Saturday, March 15
The day was finally here when we would visit Restore Leadership Academy. Yet, once again, Deborah had something else in store for the morning and we would have to wait a few more hours. Little did we know that the next few hours would hold some of the most sobering and heart-changing moments of our whole trip. From what we were told, we were about to go zip-lining and rock climbing. Well...we're from Colorado and so we were feeling like, "Been there, done that." (And how can you beat zip-lining over the canopy of Costa Rica?) But we knew that Deborah knows best, so we dressed in the appropriate attire for the events.
Deborah took us to a little patch of forest with a sign over the entrance gate that said "The Recreation Project". We saw as we entered that we were in the middle of a ropes course. If you have never done a ropes course before imagine an obstacle course of sorts. Ropes courses are designed to be used with a group of people, all working together as a team to accomplish both a physical and mental challenge presented by the course. For example, you have to get everyone over a small ravine using only 2 wooden platforms and 2 planks of wood. Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong!...Or, getting each of your team members through a giant spider web without using any of the web openings for more than two people and without any part of your body or clothing touching the rope. It takes a lot of teamwork, clear communication, and a huge amount of trust in your teammates to navigate through these challenges.
The Recreation Project was started by a Denver man and his wife. They believed that it would "inspire the resilience of young people in post-conflict communities by providing active healing experiences through outdoor adventure and sport" -- another young couple who've left the life of ease behind to go love on the people of Uganda with the love of Christ.
|My new friends: Florence with the red necklace and Annette in the blue pants.|
Over lunch, Mike and I sat with a woman and her son that I had held hands with during the first group game. Her name was Florence. (Pictured in the photo above.) She didn't speak any English but her 11 year old son did and so he quietly translated for us. We talked all kinds of small talk: how old he was, if he had any siblings, does he like school, what does he want to be when he grows up....you know the drill. He was sweet and friendly, but very timid.
|Florence and her son.|
Neither of us could comprehend the fears that these people have to live with. We can't imagine the horror of knowing that your children are always at risk. Many parents will mar their kids in some way at birth, scarring them in some way because they believe that makes them less desirable as a child sacrifice. As we stood there trying to process the things we had just learned, our hearts were heavy beyond bearing. We looked around at our 5 children playing carefree and innocent, knowing that their little Ugandan friends would never have the luxury of enjoying such a naive and protected childhood. We felt blessed and deeply, profoundly sad all at the same time. We've returned home with a desire to help, to love these beautiful children of Uganda who know so much pain.
Because of this morning, a morning we initially thought we'd rather have spent hanging out at the Academy with the Restore students, we were changed by being confronted with the darkness and horror of sin. As we tried to wrap our brains around the tremendous wickedness of this particular community, we couldn't help but be reminded that these women, these witch doctor women, were turning to Christ and changing their ways. They wanted child sacrifice to stop, too. These were their babies that were being abducted and mutilated. They have now united to form a group with the motto they wore proudly on their blue t-shirts: "Justice to a child is justice to a nation." Amen and amen. Our own nation needs to decide to follow Jesus. Our own nation needs to realize her desperate need for justice for her children. Abortion, sexual abuse, physical abuse, etc. -- all are prevalent in our home culture. It may look and feel different - maybe not sound as horrific? - than decapitation or dismemberment, but is it? May God bring justice to the children of the world. And may God bring about justice in both Uganda and the United States of America.
Please pray that the male witch doctors will be reached soon through the power of Jesus Christ. This transformation amongst the female witch doctors began when Bob invited himself to dinner at one of their homes. He just started loving them, which led to relationship, which opened the door for the love of Christ. And now there is a community of believers who are changing their ways, changing their communities, changing the culture. But the men need reached and so far, they want nothing to with this man Bob Goff, or those who've been influenced by his teachings. Please pray.
Bragging rights of the day: Bob Goff, for doing love like Jesus did with Zacchaeus.