Friday, July 31, 2009

An update on the situation in Northern Uganda

The following update on Northern Uganda is from Paul Ronan of "Resolve Uganda" Terry--With LRA violence worsening across central Africa, the former UN envoy for LRA-affected areas told the UN Security Council that the international community must do more to bring an end to the rebel attacks and support lasting peace. Members of the US Congress have certainly taken these words to heart, as more than 100 Representatives have now signed onto the House version of the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act. Last Thursday, Resolve Uganda released a statement about this historic legislation, emphasizing why this bill is such a crucial first step in advancing lasting peace in the region. You can read the statement here.
The Good:
The LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act continued to gain momentum this month, and now has 24 cosponsors in the Senate and 103 in the House of Representatives.
The Bad:
A cutback in international aid to northern Uganda is contributing to worsening food security for thousands of people there.
The Ugly:
LRA rebels have raided several villages in the Central African Republic this month, marking a resurgence of LRA activity there.
Regional Security
LRA attacks in the DR Congo have increased in frequency and severity over the past three months. In the first three weeks of July, 49 people were killed and 147 kidnapped during 55 LRA attacks on Congolese communities.
Recent LRA attacks in the Central African Republic (CAR) have forced over 500 people to leave their homes and flee into South Sudan. There are unconfirmed reports that the LRA is concentrating its forces in the CAR, and the Ugandan army is reportedly extending its operations against the rebels into the CAR.
Situation in Northern Uganda
Thousands of people are in danger of starvation in northern Uganda, many in regions where international food assistance has recently been scaled back due to lack of funding. Local leaders are increasingly concerned that a famine is developing in regions that are especially food insecure.
Human Rights Watch researcher Maria Burnett wrote in the Monitor that beneath the recent controversey over alleged renewed rebel activity in northern Uganda lies a problematic pattern of "illegal arrests… and long-term incommunicado detention in ungazetted locations" carried out by the Ugandan military.
The Ugandan government announced a 10% cut in its 2009/10 defense budget. The move is likely to be applauded by Ugandan politicians and international donors who argue that high military spending prevents adequate investment in development and social services.
International Response
Joaquim Chissano, former UN envoy for LRA-affected areas, recommended that the international community implement a two-pronged strategy of pursuing negotiation as well as military action to stop LRA violence in central Africa. Giving his final briefing to the UN Security Council, Chissano also stressed that the credibility of any negotations would be measured by the level of LRA leader Joseph Kony's direct involvement.
Responding to Chissano's statements, several northern Ugandan leaders emphasized the need to resume dialogue with Kony. They also expressed concern about the possibility of future military operations against the LRA, citing the failure of past Ugandan offensives to stop rebel violence. Riek Machar, former chief mediator of the Juba peace talks, issued a similar statement earlier this month.
The LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act has now been cosponsored by 127 Members of Congress, an unprecedented show of Congressional support for lasting peace in Uganda.
Best,Paul RonanSenior Policy Analyst, Resolve Uganda
--------------------------------------Resolve Uganda is the campaign to end the war in Uganda, made up of people and organizations who believe that peace is possible and that together we can make it happen.

Monday, July 27, 2009

August, 2009 visit to Keziya Orphanage in Uganda

This Saturday, August 1st, 2009 I will be leaving for a trip to Northern Uganda to visit with the Rev. Otto Naptali at the Keziya Orphanage in Gulu, Uganda. This is my third trip to Uganda and my first trip to Gulu which is located in the Northern district of Uganda. The purpose of this trip is to implement the "Medkids Project" for Shared Blessings - an International Christian Ministry. See: The "Medkids Project" is seeking to obtain medical visas into the USA for orphans in need of significant medical care as a result of the LRA war in northern Uganda.

I have no immediate answers to the significant needs of the many orphans in Uganda and the surrounding areas. I do however, have a willing heart, open to walking by faith to seek out the Lord's will for His precious orphans here and to be open to His leading toward seeking solutions toward easing the severity of their plight. It is my desire to share God's wonderful love with them and to help ease their burden in any way that I can. I pray for wisdom and for Christ's leading me through the power of the Holy Spirit every step of the way.

