You can help Every Child Ministries reach children devastated by war
The Invisible Children -- The Tragedy in Uganda
For 20 years, northern Uganda was one of the most dangerous places on earth to be a child. There, a man named Joseph Kony and his commandoes have wreaked havoc on an entire generation of children. Joseph Kony can only be described as one of the worst incarnations of evil the earth has seen. Claiming to receive his directions from angels, one of whom was associated with Idi Amin, Kony has named his guerilla troops the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The "lord" he serves is certainly not the Lord Jesus Christ, and no one is clear who or what he is resisting. He claims to be fighting to bring down the Ugandan government of Museveni and claims to be fighting for the Acholi tribesmen of the north who were neglected under colonial rule. The truth is, he has just as often been found attacking the Acholi as anyone else. His attacks have shown no discernible pattern of reason and can only be described as brutal and devastating.
At long last, in recent years Kony and his cohorts have moved out of Uganda, allowing the land to begin rebuilding at last. Good news for Uganda, but terrible news for neighboring DR Congo and South Sudan, because he has only moved his terror to those unhappy lands.
Stealing from children--their families, their hopes, their future
During its 20 year "reign", the LRA kidnapped about 30,000 children in northern Uganda. Kony's main generals are almost all children kidnapped and trained by his forces. Coercing a child to become a combat soldier is bad enough. Kony's tactics went well beyond that. To toughen up the children, break their bonds with family and society, and to tie their consciences and their hopes to him alone, Kony usually forced children to kill or maim family members or other kidnapped children soon after capture. He then told them that since they had done such atrocious things, they could never be forgiven or accepted again by society. Their only hope is now with him. Kidnapped children were marched for a week or more without food into his training camps in southern Sudan. Denied water, they are forced to drink muddy ground water or urine in order to survive. There they were trained to shoot, cut off lips, noses and limbs, and to accept the word of their commanders without question. They were then sent out to spread the kind of terror they themselves had experienced.
The "Invisible Children" or Night Commuters
His forces usually struck at night in small villages, so for years it was unsafe for any child in northern Uganda to sleep with his family. Tens of thousands of children began "night commuting", walking for hours into towns. The fortunate ones crowded into shelters provided by Christian and humanitarian agencies, where they lay back-to-back like sardines in a can. Some of the agencies enclosed their shelters with razor wire and provided armed guards. The unfortunate children had to sleep on the street. There, many of them were subject to theft, beating, and rape, but none of these are as bad as being inducted into the LRA. These "night commuters" were called "invisible children" because when night falls, they seemed to appear in droves in the cities, as if from nowhere. Thank God that with the peace of the last few years, former night commuters now sleep with their own families once again.
Squooshing children together in dismal IDP camps
When ECM began work in Uganda in 2006, there were 30 IDP (Internally Displaced Person) camps in the Gulu District alone in northern Uganda, remnants of long years of war in Sudan and in eastern DR Congo. Conditions there were well below the "minimal" level acceptable for existence. Soon after Kony left, the government began emphasizing return to home areas. This has been happening slowly, since home areas hadlargely been leveled, even wells destroyed.
Resources are exhausted, those who care are overworked
Missionaries there are still overwhelmed and exhausted. There is a great openness and a great need for Gospel work amongst those who knew Kony's terror. Recent developments show that the intense and united prayer and fasting efforts of Ugandan Christians may be yielding results in spiritual breakthroughs. It has been reported that Kony's mother and several of his top generals have recently come to Christ, and Kony himself seems to be on the run, hiding out somewhere in eastern Congo. The problem of night commuters is past, and some sense of security is slowly being restored to the north.
Resettlement--perhaps harder than IDP life
After life in IDP camps, resettlement started. It wasn't easy trying to rebuild a land so devastated. Although the people hated the IDP camps, when the government began pushing them to resettle their home areas, they found it difficult. Perhaps harder than life in the IDP camps. Virtually everything there has been destroyed--from homes and churches and stores to gardens and even wells. How to start over? There was so much devastation and hurt! Yet we believe that only Jesus Christ can offer hope for situations like these, and He is abundantly able!
ECM commits to Uganda
In the midst of all this, ECM committed to working there on behalf of Ugandan children who had been robbed of a future. It's tough and challenging work, but we can only believe that in places that have known so much pain, "grace does much more abound."
This project touches children in two other areas close to our hearts--1) children of Sudan, who have been brutally chased from their homes by government of their own country, simply because they are Christian and black, and 2) children of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). ECM began work in the western part of their country in 1985. Recent word is that Joseph Kony and his evil LRA are now in the Congo. That country has already been devastated by a long war. The last thing in the world Congolese children need is Joseph Kony and the LRA.
Please pray with us! In 2006, Lorella Rouster, Hazel Hermosillo and Sharon Aldrich conducted two seminars to train children's teachers in Uganda. One was held in the Mukono District just east of Kampala, the capitol city, and another in Gulu, to train Christian teachers now ministering in the IDP camps. After that, teams several times have taught Bible classes in a kind of "Day Camp" setting at Tegot Atoo in the Gulu District. Three single ladies are now working in the Tegot Atoo Resettlement area along with four African staff. ECM has helped families rebuild their homes, construct hygienic latrines, and obtain oxen to plough their fields. Our counselors have encouraged mothers to stay with their families in hard times. Our efforts are making a difference in northern Uganda.
With needs so immense, there is lots more to be done, and you can join us in serving the children of war in Uganda.
Here's how you can get involved--
1. Pray! Specifically for these points:
- Leadership of integrity & team unity.
- Wisdom and guidance from God in all the planning and in every decision made.
- Good, effective contacts in Uganda and effective networking amongst God's people.
- That God's plan of action for ECM will continue to unfold.
- Needed finances.
- Missionary recruits, especially one year or longer.
- Some of our key staff workers in N Uganda lack support. Your gifts for these staff members would help put ECM on a firm basis in Uganda. Click the Donate Now button below to give and designate Uganda staff or a particular position.
- Support a Ugandan orphan. Sponsorship is only $32 a month. Your help will provide educational assistance, medical care, supplemental nutrition, spiritual guidance and regular Bible teaching.
- Our team welcomes short term missionaries to help with the work in N Uganda, but especially needed are those willing to make long term commitments. If interested, talk to us!
To Stop Kony Campaign
To contact ECM about possible service in Uganda, click here.
To request ECM's quarterly magazine, AFRICAN JEWELS, click here and send us your name and address (US addresses only).
Visit ECM Uganda's National Homepage.
| Every Child Ministries is dedicated to helping children of war, especially those devastated by the war in Uganda, Sudan and eastern DR Congo. They can receive a powerful gift, the gift of hope, through the power of Jesus Christ. Join the team! To join our prayer update list, click here. THANK YOU!|