National Magazine of the Lutheran Church of Australia

As long as I am needed

June 2015

by Jonathan Krause

The bitumen road runs out at Lokichoggio in northern Kenya. The last 30 kilometres, from Lokichoggio to the Lutheran-run transit centre at Nadapal, on the border with South Sudan, is a jigsaw of furrowed red-dirt gutters.

Our three-vehicle convoy crawls. The UN team is up front. Our Lutheran World Federation (LWF) team is in the middle. And three heavily armed Kenyan police guards bring up the rear.

The convoy crawls … until suddenly our guards’ vehicle flies past, beckoning us to put pedal to metal too.

We hang on tight for five crazy kilometres, then suddenly slow again. I don’t see anything different in the bush, but later the guards explain the danger of ‘bandits’.

Once we reach Nadapal, there is new danger—the war spilling over from South Sudan. Alphonse Abolem, who leads the Lutheran team here, explains:

‘LWF is the first ones to come here. We are in the middle between Kenya and South Sudan. At the start time, there was fighting. There were gunshots. One of our shelters was shot at. Gunshots are not a rare thing. You always fear for the worst.’

This transit centre at Nadapal is supported by the Lutheran family through Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS). It makes me humbly proud to see how our church, half a world away from the hurt here, is bringing love to life in such a practical wa