with my people in South Sudan. What I didn’t know was that I would be in another country, Uganda, and God would bring over a million of them here to refugee camps.” He adds, “A million refugees is not just a number. Friends, these are PEOPLE and in need of the Gospel! Each one has a story to tell, how they were separated from their children, or their spouse by the village raids, and some don’t know what happened to the rest of their family. Others saw their family members tortured and killed.” Every one of these people KNOW what affliction is. And more and more are finding comfort in Christ through Bullen’s work.
Bullen started Bible studies in the refugee camp three years ago. We received a letter from him with a picture of the congregation at the dedication service for the church God helped him start at Ombechi Refugee Camp. SIFAT became partners with Bullen through our International Graduates’ Projects, which helps raise funds for approved projects. Bullen’s project was to build the church with a large garden around it, where the refugees can grow much needed food. He is using the agricultural training he received from SIFAT gardener John Carr to help them have more food. Refugees from other camps where Bullen also works have seen the success in Ombechi and are asking for a church and gardens in their camps, too.
He is now training more Christian refugees to be pastors in the other camps. He states, “Our first task is to let God use us as disciple-makers. We can help others hear God clearly through our kindness to them and sharing the Bible with them. We are witnesses among everyone we meet. God wants us to have a relationship with Him and with everyone around us.” People see Jesus in Bullen. This church in Ombechi is growing fast, and the people there are growing food to help others who are hungry, too, sharing God’s love in practical ways.
Bullen has a long prayer list and asks for our prayers, including his health needs as he is recovering from malaria. But the first thing on his prayer list is to pray for him and all the people there to know the Joy of the Lord. He says they can do great things for God as long as they have the Joy of the Lord in the midst of all the suffering.
SIFAT has a network of graduates like Bullen in many countries. The Graduate Project Committee is accepting new proposals from our graduates to help them get seed money to carry out the things they learned at SIFAT. Those of you who support SIFAT are helping us to train more graduates to go into more hard places in our world. You are also helping us to get their seed money to get started. Thank you for being part of the global ministry of SIFAT.
To see our active graduates’ projects and our fully funded projects, visit our website: