Uganda – Kampala UJV orphans
This blog is written by Tara Jamieson, ACL team member and Austin nurse.
Lord’s Resistance Army
This morning we were blessed enough to visit an orphanage composed entirely of children, ranging in ages from 7 to 18, rescued from the intense conflict in Northern Uganda. This area is terrorized by the Lord’s Resistance Army, who kidnaps children from their families and forces them into slavery. Girls become part of the sex trade, and boys are made child soldiers. Often the Army kills the family in front of the children. The violence leaves indelible marks on the children, both physically and emotionally, and the children fortunate enough to escape battle the repercussions their entire lives.
Stories of Redemption
At the orphanage, we heard the testimonies of some of the children. Luna, an 18-year-old girl, shared her desparation in becoming responsible for her two younger sisters after her parents were killed. She ran to her uncle for help, but was told, “I am not a bank.” Chris shared with Justin how his parents and younger sister were killed in front of him. Luna said that at first, many of the children did not want to hear about Jesus, but after repeated exposure to the word of God, He opened their hearts to His gospel.
After the testimonies, the choir sang songs for us accompanied with dances. We bought CDs to bring back! The first couple songs proclaimed their newfound joy in Christ. Their smiles were the most sincere and joyous things I have ever seen. Their last song told their story, describing the loss of their parents and the war-torn country they came from, but ended with praise to God for saving them. It was so beautiful to see tangible results of God’s promise to reconcile all things to Himself!
Murmuring and Redemption
I have been reading Deuteronomy these last couple months and was reminded of a passage while watching the children today. After the Israelites were brought out of captivity, Deuteronomy tells of how they rebelled against God, “murmuring” in their hearts towards God, saying that is was because God hated them that they were brought out. I thought of how often I murmur against God, thinking that my sufferings have much more to do with God’s lack of love for me than His immense love for me. I am much like the Israelites in all areas of my heart. I saw today, though, that the children singing and dancing never thought to blame God for what has happened to them. Instead of anger, they felt gratitude. Instead of feeling like they were owed something by the God of the universe, they were humbled that He would look upon their sufferings and call them out of the pit.