From Children of War to Children of Peace

There is something about finding someone who shares your passion. Something about the non stop talking. The completing each others sentences. The "getting it" not because of hearing their words, but because you feel their spirit. I find that rare. I found that in Africa. In Jane.

Her face comes alive when she talks about the dreams of rehabilitation for the children tortured and wounded by the LRA in Northern Uganda, Congo, CAR, Sudan. True Rehabilitation. Not just emotionally, but physically and spiritually. With skills training, education, reintegration, and advocacy work. As we talked (for hours) we realized that our hearts saw through the same eyes in what these children needed. We realized we had similar stories. We realized that God had brought us together.

Amazing doesn't begin to describe her. She has given her all in all for the calling God has placed in her soul. She knows how to teach survival because she has survived. And continues to. And will... continue to.

As the eXile team sat around the table a few days later with the board of Children of Peace.... born out of the film Children of War (2010 Winner of the Cinema for Peace Justice Award in Berlin), we were honored. Who knew such collaboration would be born out of a connection this time last year? 

The history of bringing us all together goes something like this:

Miss Lisa Dougan from Resolve: "Bethany, you have to see this film. It tells the story of rehabilitation of former child soldiers in Uganda" Lisa connects me with Mr. Bryan Single who lives in Los Angeles.

Finally getting to talk on my way home from a road trip, I pull over. Bryan and I talk for about an hour.

"We would love to screen your film in Nashville and we'd love for you to come"

Finding out Bryan's parents, oddly, live right outside of Nashville, we make plans.

He comes. We screen the film. Heart connection. The UN has the World Premiere of the film in NY. I go. I meet Jane - trauma counselor of a well known Rehabilitation Center in Lira, Uganda. She leads the viewer through the story of the children's healing in the film. She speaks after the UN screening in NY of her dreams of holistic rehabilitation for the children. Addressing their physical, emotional, educational, spiritual, and relational needs - all lead by local leaders. I knew we had the same dream.

Jane and I begin corresponding by email. Bryan and I start dreaming of how we can all work together.

Fast forward 8 months, and I am in the middle of Jane's home in Lira, Uganda. We are holding sick babies together, finding food for orphanages, and talking about blogs, logos, and how God can use our hearts and visions to collaborate a 10 year plan to develop a program to change the face of a nation. Or two. Or three.

The team sits around the table with some amazing leaders. Sharing the same hearts. Praying the same prayer. The prayer of leading them back to life again. To give them back what was stolen from them in war. So they can become Children of Peace rather than Children of War.

It will be a long journey and lots of support funds to be raised and prayers to be spoken. But we will get there.

"We can all do more together" said the President of the Board of Children of Peace.

Yes we can. And we will.