07 June 2011

A Benefit for the Acholi of Uganda

And a general exhortation regarding Africa past and present.

For those who might be somewhere near Ohio on 12 June, there’s a worthwhile event taking place.

I tried to include some of the pictures but I'm afraid the Google Blogger programme didn't want to cooperate. I'm sure there's a way, but I'm not enough of a computer guy to know how to do it.

This is a benefit to aid some folks in Uganda. Africa is a pretty confusing place for most people, in fact so daunting that most people don't even try to understand it. We should.

One, because the things we do, and (for Americans) the things our government does and supports has an impact on the lives of the people who live there.

Two, wherever there are Brethren we ought to take note and think about their lives and perhaps include them in our prayers.

Also I've expressed elsewhere that as the years go by I am more inclined to give money to overseas work. If I want to help someone in the United States, I'm more inclined to help someone I know or encounter. I'm making a broad sweeping generalization, but American churches waste copious amounts of money on things like buildings, landscaping and carpet and I'm not too inclined to contribute to their General Funds that trickle money to the American needy.

I don't have a lot of money to give. By American standards I'm poor, so if I have $50 or $100 to give....I'd rather send it to a place where that's worth a lot more. And if you look at the links here, who cannot be moved for these folks?

And looking into the history and current events of these places can only improve our understanding and assessment of the state of things in the world, and help us to understand what's happening with governments and the Church.

As Americans we tend to be pretty uninformed about the world outside of our borders, unless of course we hold to a theology that mistakenly views portions of the Middle East as having eschatological significance. But even then, more often than not Christians turn to news they want to hear, that supports their views and preconceived notions.

Africa has been neglected and the realities of the 21st century will not allow for that anymore. There is a new Scramble for Africa afoot and once again the people there are going to suffer. For many of them, the 20th century was no party. Thus far, the United States has been reluctant to put 'boots on the ground' in Africa, but if you understand the game that's developing, the struggle for control of resources, debt, and power, it may help you when you think about things like voting or when you're talking your nephew who wants to join the military, or perhaps someone else who wants to join the Peace Corps, work for Monsanto, Royal Dutch Shell, or the IMF.

There are tremendous resources available on the internet. If you're interested, Wikipedia is a great place to start. Look up Uganda, its current leader Museveni, and then you can get into the LRA and the Congo Wars. This is probably the most under-reported war in modern times. Sadly most folks just don't care.

I would also recommend a book by Robert D. Kaplan. He's a Right-wing writer, but despite that he's quite intelligent and asks good questions. Yes, normally I believe Nationalism is a disease which damages thought processes. Kaplan is an exception. His assessment of Africa's future is chilling. I don't agree with his solutions, i.e. American Expansionism, but he's respected and there are many who agree with him.

We may see the grabbing of resources under the guise of humanitarian aid. Some people may benefit but the short-term ceasefire may lead to long term bloodshed. This is what happened in the Balkans, Iraq and is continuing to simmer throughout the Middle East. Kaplan's book is called The Coming Anarchy. He also discusses West Africa in The Ends of the Earth. I recommend all his writings. Like I said, I really disagree with him, but he's worth the read. Balkan Ghosts is probably one of my all time favourite books. It's not above criticism, but Kaplan clearly saw what was happening with the break-up of Yugoslavia.

For those who lack time and make use of audio technology, try the BBC's Africa Today podcast. It's usually about 15 minutes long, and within a short time you learn a lot. You'll quickly become more conversant regarding the issues and the next thing you know you'll be getting maps out.

Here's the information. This is from a friend who frequently comments here. I urge anyone reading this to help out. This is important and I think more of these small outfits than the massive organizations handling millions of dollars. But that's just me. Anyway, I am happy to share this........

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble. . .James 1:27

Hello Friends. I am writing to let you know about the A-OK Benefit Event I am organizing on Sunday, June 12 in Geauga County to raise funds for two great projects that help the Acholi people of Uganda who are recovering from 20 years of war and genocide. A-OK stands for "African Orphan-Kare".

The event is a turkey dinner buffet and concert by the choral quartet Spirit Bound. I'll present a short program about my Acholi friends and the work done by the organizations. There is no up-front fee but donations will be accepted. The dinner takes place 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm and the concert is at 7:00 pm Sunday June 12 at the Claridon Congregational Church on Mayfield Rd. at Clardon-Troy Rd.  (That's east of Cleveland between the city and the Pennsylvania line- proto).

One charity is PeaceHarvest, which trains people in ox-powered farming and developing agriculture along with peace-building and reconciliation efforts. The other is Pader Orphans Caring Project, a registered NGO in Uganda partnered with Little Miracles International, caring for young orphans and former child war-abductees. I worked in these projects in 2008 and keep in touch with the Acholi people there, and I serve on the board of PeaceHarvest, so I can personally attest to the good results from all funds that go into the training programs and to support the orphans. Both organizations are quite accountable for all funds sent.

You could also help so much by spreading the word to your friends, family, co-workers, church, and so on. I plan to provide flyers about the event shortly; I hope you will distribute them in your circles.

We want you to come and enjoy a turkey dinner, inspirational music, learn about life in northern Uganda, and take home a bag of fresh-roasted peanuts or some bake sale goodies; and consider making a contribution to help the wonderful people of Acholiland recover from decades of man-made devastation.

