Tag Archives: War

In the Shoes of a Child Soldier

14 Jul

Blog post by Caroline M., Team Ethiopia 2012

Pause for a minute.  Put yourself in the shoes of a child soldier.

You are ten years old. An army comes to your home, puts a gun in your hands and tells you to shoot your family.  If you don’t do it, they will shoot you. After being forced to kill the ones you love, you leave with them to become apart of their army. Day in and day out you are forced to kill and rape innocent people only to hold on to your own life.  You participate in combat, lay mines and explosives, spy, act as decoys and are exposed to sexual slavery. You witness violent deaths and mutilations. You are brainwashed to do nothing but kill and destroy. This is how approximately 300,000 child soldiers live everyday.

Child soldiers are boys and girls who fight in adult wars, missing out on the safe childhood that many of us take for granted.  In 2004, as much as 100,000 children were actively involved in armed conflict in Africa.  These soldiers can be as young as seven.  Below are some alarming statistics.

80% of children aged 8 to 13 in Sierre Leone had suffered the death of a close family member.

74% saw somebody being killed or injured with machetes.

68% saw somebody being burned to death or tortured.

10% of girls have been gang raped.

66% have been in a situation where they expected to die.

Witnessing your parents death, being separated from your family and being forced to participate in violent acts can leave a child scarred.  This may lead to physical and psychological problems such as: general poor health, physical abuse or deprivation, drug addiction, sexual abuse, exploitation and unwanted pregnancy, serious war injuries and mental and emotional trauma.

You can’t pretend this doesn’t exist.  So what are you gonna do?  Spread the word.  Everyone needs to know about this horrible reality.

Caroline resides in Pennsylvania and will be serving with Journey117 this month on Team Ethiopia.  

Serve with Journey 117: Iraq 2012

22 Feb

Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. – Isaiah 1:17

This verse, penned in Hebrew Scripture as early as 740 BC, speaks to God’s heart for the orphan and commands us as believers to take action on their behalf. The charge wasn’t given to government authorities, non-profits or celebrities….it was spoken to the CHURCH, to believers of the faith. These commands still ring true today as we see these statements repeated over and over in the Old and New Testament. And this command is the heartbeat and foundation of a program we call Journey 117, a ministry of World Orphans that seeks to empower and equip believers to live out this calling in their own lives.

Now, in light of this truth, we are delighted to present an opportunity for believers to get on board with World Orphans this summer to incorporate all of these things into one trip….to seek justice and encourage the oppressed, to defend the orphan and care for widows, to learn to do right.

We are organizing a Journey team to serve in Iraq in the Kurdistan region to assist our in-country staff that is working to care for orphans and widows. World Orphans has helped to build a community center called the Refuge that is being used to host events for the people in this region, most of which are displaced peoples that have migrated north to escape the war-torn regions in other areas of Iraq.

This area where the Refuge is located is called the Freedom Martyr’s Village and was established by the Kurdistan Regional Government to provide a safe haven for families whose relatives died in the war. Since adoption is prohibited and “outsiders” are not allowed to care for orphans, this facility allows our staff and teams to practically serve a desperate, hurting community with grace and love.

Would you consider joining our Journey 117 team this summer to help serve the orphans and widows in this community? Our team will use the community center to relationally engage the children by organizing VBS-style activities, sports and recreational games, arts and crafts, and music and drama, to name a few.  We are praying that God brings a variety of people to join this team, those with unique gifts and abilities, to help us organize a well-rounded outreach program for this community. The team will also visit nearby orphanages to gain a better understanding of what the realities are for the fatherless in this country.

We are so excited about what God is doing in the hearts and lives of people in Iraq and how He is equipping World Orphans to serve these people in such a real, practical way! We invite you to join us this summer as we extend His love and grace to the people in the Freedom Martyr’s Village.

If you would like to apply for this team or wish to contact us with questions, please visit www.journey117.org.

Freedom Martyr’s Village
The Refuge – almost complete!!