[wh_blogger img=”http://worldhelp.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/dan_king.png” name=”Dan King” twitter=”bibledude” short_bio=”Author of The Unlikely Missionary, co-author of Activist Faith”]
Dan King is the founder and “chief instigator” at BibleDude.net. He’s also served on the editorial team for TheHighCalling.org, mostly managing social media and writing an occasional post for the website. Dan’s experience in blogging has led him to experience local ministry, community outreach, and global missionary work in a very deep and meaningful way. For Dan, being “missional” is not a trendy term, but it’s where he finds God.
I’m struggling with getting my head wrapped around something right now. Maybe over time I’ll be able to process this better, or at least justify some excuse as to why I don’t need to fully understand it. But for now, I think I have to be equal parts content with my lack of understanding and disturbed by the magnitude of the situation.
Try to imagine this.
You’re 4 years old, and alone. No family. No friends. Left to wander the community looking for something to eat and a place to sleep. Sometimes you find it, sometimes you don’t. Then when you do find shelter, you are often abused and/or forced to do things to make money for the family you’re living with.
This is Justin’s story.
The 1994 Rwanda Genocide left him orphaned at 4 years old with nowhere to go. He essentially raised himself for many years, with little to no positive influence in his life.
The genocide not only resulted in over 1 million people dead, but also countless surviving victims like Justin. Many people fled as refugees to surrounding countries only to return to nothing. As a result, widow’s villages were established to give some victims a place to settle. Other communities became villages of child-headed households, with children raising their surviving siblings after all of their parents were lost.
When Justin tells his story, it’s littered with references to “God’s protection” and “providence,” as he shares how God has carried him through some unimaginable circumstances.
He also speaks of forgiveness, something he wouldn’t be able to do without Christ. Not only was his family taken from him, he’s also been the victim of beatings and bullying from other children due to tribal affiliations. The crazy thing is, a 4 year old child with no family has no tribal affiliation. He has more reason to hate than any of us ever will, yet he chooses to forgive and love.
Today, Justin has his own home in Hope Village. He’s studying and working towards a better future for himself. And he has dreams of using music to encourage and bring the hope of the Lord to hurting people everywhere.
He attributes much of the success in his life to the church and organizations like World Help who have intervened on his behalf, supporting education, housing, and other resources which have brought stability and a sense of normalcy (even if just a little).
Justin’s story is a one filled with many years of great pain. But more than that, it’s a great testimony filled with healing and restoration. It reflects the power of God and his divine providence.
Our team has experienced a lot of heartache and joy this week in Uganda and Rwanda. We’ve cried and laughed with people like Justin who have shared their stories with us, and with the adult caretakers who watch over precious, little babies who don’t even understand their story yet.
I’m reminded of a statement made by a friend who works in some tough inner-city ministry (in the U.S.). He says, “We exist to intervene.” We’re not made to sit by the sidelines and wait for someone else to fix the world’s problems. Justin’s life is changed forever, because someone intervened. And the lives of many other children we’ve hugged and played with and prayed with will be different because someone has intervened.
For our team, this week is ultimately about Rescue Homes. And we’re asking people to intervene along with us. At the time of this writing, we’ve already fully funded Phase 1 of our project, and are well into Phase 2. We have three phases to fund in order to complete the project that will allow Destiny Villages of Hope to bring in up to 40 more orphaned children.
You can make a difference in a young child’s life today.
Will you intervene on their behalf?