I will be flying this time on Emirates Air into Dubai and then from Dubai into Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and from there into Entebbe, Uganda finally arriving on August 3rd. From there I head into Kampala to meet with friends there and to pick up my local cell phone and make final arrangements for picking up my vehicle for driving up to Gulu. I was planning on driving to Gulu myself but my dear friend Michael Ssansa Musoke has offered to escort me up to Gulu much to my delight as it will be great to spend some time with him on the drive.

I will be spending a week in Gulu visiting with Rev. Otto Naptali and his team and with other government and community leaders to get a better assessment of their situation and their needs. We are looking forward to connecting with the Invisible Children team in their Gulu office while we are there.

From Gulu I will be traveling back down to Jinja to visit with our good friends Abraham and Vincent and our friends at Children of Grace and then on to Mukono to visit with the Rev. Solomon Ottawa at the Fairway School & Orphanage which we sponsor. I will also be meeting in Mukono with our Habitat for Humanity homeowners, Frank & Agnus and their family, from our last visit there in 2007 when we assisted in the building of their Habitat home.

Finally back to Kampala for a couple of days to meet with the local USA embassy and other friends in and around Kampala. I return to the States on August 15th.

I will be posting updates to this blog along the way to keep those interested updated as to my whereabouts and happenings as we move throughout Uganda on this trip. Your prayers throughout are greatly appreciated!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Bible verses regarding orphans

