Saturday, August 2, 2008
Exit 44 Route 78 - New Providence Jesus
The town was originally named Turkeytown, seems there was a rather large presence of wild turkeys in the area. In 1759, the balcony of the Presbyterian church collapsed. The lack of serious injuries was declared by DIVINE PROVIDENCE and the town was renamed to NEW PROVIDENCE.
Here in the parking lot of the Presbyterian Church is World Vision’s mock Ugandan village. One cannot miss this village along Springfield Avenue. Downtown New Providence is beautiful, this Ugandan village is not.
As WV’s mission statement says, “Motivated by our faith in Jesus, we serve the poor…” and this small piece of Uganda is meant to give us just a glimpse.
Entering the tent-like structure, I was provided an iPod (not standard in Uganda).
Following the earpiece instructions, I take on the identity of a 13 year old Ugandan, Stephen Migeria and begin my 20 minute life-changing tour. I am immersed in the role of this Stephen.
I sit on his straw chair soaking in the sounds of the African landscape. It is quite peaceful. I lay in his bed, while still soaking in the “peace,” I hear gunshots, lots of them. The voice in my earpiece says something about “The Lord’s Resistance Army,” then the words, “They’re coming for you, Stephen.” I literally stand motionless as I listen to the voice in my ear telling me that I am now abducted and training to be a child soldier. The earpiece voice tells me I have killed others both by gun and machete.
A year into my abduction, my small army of boys is ambushed by another army and I am taken to the Gulu Children of War Rehabilitation Center. Here, I am cared for by a mentor who tells me that God loves me and actually forgives me for what I’ve done.
But after being saved from the Lord’s Resistance Army, I am told of yet another threat, a hidden one: AIDS. I wait in the clinic for my test results.
“Negative.” I am relieved.
James 1: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…”