As I'm preparing for another trip to Uganda tonight, it brings me peace to look back and see that everything does happen for a reason, in the right timing, and God is always faithful!
This was my outburst (truly I was a mess!) of trying to process emotions on my flight back to Los Angeles from Uganda at the end of July 2012.
- July 23rd, 2012 -
" It's like an uncontrollable joy, just pouring out of me. I FEEL LOVED. I FEEL LOVE. and for one of the first times in my life, I feel completely empowered and beautiful inside and out. I feel comforted, protected and see God through it all. He is close, he is here, he is the love, the one allowing this story, this adventure I've been praying for to happen. UGANDAAAA. How can I even put into words the amazing journey it has been so far? I pray that these stories, these children live on in my heart, and mind until I see them again. I know I am changed and the past 7 weeks, will change my life FOREVER. These faces, these smiles, the extended hands and warm hearts that invite you into their presence and rejoice over you with singing. LIRA. Love at the core of this place, permeating the town and every story. The LRA came to destroy, but Jesus came to restore. HIS love is shown in Lira, to heal. Former child soldiers walk tall, knowing they live their lives for peace now. God directed my steps, he prepared my heart and revealed to me MY identity in him through listening and learning from these child soldiers of peace. Forgiveness and love at the tips of my lips, ready to share with the world of the courageous war hearts and resilient minds that would rather hold a book, and learn how to read and give clothes to orphans, and defend the broken, than hold guns. These children have shown me more grace, joy, and compassion than any human I've ever met and interacted with.
I want these child solider redemptive stories to reshape and sharpen the minds of people all over the world. If Uganda falls, than these soldier children of peace will be the ones to raise it up.
Their names fill my head, tears fall down, pour out. I desire peace, but more than that I desire for these lives to LIVE IN PEACE and know THEY ARE LOVED. that they are not to blame for their iniquities, and that we as citizens of the world WILL LOVE and FORGIVE them to our dying days. When people remember the 23 years war, I want them to see Uganda as the pearl of Africa, the only gem that has to suffer to produce BEAUTY. I want people to see beauty, not war-torn faces.
Lord! I pray for redemption in the hearts of the people. I pray EVERY child that needs sponsorship school fees in the community will receive this. That you Lord will raise up the right supporters, teachers and students, and friends to invest in the lives of these children forever. So that, these children will know that people all across the world, all across the oceans are praying for them and LOVE them. With an everlasting love. The biggest encouragement for an orphan (so I've witnessed with my time in Uganda) is having someone ( a neighbor, a friend, a passerby) stop and love and encourage them in a tangible and transformative way - with the gift of education. It's a Neighborhood Watch, where a community (near or far) abroad or next door - takes care of one another.
I pray for more neighbors. I pray we rise up out of our despondency, out of the unfamiliar to come alongside of these children and watch them, console them into a rich and educated and empowered life.
These are the voices of PEACE that the world has yet to hear.
The stories of a six year old kid named Bernard, who was born in captivity with the LRA rebels and yet has a powerful mind and passion for drawing animals, bananas and things that bring him joy :)
This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. - Ezekiel 37:5
These children speak volumes of truth and justice -- No more Broken Promises. We can Destroy Hunger. I want to be a Leader. We can Change the world!
I think this lyric from Les Mis perfectly narrates this ever unfolding adventure I'm on
of empowering children of war to be peace ambassadors.
Do you hear the people sing Lost in the valley of the night?
It is the music of a people Who are climbing to the light.
For the wretched of the earth. There is a flame that never dies.
Even the darkest night will end.
And the sun will rise.
They will live again in freedom. In the garden of the Lord. They will walk behind the plough-share, They will put away the sword. The chain will be broken And all men will have their reward.
Will you join in our crusade? Who will be strong and stand with me?
- Les Miserables
amen amen. more stories to come!