CHRF has been working in Uganda funding clinics, schools and orphanages for years but has rarely come across a miracle like the one that our leader in Kampala, Reverend Emma, has just shared with us.
Meet Okello, a 6-year-old boy who has just come to live at the orphanage and attend school. Okello is the son of Patrick who was abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) when he was fifteen years old. The abducted teenager was forced into gruesome atrocities all around his country.
Patrick was abducted together with his father (Okello’s grand father) when they were working in their own home garden. Okello’s grandfather was killed murdered shortly after being abducted because he was too old to have any use for the LRA. Patrick however, young and energetic, was spared. But many would choose death over what was to come as a captive with the LRA…
Patrick was tortured beyond recognition, many times he came close to death, many times he wished he had met death. He had to fulfill all the duties as a soldier: to kill during their expeditions, loot property and engage in all the other infamous atrocities of the LRA. Patrick shared that during one of the raids he came back to his senses. After watching his fellow tribesmen massacred, pregnant women being raped and then cut open was more a seizing wake-up call to Patrick.
Finally Government forces came pursued Patrick’s LRA squad. During a heavy gun battle Patrick ran to the Government forces and surrendered himself, barely escaping the bullets of his former LRA captors.
Patrick was diagnosed by the military doctors as healthy and after being re-habilitated he was allowed to return back to his former village where he had not set foot in years since him and his father had been stolen from their own garden.
But this story does not end there. Patrick found a wife and together they had two children forming an almost normal family. But sure enough not before long the LRA came to town again.
This time Patrick narrowly escaped his former captors, but to his surprise, his village didn’t believe that this was any chance of luck or coincidence. Rumors began to spread like wildfire that Patrick was a spy for the LRA and informing them about the vulnerabilities of their village and the others nearby. Soon, outraged with hatred, the village demanded his death. His wife fled with her daughter but left the helpless 5 year-old Okello behind.
Patrick was able to escape death yet again, but this time from the hands of his own people. His son, our Okello, was very ill however and needed medical attention. After wandering for days in the Bush Patrick reached the main road to Kampala (the countries capital) and was able to find proper care for Okello.
As he rode into Kampala in the back of a truck with his son on his lap Patrick began to cry. All of the innocent men, women and children that he been killed by his LRA squad came to his mind. Images of the victims dying and screaming in pain came to his mind. After all of these destroyed villages and lost lives how could anyone ever trust him again?
Patrick could not find a job and how no way of feeding Okello. His son was becoming malnourished and would not live long under these conditions. Patrick would not let his son die and one day he came to door of CHRF’s project in Kampala.
After meeting Reverend Emma he relayed his story, all the while weeping and asking if God could ever forgive him. After working together for many months Patrick has found his forgiveness through serving others. Okello, his handsome son, now attends and lives at the school.
Thanks to the gracious donors of CHRF miracles like this can happen everyday around the world.