Former residents expand program to South Sudan
A former New Richmond couple is taking their trauma rehabilitation efforts to a new country.
Carl and Julie Gaede, who sold most of their belongings and moved to Kampala, Uganda three years ago, have been working with refugees and those scarred by the horrors of war and violence.
The couple, along with their daughters Emma and Grace, has done much of their work near Gulu, Uganda in the northern part of the country. That village is near the epicenter of unspeakable terror and violence over the past couple decades. Not a single person or family remains untouched by tragedy.
Prior to a political stabilization of the region, thousands of people were slaughtered at the hands of the military and rebel groups. Many young people were also abducted from families and forced to fight with rebels and follow through with terrible acts of violence.
Because of their background in counseling and psychotherapy, the Gaedes said they felt God directing them to help people in that region through the process of healing.
Their Christian-based curriculum is taught to native facilitators who then help people find healing, peace and forgiveness. Since they began working in Uganda, more than 16,000 people from 30 different villages have graduated from the two-week, intensive course.
"We've just been hearing amazing testimonies of life transformation and healing," Julie said. "We can't take the credit. It's all been God's work, but it's been cool to watch."
The success of the counseling effort has gone beyond what the couple had hoped for, Carl reported, and that's why they are expanding their reach beyond the borders of Uganda.
"God has done so much more than what we anticipated," Carl said. "It's pretty amazing, and it's been thrilling to be part of it."
The Gaedes have now rented space in South Sudan (the world's newest independent nation) and have hired staff to bring the trauma rehabilitation program there. Many people in South Sudan have experienced similar traumatic pain that has scarred them emotionally and physically.
"There is no lack of need for these kinds of programs in that region," Carl said. "People are just begging us to come and have a program there. There are millions of people in that area that are scarred by war and violence."
Because of the success of the program, the Gaedes have received the endorsement of government officials to expand into South Sudan.
"Right now there is such an open door in front of us," Carl said. "Great things are happening."
Carl said they hope to hire a few more staff people before launching the program in the villages and cities of South Sudan.
That's why the couple is back in the New Richmond area for the next couple months. They hope to raise funds that will allow them to better establish the new South Sudan program.
They spoke at Faith Community Church in New Richmond on Sept. 18. Upcoming presentations are at First Baptist Church in New Richmond on Oct. 2; and Bridge Bible Church in Somerset on Oct. 9 to let local residents know about their growing efforts and to seek financial supporters.
"We are trying to meet with anyone who wants to hear what God is doing in Uganda and South Sudan," Carl said.
The Gaedes are planning an Oct. 7 fundraiser to benefit their non-profit organization Tutapona. The event begins at 6 p.m. and will include a semi-formal meal, live music and silent auction. It will be held at Ready Randy's in rural New Richmond.
Anyone wishing to donate individually to their ministry can visit www.tutapona.com or mail checks to Tutapona, P.O. Box 214, New Richmond, Wis. 54017.