Ministry headway made in Uganda’s civil war.

By December 12, 2006

Uganda (MNN)–Uganda’s forces will pull back after recent peace talks proved to be the best chance to end a 20-year rebellion.

According to published news reports, this is the first time President Yoweri Museveni has spoken to the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) leadership.

It’s a move designed to put some strength behind Sudan’s faltering accord efforts. The negotiated deal would have LRA fighters withdrawing to north of the Juba-Torit road, while the army would remain east of the Nimule-Juba road.

As to the accord’s staying power, both sides have issued specific demands to see the war end. So far, it has displaced one and a half million people. Ninety percent of the northern population is living in Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps.

Sources report the LRA has kidnapped about 30,000 children in northern Uganda and created the aberration of the ‘child soldier’.

There are thirty IDP camps in the Gulu District alone in northern Uganda, remnants of long years of war in Sudan and in eastern DR Congo.

Every Child Ministries’ Lorella Rouster says they’ve committed to working with the children in three remote refugee camps. “Not many people get out there because it’s been dangerous in the past. There’s not much Gospel work going on in those camps, there is, of course, some humanitarian work.”

The need is outstripping the resources of all the groups that are working there. Rouster says they’re anxious to get started. “We will, first of all, be trying to recruit missionaries to work in the IDP camps, both on the long-term and the short-term basis and do training in the area for children’s workers. We’re beginning the recruiting immediately.”

Their first area of emphasis will be the IDP camps farthest out from Gulu– Atiak (Population 15,594), Pawel (Population 3,064) and Paweri (Population 693).

Teams will make regular contact through personal visitation of families as well as a children’s Bible club. Their job will be to emphasize spiritual needs first and educational needs of children second. Future plans include the production and sale of artifacts as an income-generating activity.

Rouster concludes with this: “The idea of forgiveness is an immense need in Ugandan society and needs to be seriously explored.” They’re working on formulating in-depth teaching so survivors can talk about the issues in order to prevent bitterness from taking root.

Click here if you’re interested in joining a Uganda IDP team.

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