I keep waiting for someone to pinch me… Ever since my first trip to Ethiopia I must say I have spent so much time dreaming about visiting several other African nations that have called to my heart. My eyes were opened to the children’s crisis in Uganda back seven plus years ago when I watched the film Invisible Children.
The film depicted the horror of children who had become night commuters, walking miles outside of their villages into city streets. Once in the city they would make their way into the gutter and drainage systems underground in order to remain safe each night from the LRA soldiers who entered villages, killed elders, abducted children to become child soldiers and then burned the village to the ground. No child was safe and the children of Uganda were then drugged and trained to become killers. They killed their own people in order to remain alive themselves. This civil war lasted over 20 years and in some areas in Northern Uganda members of the LRA are still at work today.
Out team will not be visiting this Northern region, but rather the Southern region of Uganda and I wanted to share with you one of the organizations I am eager to visit. I actually met one of the women who she and her husband started the ministry Sixty Feet and I am thrilled to now be going to see first hand the plight of the children who have been ravaged, forgotten, displaced and even now remain imprisoned due to the history of a country in war. Below you can learn more about Sixty Feet and I hope you will take the time to visit the Sixty Feet website to better understand how God chose people just like you and me to go to Uganda to “be the change,” one remote prison and one child at a time. Please keep this ministry in your prayers and I would ask that you pray for my team as we visit the children, young children who have been left behind due to HIV, abandonment, death of parents, or perhaps accused of something in a country where there is little hope of justice. Please pray that we are able to be light through their darkness. Pray that we can love and minister BIG! Pray that we might capture images and learn stories that will change not only our own hearts but the hearts of so many others we will share with when we return home. Pray for us to be His hands and feet.
Here is the story taken from the Sixty Feet website…
According to the most recent estimates, there are approximately 2.5 million orphans in Uganda, over a million of whom are a direct result of AIDS. In a country where the median age is only 15, as many as 1 in 6 children under the age of 17 is an orphan.
Outside Kampala there is a place where some of these abandoned, unloved and neglected children are kept. And this is where our story begins…
Not long ago a woman was on her way out of Kampala and drove past a dilapidated old sign that read “M”: Rehabilitation Center for Children. She was drawn to learn more about the place so she turned down a long, winding dirt road until she came to the end. To her horror, she found rooms of children locked up, young kids chained to windows, and even a 10 day old, malnourished and living in her own urine. She saw hundreds of children with little food and no supervision. As horrific as this was, on that day God began a glorious story of redemption for these children.
Eight thousand miles away, word of “M” made its way to the shores of America. Several families in Atlanta heard about “M” and their hearts were completely broken. Living amidst a sea of abundance and well cared for families, they could not begin to fathom the pain and suffering that these children endured on a daily basis. The thought of orphaned children held in these circumstances with no one to advocate or care for them was too much.
So in early 2010, the men began to pray that God would send someone to help. They quickly realized God was planning to send them. It was clear they were being called step up and do something, so they responded and went. They wanted to see first hand how God was at work, and how they could serve.
The experience was life changing. After witnessing the gospel in action and the heart of God poured out on orphans and imprisoned children, these men realized that God was calling them to not only proclaim the gospel but to live it.
Sixty Feet was born out of a desire to participate in God’s work at “M.” It was born out of a yearning to share the love of Jesus Christ in a tangible and meaningful way. To care for and minister to orphans who are otherwise treated as common prisoners. In short, Sixty Feet is a response to the gospel.
Unfortunately, we soon realized that “M” was not unique. There are other facilities around Uganda where children are held. So far we know of seven. The mission expanded quickly and our hearts grew exponentially. Within months of that first trip, God assembled an amazing team on the ground and He continues to equip us to minister to the children.
God has not only moved in our hearts but in the hearts of so many back in the U.S. The response from people around the country (and the world) has been tremendous. The outpouring of prayers and support for imprisoned children half way across the world has been awe-inspiring. It leaves us humbled and encouraged to see the body of Christ rise up to share the love of Jesus with the least of our brothers and sisters suffering under horrendous conditions.
When all is said and done, Sixty Feet is made up of regular people who responded to a call God placed on our lives. We are fully submitted to the authority of Christ and to His will for this ministry. We exist for His glory and to serve His purposes as long as He would have us do so.
This is our story, and we pray that soon…. it may be your story too.
Peace and Grace,