Lam 5:3
We have become fatherless orphans; our mothers have become widows.
Joh 14:18
“I will not abandon you as orphans, I will come to you.
Job 22:9
you sent widows away empty-handed, and the arms 1 of the orphans you crushed.
Jer 49:11
Leave your orphans behind and I will keep them alive. Your widows too can depend on me.”
Exo 22:22
“You must not afflict any widow or orphan.
Jam 1:27
Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their misfortune and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
Job 24:3
They drive away the orphan’s donkey; they take the widow’s ox as a pledge.
Pro 23:10
Do not move an ancient boundary stone, or take over the fields of the fatherless,
Job 31:17
If I ate my morsel of bread myself, and did not share any of it with orphans,
Psa 94:6
They kill the widow and the one residing outside his native land, and they murder the fatherless.
Psa 109:9
May his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow!
Deu 16:14
You are to rejoice in your festival, you, your son, your daughter, your male and female slaves, the Levites, the resident foreigners, the orphans, and the widows who are in your villages.
Isa 10:2
to keep the poor from getting fair treatment, and to deprive the oppressed among my people of justice, so they can steal what widows own, and loot what belongs to orphans.
Psa 10:18
You defend the fatherless and oppressed, so that mere mortals may no longer terrorize them.
Psa 68:5
He is a father to the fatherless and an advocate for widows. God rules from his holy palace. Isa 9:17
So the sovereign master was not pleased with their young men, he took no pity on their orphans and widows; for the whole nation was godless and did wicked things, every mouth was speaking disgraceful words. Despite all this, his anger does not subside, and his hand is ready to strike again.
Psa 10:14
You have taken notice, for you always see one who inflicts pain and suffering. The unfortunate victim entrusts his cause to you; you deliver the fatherless.
Exo 22:24
and my anger will burn and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives will be widows and your children will be fatherless.
Deu 10:18
who justly treats the orphan and widow, and who loves resident foreigners, giving them food and clothing.
Deu 24:17
You must not pervert justice due a resident foreigner or an orphan, or take a widow’s garment as security for a loan.
Psa 146:9
The Lord protects those residing outside their native land; he lifts up the fatherless and the widow, but he opposes the wicked.
Eze 22:7
They have treated father and mother with contempt within you; they have oppressed the foreigner among you; they have wronged the orphan and the widow within you.
Zec 7:10
You must not oppress the widow, the orphan, the foreigner, or the poor, nor should anyone secretly plot evil against his fellow human being.
Job 6:27
Yes, you would gamble for the fatherless, and auction off your friend.
Mal 3:5
“I will come to you in judgment. I will be quick to testify against those who practice divination, those who commit adultery, those who break promises, and those who exploit workers, widows, and orphans, who refuse to help the immigrant and in this way show they do not fear me,” says the Lord who rules over all.
Jer 5:28
That is how they have grown fat and sleek. There is no limit to the evil things they do. They do not plead the cause of the fatherless in such a way as to win it. They do not defend the rights of the poor.
Jer 7:6
Stop oppressing foreigners who live in your land, children who have lost their fathers, and women who have lost their husbands. Stop killing innocent people in this land. Stop paying allegiance to other gods. That will only bring about your ruin.
Job 29:12
for I rescued the poor who cried out for help, and the orphan who had no one to assist him;
Job 31:18
but from my youth I raised the orphan like a father, and from my mother’s womb I guided the widow!
Psa 109:12
May no one show him kindness! May no one have compassion on his fatherless children!
Deu 14:29
Then the Levites (because they have no allotment or inheritance with you), the resident foreigners, the orphans, and the widows of your villages may come and eat their fill so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work you do.
Deu 16:11
You shall rejoice before him – you, your son, your daughter, your male and female slaves, the Levites in your villages, the resident foreigners, the orphans, and the widows among you – in the place where the Lord chooses to locate his name.
Deu 26:12
When you finish tithing all your income in the third year (the year of tithing), you must give it to the Levites, the resident foreigners, the orphans, and the widows so that they may eat to their satisfaction in your villages.
Deu 26:13
Then you shall say before the Lord your God, “I have removed the sacred offering from my house and given it to the Levites, the resident foreigners, the orphans, and the widows just as you have commanded me. I have not violated or forgotten your commandments.
Deu 24:21
When you gather the grapes of your vineyard you must not do so a second time; they should go to the resident foreigner, orphan, and widow.
Deu 27:19
‘Cursed is the one who perverts justice for the resident foreigner, the orphan, and the widow.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’
Jer 22:3
The Lord says, “Do what is just and right. Deliver those who have been robbed from those who oppress them. Do not exploit or mistreat foreigners who live in your land, children who have no fathers, or widows. Do not kill innocent people in this land.
Deu 24:20
When you beat your olive tree you must not repeat the procedure; the remaining olives belong to the resident foreigner, orphan, and widow.
Isa 1:23
Your officials are rebels, they associate with thieves. All of them love bribery, and look for payoffs. They do not take up the cause of the orphan, or defend the rights of the widow.
Deu 24:19
Whenever you reap your harvest in your field and leave some unraked grain there, you must not return to get it; it should go to the resident foreigner, orphan, and widow so that the Lord your God may bless all the work you do.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Orphan Statistics

It was estimated in a recent UNICEF report that there are between 143 million and 210 million orphans worldwide. The current population of Russia is about 141 million...
Every day 5,760 more children become orphans in this world...
2,102,400 more children become orphans every year in Africa alone...
Every 15 seconds, another child in Africa becomes an AIDS orphan...
There are an estimated 18 million AIDS orphans in Sub-Saharan Africa which is a number higher than the total of every under-eighteen year old in Canada, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Ireland combined...
8 out of 10 children orphaned by AIDS lives in sub-saharan Africa...
Approximately 250,000 children are adopted annually, but…
Each year 14, 505, 000 children grow up as orphans and age out of the system by age sixteen.
Each day 38,493 orphans age out or every 2.2 seconds another orphan ages out with no family to belong to and no place to call home...
In Russia and the Ukraine, studies have shown that 10% – 15% of these children commit sucide before they reach age eighteen...
These studies also show that 60% of the girls become prostitutes and 70% of the boys become hardened criminals...
Another Russian study reported that of the 15,000 orphans aging out of state-run institutions every year, 10% committed suicide, 5,000 were unemployed, 6,000 were homeless and 3,000 were in prison within three years…