My name is Sussylin Muturi, serving as a STEM-CD (Short Term Experience in Ministry-Community Development) in Dadaab Refugee Camp which is located in Garissa county, hosting about 211,000 refugees from different countries including Somalia (makes up the highest group), South Sudan, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Congo, Burundi, and Eritrea.
The complex is the third-largest in the world and further subdivided into Dagahaley, Ifo and Hagadera camps. Throughout my term, I was based in Dagahaley camp, my host being Windle International Kenya which has been tasked by UNHCR to provide high school education to the refugees.
Before joining STEM, for me, life revolved around family, friends, and myself. I would later learn that life goes beyond that, living life for others (Romans 14:7…)
In the North, I was tasked to teach elderly men and women basic English literacy (English Language Program) a program that takes 6 months as well as preparing students who had been granted scholarships to Canada for TOEFL exams. This was God’s unique design of giving me a chance to interact with the refugees especially the Somalis.
Since it wasn’t easy to go around and preach to them, I resolved to show them, Jesus, by giving them the much love I could. I, therefore, had to fit in however uncomfortable it felt including dressing like them.
In the three camps, we have churches where the refugees fellowship together with the humanitarian workers. By the grace of God, I became a Sunday school teacher (something I hadn’t done before) and it gave me joy to just teach the word of God to the Congolese, Burundians, and Rwandese babies. We also had staff fellowships and bible study weekly meetings.
I would say that my term has been an exciting one, I have had so much to learn, unlearn and relearn. My perception of the refugee community has greatly been shaped, I now see them as a precious gift that God in His own design allowed me to meet, a group that God loves so much that he would rescue their souls when there were wars in their countries. I have now been able to identify myself so much with them, tolerating their differences and weaknesses just as Christ does with me.
When tough days came, burnouts happened, discouragements hit me, security threats intensified, somehow God gave me the strength to go another day and another. Prayers of friends and the church kept me going. It is during this moment that the Lord allowed me to be broken just so I can learn to trust him alone. I can now confidently say that it is not I that lives, but Christ in me.
As I leave, I am way better and more equipped, I have learnt to depend more on God, esteem others better than myself, deep study of the scripture and submitting to the will of God.
It is my prayer that God will continually bless the refugees worldwide, and cause more people to yield to the call to reach out to them. I pray for the FOCUS family at Large that God will continually lead them as they carry on with these noble tasks.
To all that prayed for me, reached out to me through whichever means, the Lord richly bless you. Thank you FOCUS Kenya and Windle International Kenya for the opportunity to serve.