By Jade Acker
Thank you, CBF! Thank you Passport camps!
Around 6 years ago, refugees from South Sudan, who many of you know now as Jacob and Esau, began attending the dreamer’s program at the Center of Hope. This leadership program helped youth who were not currently in school to be equipped with skills that help benefit them in the present and will make a big difference in their future. Nearing the end of the program, friends from Passport Camp and CBF visited our Center. The twins’ bright smiles and positive attitude immediately drew attention, and they were soon featured in CBF publications.
This led to many donations, especially from Passport Camps. This gave Jacob and Esau the opportunity to attend university. Both grateful for the chance they were given, they continued to press onward even through the difficulties caused by COVID-19 which often halted classes and learning in general. And finally, they have achieved their goal.
I’m pleased to announce that Jacob graduated from Clarke University here in Kampala with a diploma as a physician’s assistant in February. Esau has completed his studies and will graduate in June from Cavendish University with a degree in International Relations. Reflecting on their accomplishments, I am amazed at the network of people God has provided to help them on their journey. From fleeing South Sudan, living on their own in Uganda, attending our programs, to becoming graduates from university, God has provided for them. And I’m grateful for the blessing of CBF families and Passport Camps as they provided for them. I imagine the campers at Passport giving coins and dollars that would then translate to scholarships for Jacob and Esau. And those coins not only provide scholarships for the twins but have blessed others from the Dreamer program to attend school.
The Center of Hope is a place where youth can find family, a community, and a home. CBF has blessed us to be here in Uganda at this point in history and we are working to make a difference. While the current news is focused on refugees fleeing Ukraine, thousands of refugees have just fled Congo into Uganda. Uganda is already a host of over 1.5 million refugees from multiple countries in Africa. South Sudan is now facing what the UN is calling the worst hunger crisis ever and Somalia is also facing one of the worst droughts in decades with millions at risk. The needs are overwhelming and are all around us. Emergency Relief is desperately needed. And trying to find the balance between emergency relief (stopping the bleeding) and addressing some of the root causes of emergencies through development (stopping injuries from happening) is a challenge.
Developing future leaders and giving skills to these future leaders is part of the solution. Thank you, CBF! Thank you Passport! And thank you, Jacob and Esau! Although these offerings helped cover university fees, the twins did the work. They struggled to make ends meet and now that they have completed their studies. Now they begin the daunting task of finding employment. But I believe that God has a plan for them, and he has helped them through many challenges. With their new skills and bright smiles, I know that they will find a great way forward.
Jade and Shelah Acker are Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel living and serving in the Middle East, working particularly among the refugee community. Learn more about his ministry at www.cbf.net/acker. They invite you to follow the Refuge and Hope Facebook and Instagram pages or to follow their journey in the Refuge and Hope newsletter.