Return to Africa – take 1

On the 1 August, 2011, I will take off for Africa once more. This trip will see me visiting Uganda and then returning to South Africa. First, let’s take a look at Uganda:

Uganda – 6 weeks

In Uganda I will be based with Soldiers of Christ in Gulu. This is a ministry that supports children who have been orphaned as a result of the rebel war, many of whom had been forced into the LRA – or Lord’ resistance army – as children soldiers.

“Gulu was the center of a rebel war that had been going on in Northern Uganda, the war was started by a man named Joseph Kony… he is possessed, and claimed that the “lord” had told him to rid the world of the Acholi People.  (Acholi is the tribe in northern Uganda).  So he formed what is called the Lord’s Resistance Army…and brought about his purposes by abducting young boys and desensitizing them by forcing them to kill their family members and friends…and then taking them on huge massacres.  This went on for over 20 years, and Joseph had abducted  more than 20,000 young boys and forced them to be child soldiers, along the time that this was happening he was also abducting little girls to serve as “wives” for the older soldiers.  He fled the country of Uganda about 5 years ago, and now resides with his army in the Democratic Republic of Congo…leaving the community of Northern Uganda in shambles”.  

(If anyone has seen the Invisible Children’s DVD, this shares about the impact the LRA had in northern Uganda and the fear that the war had impeded in the lives of the communities).

“The ministry Soldiers of Christ has grown to support 131 children’s school fees. The name Soldiers of Christ and the vision of the ministry is really based on the fact that “the Lord can take anything that the enemy has used for evil and use it for good.” And for so long these children have been ostracized from the community based on their identity as “rebels” and “soldiers”  But we believe that the Lord can, and wants to use even THIS for the good of those that love Him and are called according to his purposes.   So our main focus is really showing the children their identity as children of God, but doing this through a common ground that they can understand”.

The ministry has also started a vocational school for women, training them in English, Scripture, and tailoring. They also hand-make beautiful beaded necklaces for sale. The women receive a wage to enable them to live a self-sustaining life and proceeds go to the children’s food and education.

My role at Soldiers of Christ will be that of a servant, helping out wherever able and however I am needed. Likely opportunities include involvement in children ministries, leading community Bible studies or helping with practical projects such as building construction. I guess time will tell…

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