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Come and See: Glimpses of Trauma Healing at Dzaleka Refugee Camp


Come and See: Glimpses of Trauma Healing in Dzaleka Refugee Camp

Come and See what the Lord has done… (Psalm 46:8)

My husband and I have served with SIL International in immigrant and refugee communities for 25 years. We have settled in U.S. neighborhoods where displaced and persecuted people from many different nations have streamed to. We focus on global Scripture Engagement strategies so that local language communities can flourish—wherever they are.  

In August 2023, as a Culture Learning Specialist with the Global Diaspora Services team and a storyteller, I was invited to journey to Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi, Africa with an SIL video team.  As I have gotten to know and love my neighbors who have been forcibly displaced from their war-torn homes in Central Africa, I was eager to wander upstream to better understand the contexts where many of them came from before resettling in my U.S. neighborhood.  At this barren and crowded camp in Malawi, I got a glimpse of human flourishing through Scripture Engagement. I came to see how transformation through God’s Word is possible even in impossible places.  My job was to lead the video project and conduct interviews—which meant letting curiosity mixed with compassion spill out as my brothers and sisters in faith bravely and vulnerably unfolded their stories from trauma to healing before the camera.

Life Hurts. God heals.

The realities of war, oppression, and poverty are present and traumatic in so many lives. This final video project, Come & See, is an invitation to come and bear witness to the transformational work of Trauma Healing that is spreading throughout Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi. Not only are refugees in the camp engaging and understanding Scripture in powerful ways, but they are also training and empowering others to flourish with them in community using the various languages they value most.

This 9-minute video journeys through a Trauma Healing training workshop where adult and teen participants become trainers who address very powerful life questions, such as:

                  ·      If God loves us, why do we suffer?

                  ·      How can the wounds of our hearts be healed?

                  ·      How can we take our pain to the cross? 

                  ·      How do we forgive others?

I am in awe of how these brave brothers and sisters engage Scripture, learn to take their pain to the One who can carry it, and create new songs of God’s promises. I am challenged by their Christ-led calling to forgive unforgivable things. In tears I felt the weight of their profound stories. I saw the spark in their eyes as they plotted new ways to love their neighbors in Dzaleka and beyond. Trauma Healing engages Scripture in language communities and transforms lives. God makes human flourishing possible. I had the privilege of coming to see this for myself.

I hope you will also receive this invitation to come and see the transforming work that God is doing in this one desolate but amazing place—to get a glimpse of the power of Scripture to bind the broken hearted and set the oppressed free.  

Create some space.  

Invite a loved one.  

Come and share the next 9 minutes with our brothers and sisters in Dzaleka Refugee Camp. May it fill you with hope and possibility that God can bring so much beauty out of the ashes of war in this world.

Going Further Upstream

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been experiencing various phases of conflict since 1996. Currently, a spike in violence has forcibly displaced 6.9 million people as fighting renders many parts of DRC unsafe for civilians. As so many people stream out of their country in search of safer spaces to settle, please pray that they, too, find hope and healing from the horrible traumas they are facing now.

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners… (Isaiah 61:1)

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