Thomas and Joyce Inyu’s story began nearly 30 years ago in a refugee camp in Uganda. Escaping unsafe conditions in South Sudan, Thomas was flown to Uganda where he found refuge in a camp in 1992. A couple of years later, Joyce arrived at the same refugee camp after traveling for a week by foot and then accessing a truck to travel the final miles to safety. Their years in the refugee camp were spent involved in church planting and evangelism, helping family and friends in the refugee camps, supporting orphanages, and working in jail ministry.
In 2013, Thomas and Joyce left the camp for opportunities in the United States. Thomas obtained a degree in Theology. He serves at Salem Church as an elder and serves the South Sudanese Fellowship at Salem. Thomas loves to read and serve as a mentor, building relationships and counseling through conflict resolution in their community and in other states. Thomas also hosts memorial services. If an elder passes away at home in an African community, Thomas will lead events in the US to honor and offer memorial services for the elder and his family.
Joyce is employed by Coach’s Choice and is a talented seamstress and tailor. She enjoys attending Bible studies, singing, and engaging in traditional dance. Joyce has strongly supported Thomas in his many roles and sometimes serves jointly with him. Joyce and Thomas enjoy gardening and nurturing a large community garden plot that provides fresh produce for many families.
The Inyu family became familiar with Habitat for Humanity through members of their community and saw an opportunity to invest in a home of their own that would meet the needs of their growing family. Thomas and Joyce currently live in North Fargo in a single residential rental property. It is a busy and bustling home with their 7 children, ranging in age from 2 – 19, and Joyce’s mother, Betty. Their current home has 4 bedrooms, but the Habitat for Humanity home will better accommodate their family of 10 members. They were very excited, joyful, and happy when they first heard that they would be receiving a home through H4H. They were honored to be selected as a Habitat Partner Family in late January of 2022 and are anxious to begin their Habitat build in 2023. Thomas and Joyce, along with their older children, are actively involved in volunteering for Habitat while Grandma Betty watches the younger children.
Will having this home encourage you to stay part of the F-M community for years to come? Thomas and Joyce feel that the new home will build a strong connection with the community and a strong sense of being part of the community. They have not moved since arriving in Fargo and intend to stay and serve the community.
What have you enjoyed most about H4H? The family believes in the importance of hard work, and they have enjoyed the sweat equity hours that have been part of their experience at Habit for Humanity. The Inyus have enjoyed meeting people, learning new skills, learning more about building and maintaining a home, and helping in the community. Thomas and Joyce feel like their family will be able to pay it forward by helping others in the future through Habitat.
What part excites you most? Thomas is excited to be putting in the sod and putting up the walls. Joyce is excited to decorate and make the house a home! The kids are excited about the new space.
How do you see yourself and your family in 10 years? Thomas and Joyce see their family as better off from their experiences and learning over the years when looking back a decade from now. They see their family fully integrated into the community and giving back through hard work and all the relationships they have built. They also anticipate saving more money as they invest in their own home versus living in a rental property.
How do you see your involvement continuing with H4H? For Thomas and his family, it is tradition to volunteer and work hard. That is how they like to live and give to others. Even after their home is built, they will continue to support and be involved in Habitat, helping at build sites, and offering support and care to new families in the program