That number will increase untilJanuary 2022, when Ugandan facilitators will carry 80 percent of the teaching. His story, like a number of our 40-plus trainees is a testament to the persevering power of faith in Jesus Christ. I thought I’d share with you a brief overview of his story to show the incredible leaders with which we partner.
Julius is 42 years old and was born in the Adjumani District, which borders South Sudan along the northern edge of Uganda. As a boy, he left with his parents and two brothers for Sudan (now South Sudan), fleeing Idi Amin, called the “Butcher of Uganda” and is considered one of the most brutal despots in world history. Julius and his dad went one way, his mother and two brothers another, with a plan to meet in Nimule, across the border.
Julius reports that along the way he remembers stepping over dead bodies, as they made their way out of Uganda. Food was so scarce that more than once they resorted to eating shoots and leaves off of trees and plant life in in order to survive. Julius and his dad did meet the rest of the family in Nimule and together they made their way to a refugee camp in Opari, Sudan. Food was still quite an issue. They would receive rations about every two to three months. Now the United Nations does so monthly for those in camps, a much more manageable set up. He remembers having fish and saving the bones to use the next day to mix with water and salt to make soup. They were part of a cholera outbreak that resulted in the death of many more around them. The Loketos lived in the camp six years, when the entire family made their way safely back to Adjumani. He has lived in Adjumani from the late 1980’s until now.
It was in the year 2000 that Jesus became real to him and his life has been radically altered. He now lives with his wife and children in the Adjumani District where he is currently ministering in the refugee camp located in the district near his home. He has been involved in leadership training, evangelism and discipleship for a number of years. While one commonly thinks that churches in a refugee camp seem like a strange idea given the transitory nature of camps, unfortunately the average stay in refugee camps worldwide is 17 years. Julius believes he has increased capacity to serve the refugee community because he spent six years asa refugee himself.
Julius is one of six Lead Trainers that the St. Croix Valley LEAD Team is training to take over leadership in Northern Uganda. He is an eager learner and a solid leader. He is currently assisting me in running the class, and in January he will start sharing in the training load. His hope is that his knowledge and skills will be advanced to help train other leaders in the Adjumani camp and when the day comes that peace returns to South Sudan, a number of church planters will leave the camp and impact the healing nation through the Prince of Peace.