Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Thoughts from Africa-March 11

Thoughts from Africa

Thoughts from Africa March 11, 2008 Not sure if I will make it to blog or not but these things must be written down so that I can get them out of my mind and onto paper so they will not be forgotten. Since we have been here, I have heard many life stories of my friends here. Stories of their lives that made me cry, that made me thankful for my own life and stories that made me ashamed that I ever complain. I am going to put a few down on paper starting with my own children. First of all, excuse me if any of this has already been said but it can bear repeating. First of all let me say that there is not one person here who has not been affected by HIV/AIDS. There is not one person here who has not been affected by death. These stories I am about to put down are true and happened to real people. My heart is overwhelmed with emotion as I write this. I have been shown the hurt of these people and somehow I feel that I know a portion of the hurt God feels for them. Compassion has a new meaning for me. Is this how Jesus felt when he walked the streets of Israel? I don’t think I can handle too much more sorrow for these people. How does our Father handle it, I wonder? How his heart breaks for them! Can we as the Christian body really open up our hearts and spirits and let God show us the sorrow of the world? Or will we just go along in our own lives and choose to close our hearts to what sin has caused in the world? There is a book I have been reading while here by Tom Davis and I highly recommend it for everyone in the church body to read it. It is called RED LETTERS. You can order it off of or Tom’s Blog When will we as a church put into action the words of Jesus? Now to the stories: First, Allenni and Andrew’s story. Allenni and Andrew are HIV/AIDS orphans. They come from a village where the majority of the adults have been wiped out with HIV/AIDS. There are 45,000 children without parents. Most of them live in child headed homes. Andrew and Allenni are some of the lucky ones. They were found by HFU and brought to their home to be taken care of. Both parents had died of AIDS a few years ago and the only living relative was a grandfather who was very old and had AIDS himself. Without saying much, lets just say, living with him was not a good situation. So, came HOPE when they came to live at HFU. Food, clothing, shelter and education became theirs. The children did not come to HFU at the same time. Allenni had been found first and brought to HFU. Later Andrew was found and it was discovered that they were brother and sister. They were joyfully reunited! More hope became theirs when we were found as their family. But this is not the end of the story. Actually there is more to the beginning of the story. Let me go back years and years ago. Allenni and Andrew have a history that is incredible. Their heritage is Rwandan. Though they are Ugandans by birth, they have a Rwandan heritage. Their family migrated here during either during the genocide in 1994 or earlier when Belgium gave the country its independence and the King of Rwanda died. To help you better understand the story here let me give you a short history. In 1916, Belgium took over Rwanda from Germany and instilled a rigid colonial system which classified and exploited the people based on their tribal origin. They elevated the Tutsi tribe over the Hutu tribe and so began the resentment of the Hutu against the Tutsi. When Belgium gave the country its independence in 1959, elections put the Huts in power and so began sporadic killings of the Tutsi. About 150,000 people were killed, mostly the Tutsi. Hundreds of thousands of other Tutsi went into exile to Uganda and other neighboring countries. In 1973, there was a military coup and another Hutu leader established himself as president. He was re-elected in 1983 and 1988. In 1988, some of those Tutsi who had fled to Uganda grouped together and formed the RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front) to go against the Hutu government and take back their land. In 1993 the RPF and the Rwandan Government came to a peace agreement and they agreed to share power. In 1994, Hutu extremist not happy about the president’s agreement shot down the president’s plane and murdered the prime minister. The extremist along with the military took control and then began a planned violent campaign through radio and other means instigating Hutus to turn against the Tutsis. With hate and racial slurs they sighted neighbors against neighbors, friends against friends and family against family. The Tutsi were called cockroaches, and not worth the dirt under the Hutu’s feet. Women and children were targeted to wipe out the next generation. About 100 days later with almost 1 million Tutsi and moderate Hutu massacred in ways unimaginable, the RPF gained control of the government and the killings were stopped. Almost 2 million Hutu refugees fled to Zaire to escape prosecution of the RPF. Through out all of this most of the western world ignored this conflict because it was of no political gain and turned their heads. This broke my heart. But isn’t that the way satan works? To make people power hungry and greedy and the human factor becomes unimportant? Why am I going through all this history? To show you what an awesome God we have. Allenni and Andrew are Tutsi. They are decendants of the tribe which satan tried to eliminate not only once but several times over the course of many years. When satan tries to eliminate a people group, does it make you wonder what God has specially planned for them or if someone in that people group is destined to be used mightly by God? Examples of this would definitely include the Jews. Moses was hidden because all the baby boys were executed. All the baby boys were once again killed when Jesus was born and then the Jews were massacred again in the holocaust. Also you can look at the tribe of Indians who Jim Elliott tried to reach in South America. The Indian tribe was killing off their own. Satan turns man against man to eliminate the human race. But what Satan meant for harm, God turned for good. That tribe is now under Christian influence and the same people who killed Jim Elliott are now children of God. So, thoughts would be that God has something great planned for my children! I know God has a purpose for every person on earth but in my spirit I know that these children will accomplish something great for our God and His Kingdom. I sat overwhelmed yesterday to think that God has rescued these two children from that past. I was thankful and humbled that He has put them into my care to raise. There are many scars on them both emotionally and generationally but I know God is more powerful than the one who lives in this world.

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