Remembering a quiet man, a go-getter and two legacies of love for Africa
They were about as different as two evangelists could be…
African forces, with American assistance, are flushing out the last vestiges of the Lord’s Resistance Army. The brutal terrorist group, led by Joseph Kony, has dealt death and chaos across Uganda, South Sudan and the Congo.
Professing a perverted gospel, Kony and his troops murder, rape and mutilate those they deem to be enemies. They steal children.
James Sokiri in “I don’t know which ‘Lord’s’ they are,” James Sokiri told The Christian Chronicle in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, in 2011. Sokiri was in a Ugandan camp — a refugee of Sudan’s decades-long conflict — when the Lord’s Resistance Army attacked, bound his hands and led him into the bush. Sokiri didn’t fear, he recalled. In his mind, he was already dead.
Thankfully, he evaded his captors and hid. Hours later, the Ugandan army drove the rebels away. Other children weren’t as lucky. The Lord’s Resistance Army brainwashed them, turning boys into soldiers and girls into sex slaves.
Joseph Kony is still at large, though his forces are scattered. Now U.S. military helicopters roam the skies above the rebel’s hideouts, The Wall Street Journal reported in a recent front-page story from the Central African Republic.
Instead of firing rockets, the helicopters broadcast messages recorded by parents of the child soldiers, pleading for them to come home.
South Sudan: In the world’s newest nation, Africans plant churches It’s working. One by one, soldiers slip away from the camps, lay down their weapons and return to their villages. We shed tears as we see photos of the joyous celebrations that erupt at their homecomings. We’re reminded of the parable of the prodigal son — and the joyous reunion that awaits us all in the life to come.
The Wall Street Journal tells stories of tearful reunions as former child soldiers come home. (PHOTO BY ERIK TRYGGESTAD)
We rejoice in the power of media to share these stories, and we salute the African and American soldiers who risk their lives in this noble task — one that mirrors our heavenly Father’s soft and tender call to all humanity: “Come home! Come home! Ye who are weary come home!”
Sokiri answered that call. While working in Juba, he found World English Institute online and studied Scripture with a Church of Christ member in Kentucky. On Aug. 29, 2010, evangelist Isaya Jackson baptized Sokiri in the Nile River.
“I felt as though something physical were removed from my body,” Sokiri said. “I imagined the time Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River … and how happy I will be with him in eternity.”
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