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Danger! Hatari!

Street kids are not dangerous, no, street kids live in a world of danger.

We had another boy shot by police officers a couple of nights ago. He was doing nothing, absolutely nothing wrong and he was shot in the leg for it. A couple nights later he got very, very badly beaten again.

All of last week as well was too difficult for our street kids. The police and bad people continued to come in at night and beat the children up, steal from them, and arrest the older boys. One of the male social workers who works in Kisenyi (the primary slum the kids in our program live in) told us that we had reduced numbers of kids coming that week because there were many that were beaten so badly they couldnt travel the short distance over to our programs.

I will never forget the boys who came up to me just last week to tell me that they were hurting because they were beaten by police the night before. Joseph put his arm around my shoulder and told me as tears began to fall down his face that his body hurt because he kept getting beaten at night. When I told him that I prayed for him every night and that we were all working to do something about it he began to walk away sadly.

Last night I was talking to a volunteer who was staying in a babies home in Kampala. She told me that she had come to Uganda because her friend was telling her it was such a beautiful, safe and easy country.

That hit me so hard that I couldnt say anything (until I slowly recovered and tried my best to politely agree with her). How can one city have two worlds that are so completely different. How can a girl enter and leave a country and believe that it is a place that is purely safe, easy and beautiful?

I am having a hard time lately, I entered so easily into the world of street kids. Entered into their hearts, their lives, their dreams...

"I want to study."
"I want to have a home."
"I want to go home with you."
"I want to have a job."
"I want to be safe."
"I want to not be beaten at night."

And now I am beginning to enter so quickly into their pain, or at least a piece of it and it is not easy. Street children are so tough, stronger than any child, any person should ever have to be. You would never believe what they go through when you see their beautiful smiles, they still have found a way to grasp joy and love.

Street children are... children. They should be going to school and getting hugs when they enter the house. THey should not only be tucked in at night but have a bed or at least a blanket to sleep with.

And yet my children sleep in alleyways and gutters. They get sick because they eat from garbage cans. They get arrested and put in prison. They cant go a week without getting beaten. They cant keep a pair of shoes because they get stolen off their feet. They get abused in every way.

When I first came to Uganda several years ago I really wrestle with God about how He could allow people to suffer the way that they do. I dont struggle with that anymore. I have poured out my heart to Him, I know He listens. I know that He feels more pain than sweet Joseph when Joseph is kicked with police officers steel toed boots, when he is beaten by battons and hit with rocks. God has a heart that not only hears but resonates with street children, He is one. I see Jesus' face in my kids. I feel so close to God when I am with them. I feel so alive.

God has a heart for the suffering and He has given us a large call to do something about those that are opressed and abused. One day He will lift up all of those who have suffered injustice and He will punish those who have oppressed the orphan and the widow.

It hurts my heart yes, it actually breaks it but it is so worth it to enter into their worlds and to bring them light. To tell them about a God that loves them. To play with them. To lift them up and tell them that I love them and what they are so good at.

Micah 6:8
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 14th, 2009 04:32 pm (UTC)
our hearts break here too.
Oh Abby,
Many hugs for you, the other social workers and all the children. Please let the boys know that ALL of us are across the ocean praying for them. We are with all of you in spirit. Gloriously united in the body of Christ. Thanks for the Live Journal..giving the Boys a voice to the world will force humanity to notice....and then change.May the abusers know the love of Jesus & rebuke Satans' work. Prayers,Blessings,Peace. Kathleen
Jul. 14th, 2009 04:45 pm (UTC)

This is one of the best posts you have written. You have an amazing ability to put onto a computer such incredible thoughts and feelings. You not only write so intimately, but so articulately. I love reading your posts...it is one of the first things I check in the morning. Thanks for your openness; you demonstrate the kind of strength your boys do, allowing yourself to be vulnerable with anyone that reads this. It would be far too easy to hide your pain and emotions and wrestling thoughts but you don't...

I am so sorry that it has been so difficult for you lately. I know that you love these children so much, and when they get beaten you feel the pain physically in your body as well.

