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Child Soldier

When your young life starts with terror and violence and your family is destroyed before your eyes and you are forced to commit all manner of atrocities…for six long years…what will you do once you escape? Meet Ayella Denis (see the video here), once a child soldier of the LRA in northern Uganda, he escaped to start a new life on a very different path. See how one man can change not only his life, but the lives of many, many others. As missionaries, we are discouraged from soliciting funds for worthy projects while on our mission. We’ve struggled with that, trying to know how to share the great needs here without asking any one person for money. We’ve concluded that we will describe the needs, then leave any contribution between the giver and the recipient so no money is passed from our hand to theirs. This seems to be the cleanest way to help those here who have genuine need without putting ourselves in the position of the giver. The beauty of this cause is that there is no concern regarding government corruption or a greedy middle man who siphons off the proceeds before they reach the recipient. We’re confident that Denis will exercise care in using the money for its best purpose. There are several ways a person can help Denis. We’ll list them here and leave it to you whether to become involved and in what area. Our personal recommendation centers on providing things that can self-perpetuate, such as building the farm or sponsoring a talent tour. We caution you not to send money or goods by mail or parcel service. It will not...
Potato Prompting

Potato Prompting

Today we visited Ayella Denis at his orphanage about 15 miles from Gulu. Although we have been very careful not to give gifts to the people, today we felt differently. We both felt impressed to take Denis some potatoes. We went to the open market and bought about 200 pounds of spuds and a sack of onions, then drove to the orphanage. When we arrived, we showed our gift to Denis (pictured left) who was very grateful. He told us that this morning his kids had eaten the last of their beans before going to school, and that they had no food to feed them when they returned. Our potatoes were an answer to his prayer. That humbled us as we realized that we were directed. This is unique because we have never given material gifts on our mission other than missionary literature and a meal here and there. But this morning we felt compelled to help. We’re so glad we did. Denis just called tonight at 9 PM to tell us the kids were eating a late supper of potatoes. He told us the kids had never tasted a potato before and that they were most thankful. Wow. Can you imagine never tasting a potato? He told us they don’t buy them because they are too expensive. We offered another prayer of gratitude for our bounteous blessings. Love you all. Now eat your...
Bright Horizons

Bright Horizons

I watch the sun peak from behind these ancient hills and think of all good fortunes that have been and those to come. I reflect on my human ailments and wonder what might have been undone. When my eyes reach the sky, and my thoughts turn to heaven, my heart is happy and my hope is high. If my gaze droops to the rocks and foul beasts, all hope is lost and new beginnings forgone. If I am honest with myself I can admit past failures and even acknowledge future defeats. But my hope rests in Christ, my truest tendency is to rely on Him while also owning my destiny through the power of a single choice. In a moment, I can choose to be like Him. I can choose to act. Life moves swiftly, leaving only small spaces for regret and fear for the traveler who will keep her gaze above the horizon. The crippling crux of comparison can bring even the most honorable servant to despondency and guile. The liberating light of love can lift the willing soul to higher places, to better beginnings. No morsel or lucre is required to justify the expression of true freedom. Through Christ, all light is absorbed and then given freely to all who will bare heart and soul to His healing. No scar or blemish can remain, for though before like scarlet, whitest wool she can obtain. By anonymous. Photo by Robbie...
The Heart of Happiness

The Heart of Happiness

By Crystal Taylor Krebs: I loved your journal post Dad! It’s neat to get inside your head a little and try to envision what you are seeing first hand every day. I had a weird worry the other day… I was thinking “Man, after all mom and dad see, our little problems here at home won’t seem like nothin.” Then that got me thinking about life n’ happiness and what makes a person happy. It’s clearly not circumstance or environment alone since people with a posh pad or a poor predicament can be equally happy or equally miserable. But there is definitely something to be said about the necessities of life. Shelter. Adequate food. Clothing. Love. When any of those qualities are void, happiness isn’t suddenly the impossible but it takes extra pieces out of our hearts to survive until we get the chance to  recover ourselves. For example, when Louis Zamperini’s plane went down in WW2, he was abandon with 2 others at sea. (1 that died within a few weeks) Starving, exposed to the elements and more alone than he’d ever been, he and his soldier friend fought for their lives on a raft for around 65 days, many times watching planes fly overhead and going unseen and unnoticed in their desperation. Their “rescue” came in the form of a Japanese Prison camp, where Louis spent 2 years being beat, starved, abused and tortured. So where is the happy ending? Well, there is one but he paid a price for his pain and suffering. Mental and emotional scars took years to heal over as he came to...

War Between Good and Evil

Since being here in Uganda, we have been exposed to a most beautiful place on earth and a people of faith and gentility. But we have also learned of terrible brutality beyond any description. Yesterday is one example. We interviewed Denis Ayella, a man who was abducted into the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army headed by Joseph Kony) at age nine. Later in his young life, he chose to turn to God and start an orphanage to save children with similar backgrounds to his. The contrast is amazing. But as Denis told in horrific graphic detail of his parents death in front of him, his flight and being shot and captured, and the soul-destroying training and experiences of being a child soldier, we wept and hurt along with him and felt our hearts break. All this has begged a question: How shall we tell such stories sufficient to illustrate the contrast while celebrating the victories over evil? And now, my son, I dwell no longer upon this horrible scene. Behold, thou knowest the wickedness of this people; thou knowest that they are without principle, and past feeling. Moroni 9:20 We will share enough of the story to convey the evil in man without detailing its ugliness – then move onto the positive and beautiful that has arisen from the ashes. From the one hour video we shot of Denis yesterday, I will save perhaps 5 minutes to share the basic storyline of his early life. Then I’ll spend the rest of the time showing how he has blossomed and is blessing the lives of the vulnerable. This is not an...