Hearing the stories of refugees in Australia has given Lutheran World Federation (LWF) leader Martin Junge new insight into LWF’s work in African refugee camps. Find out how here …
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In his role as General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), Rev Dr Martin Junge has seen firsthand the devastating human impact of the world’s refugee crisis.
So the Geneva-based leader of the world’s largest body of Lutheran churches was ‘deeply moved’ on his first visit to Australia last month when he met a man from an African refugee camp where relief is provided by LWF.
Bosco Agulu, who lived at a refugee camp in northern Uganda’s Adjumani district from 1989 to 2005, is now a financial capability worker with Lutheran Community Care (LCC) SA-NT in Alice Springs.
‘It was a great encouragement to see how Lutherans are continuing to care for people after they leave the camps – as people are resettled in a new country, with a different part of the Lutheran world continuing to care for them’, Dr Junge said. ‘Meeting Bosco and hearing his story was deeply moving.’
Mr Agulu arrived in Adjumani with his family when he was a young child, having fled civil war in what is now South Sudan. He grew up in the camp and came to know about the assistance LWF provides there. Mr Agulu said life in the camp was not easy – his father died after being bitten by a snake while working there.
In Victoria, Dr Junge met African refugees who have been part of a revival of the Lutheran community in Shepparton, thanks to care they also received in LWF-run African camps.
The congregation had only about 25 members when, in 2006, 12 Congolese refugee families were resettled there by the Australian government. The new arrivals were all from African refugee camps, mostly in Tanzania, which formerly were run by LWF.
While in Shepparton, Dr Junge interviewed Abraham Maken, who lived at Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya for approximately nine years. Mr Maken fled violence in South Sudan when he was a boy.
Shepparton’s Pastor Matt Anker, who himself visited Kakuma in 2010, said Dr Junge had cherished the opportunity to meet people who had recent personal experiences of the refugee camps LWF helps to run.
‘It filled the circle in for him’, Pastor Anker said. ‘From his perspective it was a great encouragement to see the way in which former refugees have continued their connection with the Lutheran church on the basis of the care they’ve received in LWF–run refugee camps.’
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