Every day, Jacqueline Adalbert wakes up to the sound of swaying trees outside her grass-roof hut. On the wall near her bed is a large world map with a red dot over the Nyarugusu Refugee Camp in Tanzania. It is here that Jacqueline has spent the last 20 years as a refugee.
Where many women are married or pregnant by age 16, Jacqueline is 24 and still single. One of the few residents employed inside the camp, she is a teacher for a primary school and, as the oldest sibling, spends most of her weekly income adding meat and greens to her family’s ration of beans, flour, oil, and salt. Unlike her parents, Jacqueline has no memory of their former life in the Congo, except for the day they fled—a day she wishes she could forget.
Four-year-old Jacqueline was in the living room with her mother and younger sister when a group of uniformed men came to take everything away. As soldiers ordered her family to get out and never come back, they left grisly reminders of their threat: bullets in her father’s back, a machete wound to her mother’s leg, and the lifeless body of her toddler sister. Since then, Jacqueline has tried to be a source of comfort to her family, and yet she often feels helpless.
Jacqueline has no memory of their former life in the Congo, except for the day they fled.
This year the Bible Society of Tanzania invited Jacqueline to attend seminars on healing from trauma. There, she began her own healing journey by learning how to lament and entrust her grief to God. She was also equipped with In Touch Messengers to facilitate healing groups in her church and village. Filled with trauma-related content, Dr. Stanley’s core sermons, and the living Word of God, these devices are already bearing fruit—starting within her own family.
Jacqueline gave Messengers to her father and mother, who is permanently disabled from her injury. As her parents listen, they too have begun to heal by bringing their sorrow before the Lord. Now, Jacqueline teaches at her church every weekend, using Messengers to lead small groups to discuss their trauma. She also lends the device to neighbors in times of need—including a couple whose marriage was left crumbling in the wake of a stillborn child.
Every day, Jacqueline prays for a future outside the camp. But until then, she is determined to root herself deeply in the soil of God’s Word and help others embrace the hope found in Christ.
Photograph by Gary S. Chapman