Passion 07 and Invisible Children

I just returned a few days ago from taking several of my college students to the Passion 07 conference in Atlanta. It was a crazy and busy 4 days (I went down to the Orange Bowl in Miami for a day while I was there - too bad Wake lost but it's alright) and I came back with a bunch of ideas swimming around in my head.

Along with incredible worship and speakers, the Passion conference offered a lot of options for what they call "breakout groups" in the afternoon. As I skimmed over the list of groups being offered, one immediately caught my eye and I knew that I had to go. It was a discussion of the Invisible Children movement that got started a couple of years ago. Basically, 3 film students from Southern California traveled to Africa thinking they were going to do a story on Sudan but when they got there they realized the story they were looking for was to be found in Northern Uganda. The children of Uganda, especially the boys, have been vicitimized for 20 years now by a rebel army calling themselves the Lord's Resistance Army. The LRA believes that God has told them to overthrow the government of Uganda and since there aren't very many men willing to join their militia, they come at night and abduct boys between the ages of 7-12 to indoctrinate them and then conscript them into their army.

When these three guys found out about this, they were amazed to find that thousands of young boys would travel before nightfall to sleep in the basements of hospitals and other safe places just to avoid being abducted by the LRA. The stories they told of many young boys was powerful, and since the world (and even myself at the time) did not even realize that there was a 20-year war in Uganda much less mass abductions, they labeled these children the Invisible Children and made a film based upon what they discovered.

Through the film and what they call world tours (traveling all over America and beyond to show screenings of the film), the Invisible Children movement has sought to raise global awareness of the atrocities going on in Northern Uganda and also to serve as advocates for the thousands left orphans because of the war and HIV/AIDS. Proceed from the videos and from bracelets that Ugandan refugees make helps to furnish food, clothing, and eductaion to many of these boys. Also, this organization has established a vast menoring program which partners adults in Uganda with these young men in an effort to guide them through life and to help them make wise decisions.

As I sat in this breakout session, my heart completely united with the Invisible Children movement. I have long had a burden for Africa, especially for Sudan, and this just added to my love of this continent. I decided that I needed to use proceeds from my coffee sales to contribute to the Invisible Children movement and that I, too, would be an advocate for the children of Northern Uganda.

If you read this blog, please visit the website of the Invisible Children and see what you can do to help.

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