The popularity of the Kony 2012 video has brought worldwide attention to post-conflict Northern Uganda. You might not know that World Renew has been working in Uganda since 1982; Christian Reformed World Missions (CRWM) began partnering there in 2006. Partners Worldwide is also working there to help those affected by the LRA.
Tim and Angie Sliedrecht, Christian Reformed World Missions partner missionaries serving with International Teams, wrote their critique of the Kony 2012 video on their blog, and appreciate the awareness it is bringing to the region.
"The issue of the LRA is very close to our hearts as we live and work in an area that has been greatly affected by the LRA," they wrote. "Everyone around us has a story to tell about the direct impact the LRA has had in their life, our daughter Miriam being one of them. When she was 4 years old, the LRA rebels came into her village. She had to run and hide in the bush by herself, for over a day. She remembers hearing a lot of gunfire and seeing the LRA rebels’ boots as they walked by her hiding spot. They didn’t find her, but they did find and kill her two uncles.
"She was then taken by distant relatives to a large Internally Displaced People Camp in Soroti (where we live). When the LRA rebels reached Soroti, they came through the camp. Everyone in the camp ran, but she remained hiding in her hut. She heard the rebels walking past and shooting, but they did not come in. Two of our other children, Moses & Zulea, were also Internally Displaced People due to the LRA.
"In regards to our work, we partner with Fida International, an NGO from Finland that has been providing humanitarian aid and scholarships for around 150 youth who were child-soldiers in the LRA. Since 2007, we have been providing these youth with spiritual counseling by energizing, equipping and engaging the local church to reach out to them. We praise God for the transformation that is taking place in the lives of many of these youth and their subsequent powerful testimonies which are bringing about transformation in the lives of many others."
"The situation in northern Uganda is calm. More than 90% of the people have resettled back to their homes in the villages, and are picking up with life after that long period of displacement. Kony is not considered a serious threat anymore by communities here as Kony and his troops are several thousand kilometers away from here and it has been that way for the past 5- 6 years.
"The concern that people still have is about their children who were abducted during the war and not returned (some who have now grown up to adults while in Kony’s captivity and some possibly have died). Families hope that one day they may possibly be reunited with their children. When they hear about military attacks on Kony or capturing Kony, the affected families think about their children, who have a possibility of getting killed during the process. It gives them mixed feelings about the whole plan. There is also a feeling of Western nations starting to come in Militarily too late when the population here have already lost a lot in the past 20 years of international community military indifference.
"The communities here are focused on resettling and picking up the pieces of their lives. World Renew is partnering with three Anglican Church dioceses to support communities in the process of resettling and coping with effects of that war. Areas of focus include HIV and AIDs (World Renew through Embrace AIDs has intervention in Lango sub region); rehabilitation of infrastructure (through CFGB funding we are working with Diocese of Northern Uganda in opening roads in 8 communities and in turn provide them with seeds in order to improve food security). Other important challenges are improving household income and food security. "
The staff of CRWM and World Renew ask for your prayers:
- Pray for the families/ individuals still traumatized by what they went through during the war & loss of their children. They can’t easily close that chapter of their lives.
- Pray for resettling communities as they now address the post war challenges. The needs are great and we need financial resources to support these efforts.
- Pray for children and families affected by Nodding Disease.
- Continue praying for peace in the North that it continues and does not get disrupted.