Christians reach out to former child soldiers in Uganda

By March 27, 2006

Uganda (MNN) — Innocent children. One moment they’re sleeping with their families in North Uganda, the next they’re forced into being soldiers. That’s the reality as the battle rages on between Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army, which includes these children, and Ugandan troops.

President of World Vision Rich Sterns is in Uganda. World Vision is concerned about these young people. He tells us about how the LRA works. “In order to keep his army going, they come into villages and they abduct children. And, they typically abduct children from ages 10 to 15. They take them into the bush and they initiate them into their army. They make them kill someone. What they tell them is, ‘If you don’t kill them we will kill you.'” Girls are abducted and used as sex slaves.

According to Sterns, this isn’t a small problem. “They estimate now that over the past 15 years, 30,000 children have been abducted by the rebels and brutalized in this way and turned into soldiers.”

Thousands of the children have escaped. When they return home, many suffer post-traumatic stress disorder, having witnessed brutal killings — sometimes of a parent or sibling — or having been raped, beaten, deprived of water and food or forced to kill. World Vision is helping many of those who escape. “We take them to the World Vision children of war center, where we rehabilitate these kids and try to restore them emotionally, spiritually, physically and eventually to their families, who have been praying for them for years.”

According to Sterns, the only answer to helping these kids out of this cultic behavior is Christ. “A lot of the work we do with these kids is to really bathe them in Scripture, the Gospel, they have chapel service regularly, they pray with these kids, there’s Bible instruction. I’ve never seen greater power in the Gospel because these are young people who desperately need to forgive themselves and they also know that they’ve been forgiven. So, the power of Christ in a situation like this is unbelievable.”

World Vision is doing all they can to help these children and their families and your help is needed. You financial support can help the counseling center. You can also sponsor children in this region. Click on the link below to get connected.

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