~ ~ where some see a hopeless end, others see an endless hope ~ ~

Friday, March 09, 2012

#the Challenge 2012

…. I keep talking about the trip I’m taking to Rwanda in May.  And this Kony thing couldn’t have been more opportune to rise up now.  People are on fire.  The passion is unreal.  The awareness and hype that’s being generated is so inspirational……. But.  These children are STILL living out the trauma they faced during all the wars they’ve seen.  Their nightmares still linger.  They’ve never had the opportunity for therapy.  They don’t have a teddy bear to squeeze.  They don’t have a mother’s hug.  They don’t have the opportunity TO HEAL.

THAT is why I want to bring music to them. A form of expression, yes…. But a form of HEALING, more.

Think how you react to a certain song on the radio. Think how certain lyrics make you just feel better about your day. When you lose yourself in playing an instrument….

For one minute, if I can help ONE CHILD forget about the horrendous things he’s seen and smile because he’s bangin on a drum---then I hope I’ve done something.

An amazing photographer and blogger, Billy Pope (With whom I pray to have the honor of traveling with someday) has shared with us his experiences at the Orphanage we will be visiting in Rwanda:

The attention around the KONY 2012 movement is truly overwhelming. The support of people who’ve never even heard of him has been uplifting. The way our nation has grabbed on, reached out, and are being encouraged to Act is so satisfying…

And it’s NOW that people are on fire for causes around the world that people feel inclined to answer their calling.

But I hope people are doing it for the right reasons.

This isn’t an issue to help with just to put it on your resume. This isn’t a problem that can be solved just by posting another video on your blog or facebook. Events and rallies will be held by people all over the country to bring awareness to KONY, and while I fully support and encourage people to do so… I also pray their hearts are in it for the right reasons.

and NOT to win the Congeniality award by their sororities.

This campaign has SUCH a near and dear place in my heart. These are places I VISITED. These are children I’ve HUGGED. I’ve heard their stories and wiped their tears. I told them I’d be their sister, their mother, their friend. Because their childhoods were robbed from them the day they had to murder their parents. Their entire livelihood was taken away the day they had to watch their brother rape their sister...

I LOVE how fast Invisible Children’s video went viral and the hype it’s creating, PLEASE DON’T GET ME WRONG or take me out of context.  But most people are just reposting it cuz “it’s the cool thing to do”.    They want to be associated with a cause, but then don’t do anything about it.

I’m going back in May to this same area and while it scares me to death, these children need to be reminded they are not forgotten, they are loved, and what they did while in the LRA, or how the Genocide has affected them, has been forgiven and that God has a better plan for their lives.

I couldn’t have been more proud of my brother when he said to me today, “One day I wanna help you help them and actually make a difference in their lives instead of feeling sorry for their lives.”  THAT’S what it’s all about.  Getting UP, rising to the challenge, and MAKING a difference.  Not feeling sorry for them.  HELPING THEM.  LOVING THEM.

AFTER you watch the film.  AFTER you repost the film.  AFTER you tag your best friends’ brother in film….. WHAT THEN?

What’s next?

My challenge to you this month of March is to ACT.

It may look different to everyone.

  • Maybe you can help me GET TO RWANDA by donating to my trip here:  

(And no, you don’t HAVE to be all musical to come!)

  • Maybe you can help bring more awareness to the KONY project by supporting Invisible Children here:

  • Maybe you can actually help treat and bring healing to these children by going on a trip with our partner agency, eXile international here: 

Whatever it looks like for you…. I CHALLENGE YOU TO ACT.

Be something more.

photo courtesy of Billy Pope @ Billy Pope Photography

"We spent a day and a half at the Imbabazi Orphanage near Gisenyi, Rwanda and it was a stark contrast to what you would imagine an orphanage being. Don’t get me wrong it was still an orphanage full of teenage children orphaned due to the genocide that occurred in 1994. Over 850,000 people were murdered in less than four months with some estimates being over 1,000,000. Thanks to Roz Carr the founder of the Imbabazi Orphanage, over 400-orphaned children have been taken in and loved over the past 17 years. During our time there we connected with many of the orphans and heard the dreams of their hearts and the concerns of the their futures. The contrast that we noticed in this orphanage compared to others we visited was that they had hope and dreams. Some of them were attending trade schools and other forms of higher education. It was amazing to see a positive situation in place we consider to be hopeless.
When you are in Africa you will hear voices and music that reaches down into you heart and stirs your spirit. That is what happened to me at Imbabazi. While hanging around with a group of the orphans on the first day they started playing the guitar and singing and I was surprised that I knew the tune… Bob Marley’s “One Love/People Get Ready”. I just listened and thought WOW that is an amazing sound. So, I asked what music they like to sing and they said, “Worship music.” As they started to play some worship music in Kinyarwanda, it was as if I understood every word. It was a moment that I will never forget. They sang half a dozen songs and I was honored to be able to record them.”
-BILLY POPE, mission trip team leader & photographer

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