Fred Otieno stands next to his flipchart in the meeting space at Refuge Coffee in Clarkston, Georgia. Seated around him on couches and chairs are a dozen representatives from local ministries, listening as he shares his experience of working with refugees in the trauma healing process. These local leaders work directly with a large refugee population in what the Times dubbed “the most diverse square mile in America.” Decades ago, the city of Clarkston was designated by the UN as an ideal location for refugee resettlement and is now home to over 100 different nationalities from every continent in the world.
Two years ago, Fred was invited into the Nyarugusu Refugee camp in Tanzania, and there distributed In Touch Messengers to church leaders—displaced men and women who fled with their families from war-torn homelands. On each of the devices, Fred uploaded an audio version of the Bible-based curriculum he uses to teach trauma healing and lead people to the hope and healing found in Jesus Christ. That camp has served as a temporary home for many of the refugee families who have since been resettled in Clarkston, providing Fred with insight on the unique context of trauma healing for these vulnerable communities.
Fred’s seminar outlines the various stages of the healing journey and the difficulties and obstacles that might be encountered at each phase. “As a case specialist who works with newly arrived refugees, the seminar gave me a clearer perspective on the manifestations and impact of trauma on those we serve,” says Mary Baxter from World Relief Atlanta, “It equipped me to better care for my clients.”
Praise the Lord for Fred and Leisha's faithful ministry as they continue using the Messenger in their work amongst marginalized people in the rural villages of East Africa and elsewhere. More than 860 healing groups have already been formed throughout the region and we continue to pray that the Otienos would reach many more families who are suffering from trauma—that they, too, would have a chance to embrace the hope of new life for their future by experiencing the restoration found in the gospel of Jesus Christ.