I am about to step onto my soapbox. So this may be a bit long. Consider yourself warned.
So as many of you may be aware there has been an incredible media campaign launched by Invisible Children to make Joseph Kony (you can read about his atrocities against humanity here) famous in 2012 and thereby encourage policymakers around the globe to put an end to the terror he has inflicted upon the people, particularly the children, of Uganda.
I personally posted a link on my Facebook page to the Invisible Children Video (you can watch it here – just scroll to the bottom of the page) and have chosen to support their Kony 2012 Campaign. There has been a firestorm of controversy over whether we (the people) should support their efforts, or not. Some question the fiscal practices of them as an organization. (I’m sure you’ve seen links to facecrooks and other like media outlets)
This blog is not about defending any one organization. This blog is about giving voice to the voiceless. The children of Uganda. So with that understanding here are my two cents…
So here’s the thing – regardless of what you think about Invisible Chilren – all of us can agree that Joseph Kony must be stopped IMMEDIATELY. This is a non-issue. A truth we can all universally accept.
So my challenge to you is this – DO SOMETHING. If you don’t agree with the way that Invisible Children is approaching the issue – that’s fine. There are lots of other organizations doing great things to support the children of Uganda.
Unfortunately I knew little about any of this until last year when my dear friend Stephanie Adamec (she’s 17 and is already doing HUGE things to change the world) began to open my eyes. Steph was selected to go on a mission trip (of sorts) to visit the UNIFAT schools in Uganda through a student led organization she is heavily involved in called Unified for UNIFAT (you can check out their mission by clicking here).
Stephanie used her voice to make my husband and I aware of what is happening a world away to THOUSANDS of children. She sat down with us and showed us HUNDREDS of pictures of children she met and served at the school and told us each of their stories. She and her family later hosted Abitimo Odongkara, the amazing woman who founded the school, for a visit while she was in America and invited us to meet her. I can tell you this – if I live to be half the woman that Abitimo is I will be a force to be reckoned with. She witnessed these atrocities and she is DOING SOMETHING.
I would likely have never known about the horrible crimes of Joseph Kony had Steph not taken the time to tell me their stories. She shared her heart with my husband and I and invited us to DO SOMETHING.
You likely may not have known about any of this if the people at Invisible Children had not launched a full fledged media campaign to get all of us tweeting, chatting, facebooking, and talking about it. So regardless of how you feel about the manner in which they are pursuing their goal – you must respect it’s effectiveness to bring awareness. And awareness is where it all begins. If we don’t know we can’t act.
As a ministry leader I have personally walked through experiences where my team and I were working on initiatives to serve and bless people affected by disabilities. This is a social justice issue that is very near and dear to my heart; one I feel called to bring awareness to with every fiber of my being. I would never ask you to agree with every approach I may take to this ministry, but I will always implore you to care. To be involved. TO DO SOMETHING.
We were often heavily criticized for our outreaches. I can’t tell you how many emails and calls I have received over the years telling me that I shouldn’t be hosting the Prom because they disagreed with our ministry approach. Or that we should run our respite outreaches differently because we did not present a gospel message. I even had one person accuse me of not being “inclusive” because I helped launch a ministry that created a small group experience for adults with intellectual disabilities. They told me I was a “fraud” because I wasn’t “practicing what I was preaching”. The woman told me – “You (Harmony) are separating out the people with disabilities”. What was I doing? I was making sure that individuals with intellectual disability had the dignity of an opportunity to hear the gospel presented to them in a relevant format. (I wouldn’t send bibles printed in German to the people of China. They wouldn’t be a relevant ministry tool. This was a relevant ministry tool creating the “least restrictive environment” for the people I care so deeply for.)
But here’s the thing – My team and I were being obedient to the call that God had placed on our hearts to DO SOMETHING. My good friend Sean Michael Murphy (he’s fantastic – seriously) used to always say “with all due respect I prefer my way of DOING SOMETHING to your way of DOING NOTHING”. (To be fair – Sean always said he was quoting some other equally brilliant guy but he couldn’t remember his name. But you get the idea.)
So the point of this long rambling blog is this. I am NOT asking you to agree with any one organization’s approach to stopping Joseph Kony.
I AM asking you to DO SOMETHING to “free the prisoners” and “release the oppressed” children of Uganda. (hmm….sounds a bit biblical to me – check this out from Luke 4:18-19)
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”[f]
The world is a very big place filled with lots of injustices. We can all agree – that’s not okay. So my challenge to you is this – certainly check out the documentary that Invisible Children posted. Yes, it’s 30 minutes – but I promise you this – YOU WILL BE GLAD YOU DID. I think by the end of their very well done video you will agree – these kids deserve better. They need a voice. Yours AND mine. We need to DO SOMETHING.
So what are you going to DO?
For more information about Invisible Children visit www.invisiblechildren.com
For more information about Unified for UNIFAT visit www.unifiedforunifat.com
(my sweet friend Steph would be THRILLED to get you involved.)
Here’s to Changing the World…..