If you are moved to donate or solicit a donation of a turkey, a ham, cakes, cookies, bread, other menu items, or beverage--thanks! Perhaps you know people in food businesses who might donate items if you ask? Receipts for tax-deduction are available. You can make a contribution even if you can't attend--just contact me.

I will split the proceeds between Pader Orphans Caring and PeaceHarvest, unless you specify one or the other. Funds go to Uganda, where they are used by our accountable representatives there. A dollar goes a long way in a place where people try to survive on much less than a dollar a day! My hope is to return to Uganda later this year to visit the orphans again, perhaps help set them up with a dairy goat or cow, and to participate in an inter-ethnic women's ox training project with PeaceHarvest. I'm working jobs to earn my travel expenses.

The Acholi people of northern Uganda were hard-working farmers, dedicated to family and community, who raised crops and livestock and worked oxen on their fertile ancestral lands; before war, terrorists, and ethnic rivalries forced them into crowded squalid camps, where guerilla attacks and disease and starvation decimated their population and disrupted their society. The Acholi certainly share our values, hopes, and dreams. I feel priviledged to share some of my blessings with them, and that they consider me makwan -- friend.

With compassion in Christ,

Vicki S.
Board Member

Call me 440-635-0559 or email me evrgrn@nls.net.

For details on these projects, go to




Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God. Matthew 5:9

And if you're near Pymatuning, make sure you check out the spillway fish! It's grotesquely fascinating.


Anonymous said...


The stories just break your heart. Obviously it's all in God's Providence, but you want to ask...why did these poor folks end up with all the resources everyone wants?

I meant what I said in the post. What's happening in Africa is astonishing and yet so many of the people there are kind and generous. I'm surprised they don't shoot white people on sight. From the 1800's to today it's just been one long terrible tale of exploitation and manipulation.

Do they do it to themselves as I was taught growing up in my good Goldwater-esque Republican home? Sure, everyone is to blame....but the folks in the pictures from the websites....they just want to live in peace and so often people in Africa are not given that luxury.

Why do we have it? The luxury of stability? God's special blessings for the USA? our military?

In a dog-eat-dog world, you either project your power, rape and exploit or you get raped and exploited and your power is taken from you.

The US has chosen its path. No surprise. Everyone wants to be top dog. I just don't understand how top-dog ideology became Christian!

Johannes aka protoprotestant

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Proto, for bringing a bit of awareness about our Acholi brothers and sisters. It was thrilling to hear testimonies from men and women of their conversions to Jesus after having been raised in witchcraft. My friend Opiera, about 30 years old, who is the only living sibling among a family of 8, said that the one good thing about the war was that it turned large numbers of people to the Scriptures and to Jesus. He said that as they began to forsake the witch doctors and worship Jesus, the LRA army began to lose power and to retreat farther north into Sudan and Congo.

Understand that, as a double whammy, not only were the people terrorized by attacks from the demonically inspired witch doctor warlord Kony, but that was a convenient ruse for the Ugandan President to force the Acholi people into overcrowded refugee camps, ostensibly for their "protection". The President, of a differing tribal group, has old revenge to extract from the Acholi and evidence exists that he was eyeing their rich land for his own exploitation. But in those camps for almost 20 years, the people died in huge numbers from disease and starvation, forsaken by the Ugandan government, and ravaged by Kony attacks. It was death to leave the perimeter of a camp, either from the LRA or the government soldiers would kill you thinking you were LRA. The camps were effectively prisons. Only humanitarian aid from western nations kept them alive. Their once stable, community and clan-oriented society was pretty effectively destroyed. A whole generation has grown up knowing nothing but camp life (and death), fear of abduction, red cross caravans, and World Food Aid. Their farmland has overgrown for 20 years. At this time, we are trying to assist them to regain their pastoral life and the ability to feed themselves and establish some economy.

If you'd like to see some photos, I can email you.

Vicki S.

Anonymous said...

Through some friends that have had dealings with Ugandans in Gulu, I do have some awareness of the human tragedy that has plagued that country. Stories of children being abducted by the LRA to fight as soldiers,the subhuman treatment that is meted out to those who resist are things that I could never let my 12 yr old hear, and yet kids her age and less are being turned into killing machines.
Unfortunately though ,while it should be the local christian church that many turn to for answers to the whole mess, here is a church that has been exposed to the worst excesses of American christianity.These people need aid , they need counselling and most of all they need to hear the gospel, but what they are getting is a Benny Hinn style of " annointing" .i know this because I have witnessed the " Leaders" of the local church there , in the church that I used to attend. I walked out in disgust. The Acholi really need prayer, else they walk out of one disaster into another.


Anonymous said...

Ray, this is so true. Most of Africa has a horrible form of hyper-prosperity that is a hideous caricature of the Church. No one had been up to the war zone yet to exploit the people when I was there in 2008, but I saw what was in the south, and I've been praying ever since for the Lord to protect them from "missionaries" of that kind. Todd Bentley went to Gulu shortly after, but I don't think it was too successful. Still, up in bush where I was priviledged to work, and hope to return later this year, the people are still isolated and I believe that is a blessing!

The men at Yesu Mulungi are faithfully contending for the Faith in east Africa. So is Andrew Strom, who did a preaching tour a couple years ago for African "pastors". So is David Servant of ShepherdServe who was touring last year.

Ray, I am so encouraged to hear that you know about these people, about the situation, and that you are also praying for them!

Rubanga omini gum, Victoria