A very important event is happening this weekend at Church of the Redeemer in Jacksonville, FL. It is directed toward youth (high school and college age); however, let me bring to your attention a special session occurring Saturday evening and strongly encourage you to attend if at all possible.
Many of you may remember hearing a number of years ago about the terrible war in Northern Uganda being waged by Joseph Kony and his army, the Lord’s Resistance Army (alhough it was not God involved but the devil). For over 20 years Kony abducted children and forced them to be ruthless killers, and took the young girls as brides for his soldiers. Unimaginable atrocities were committed, thousands upon thousands of children and adults were murdered and maimed; those who survived were forced from their homes and ended up in IDP camps. An entire generation has grown up in these camps, not knowing what a normal life might be. Thankfully, Kony and his LRA left Uganda four or five years ago, but unfortunately they continue to wage war in Sudan, Congo, and the Central African Republic. You may also have heard of the Night Commuters; children who walked for miles in the evenings to sleep on the floor of some “safe” place in order to avoid being abducted by the LRA, only to return to the refugee camps in the morning. One well-known ministry that formed and has been working to help these children recover is Invisible Children.
Recently, Invisible Children released a video, Kony 2012, that went viral on the internet. Although it was intended to be helpful and to raise awareness of some of the difficulties and issues the people in Northern Uganda still face, it was also misleading. The Church of Uganda issued a response, clarifying the current situation in the north and providing information on how to partner with them and with Anglican Relief and Development Fund (ARDF) in their efforts to help the people. ARDF is ready to receive donations to help the church help the people. A link to information on their website is here: http://anglicanaid.net/?p=274
So, that’s basically the background. Now, here’s what’s happening this weekend…
Since this issue and video went viral, especially among young people, Rev. Whis Hays and the youth ministry, Rock the World, are including a presentation during their RE:MIX 2012 conference at Redeemer this weekend. On Saturday evening, Paul Wasswa, former Director of Missions and Evangelism for the Church of Uganda, (now attending seminary in California) will be speaking about these very issues, providing key information on what the current situation is in Northern Uganda, what the Church of Uganda has been and continues to do to help the people re-establish their lives after the war, and lay out some practical ways youth and adults in the U.S. can join in and help. Here is the link to the Rock the World website where you can learn more about the conference: http://www.rocktheworld.org/ . And here’s the link to the Gulf Atlantic Diocese website for information on RE:MIX 2012: http://www.gulfatlanticdiocese.org/remix
We are praying that this event will be used by God to breathe a fire of passion in people to learn, pray, share what’s happening in Uganda, and come! My colleague here, Rev. Canon Dr. Alison Barfoot, has been in communication with Rev. Whis Hays and they are already working to develop the infrastructure both here in Uganda and stateside to facilitate new ministry and new partnerships we are praying will develop. And, as the Lord has planned, I am now here in Uganda to help with these new partnerships and teams coming to minister to those in need. Thanks be to God!
So, let me encourage you first to pray for this event and for God’s Holy Spirit to breath fire and passion into the people gathered for RE:MIX 2012; and secondly, to come to Redeemer this Saturday evening to learn first hand what the Lord is doing through the Church of Uganda to help the people so devastated by the extensive war to heal and rebuild their lives.
Thank you all for your prayers and support for me while I serve in Uganda. We are in this mission together!