I think you were so accurate though when you described God as not only a God that listens, but a God that feels. I was thinking about how so many people do not know God in this way, they do not know a God who in a very real sense feels the pain they feel, and in fact feels it far stronger than we ourselves do. As you said, "I know that He feels more pain than sweet Joseph when Joseph is kicked with police officers steel toed boots, when he is beaten by battons and hit with rocks. God has a heart that not only hears but resonates with street children."

What a major impact this knowledge must make. How much easier must it be to trust in a God that feels and resonates with us, and isn't some removed supreme being judging from afar. Instead he is in the slums with the boys, being beaten too with sticks and steel-toed boots. This reminds me of Gary Haugen's comments in Terrify no More about God being present in the brothels with the abused children: "Some Christians are uncomfortable with the idea that God has been in a dark, repulsive brothel, that he could possibly be a witness to all the evil acts that take place there. Our investigators are not only comfortable with the idea – it’s the truth they count on." You, Abby, have such a real sense and understanding of your God, one that many, many people will never have, because you live it out daily.

I love you so much sister, and couldn't be more proud of you.

Jul. 14th, 2009 05:07 pm (UTC)
Ohhh Abby! My heart breaks with yours. May the Lord continue to fill you with His heart for His children and show you His plan for their protection. I love you my dear.
Jul. 14th, 2009 07:37 pm (UTC)
what a powerful powerful message. This makes me teary and so so sad just reading and thinking of the horrible abuse these sweet little boys go through. It makes me mad that anyone would want to hurt them. You are learning so much Abby your heart is so so so big! The Lords love and light shines from you and you are the boys window to Him. Thank you for being strong...I love that you "feel alive". That is so inspiring to everyone who is living for themselves to reflect and offer their life up to God, to give them direction and a sense of true living. you inspire that in me Abby. Love you sweet girl. We miss you dearly, but wouldn't want to bring you away.

Jul. 16th, 2009 02:42 pm (UTC)
My Dear Abigail,

I waited to read your post for a time that I could let myself feel, really feel. It is hard to even absorb your stories of your children, even in this one post. We can be so isolated from that kind of suffering. I felt your heart-break, and your love. It is so amazing to me that God designed healing to take place when someone else comes alongside and feels completely what we feel. You give those boys hope and healing everyday, just by your presence. They know that they are not alone. And when you post pictures and tell their stories we feel too, here so far away, their pain and strive to do what we can about it.

You are so right, God is there in them. I too, feel most close to God, when I am holding the pain of another. It is the perfect injustice, as you say, this treatment of God's best - and I am so sorry.

I am so proud of you Abigail, you embody Christian - you and the men and women you work with - God in skin. Thank you for being His hands and feet, thank you for being willing to feel deep pain for them - so that they will not be alone - so that they might see justice and mercy in their lifetimes.

"The prophet who has a dream,
let him tell a dream;
And she who has My word, let her speak My word faithfylly...
'Is not my word like a fire?', says the Lord,
'and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?'

Jer. 23:25-29

Dream the dreams Abby that God places into your heart. He speaks to you and gives you direction for the humanly "impossible" task of rescuing these children. We love you so much and know that we carry you every second in our hearts.

You are, and always will be our precious girl.

Jul. 16th, 2009 07:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you
Wow thank you for what you're doing in Kampala! I was just in Mbale for 2 weeks on my first mission trip. I fell in love with the kids in the village we worked in. Thank you so much for your heart for these street kids and I pray for encouragement in what you're doing! I'm hoping that God allows me to go back to Uganda in May 2010...
Jul. 18th, 2009 10:17 pm (UTC)
I love you so much. I so agree with what you were saying about God suffering with the boys. We don't have a Jesus who just sits there and watches when suffering is happening. HE is suffering with the victim. When the girl is raped, Jesus is raped. When the street boy is beaten, Jesus is beaten. He doesn't see abuse, He is abused. Right alongside them. I like the idea of when I'm crying knowing Jesus is sitting right next to me crying alongside of me. I'm sorry that your boys are hurting. I've woken up in tears every night pleading to God to protect them and send IJM to that place. I wake up every night and pray. I am sure that through your work, God will send an army. I for one, will tell their story to every single person who will listen. We will get awareness out and that is how God changes injustice. Through people. Thank you for being Jesus in skin to those boys. I love you. My heart hurts with yours. I am proud of you. He promises that it won't be in vain and I know we can believe that. I love you sister. Give the boys my love.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )



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