My Friend Geoffrey

This is the story of my new friend Geoffrey. June 7th, 2000. Geoffrey was attending Senior One at his school about five kilometers outside of Lira, Uganda. He was fifteen years old. One night, a group of LRA soldiers broke into the boys dorm at the school and arrested Geoffrey as well as thirty-eight others. They layed on their stomachs and were tied behind their backs. They were assembled along a roadside and were addressed by someone who told them they may be disturbed bu Ugandan forces. As they made their way through the bush they captured others as well. The way Geoffrey described life in the bush was very interesting because of the way that they were forced to live. They would survive by moving from place to place and stealing whatever they needed. Whether it be cattle, crops, women or any other sort of food. They would raid properties and burn it to the ground and then kill those staying there. As well as raping innocent women.

Although Geoffrey was with the LRA for three years, he was never forced to kill anyone. Although, he would fake beat those he was ordered to hurt but if you were found to be faking a murder or beating, you were automatically killed. God’s grace was definitely upon Geoffrey during his time in the LRA. He said that it was difficult to have faith while being with the LRA because he had to keep his faith hidden but he knew that God had a purpose for his life.

Geoffreys position while in the LRA was an escort, meaning he would make sure that new abductees wouldn’t escape. His other jobs consisted of fetching water and cassava (potato like veggie) for commanding officers as well as carrying injured enemy soldiers after fire fights with the UPDF. He said that they were hard to carry because of the resistance they would give as he tried to carry them.

When Geoffrey escaped, he was fetching water for his commanders. As he got to the watering hole he noticed nobody was around. So, he through down his guns and took off his uniform and began to crawl through the bush. It took him four days to find the UPDF barracks where they transported him to Lira. He stayed in Lira five days where he received some counseling.

When Geoffrey returned home to his family he was welcomed warmly by his father as they reunited with eachother after his three years of being gone with the LRA. Shortly after arriving home he was told that his mother had died of cancer while he was gone but had given birth to triplets. Hearing the news of his mother passing was very hard for him because he and his mother were very close and he could talk about anything with each other. Geoffrey also found out after returning home that a lot of his friends in the village had died as well, so many of his peers were gone.

In 2004, he returned back to school at a vocational school where he began to learn building. It took him three years to become a junior level builder. In that time and up to now he has been supporting his three younger siblings. Early on after returning he would make bricks and sell them to raise money for school fees. He also roasted maize and mixed concrete to support his three younger siblings who are now in P3. Geoffrey us currently working as a builder as well as a teacher while still caring for his siblings in the village, even though he lives in Lira.

Geoffrey is an incredible example of God’s faithfulness and strength. He was put in unbelieveable situations but remained humble even in those troubling times. The fact that he remained faithful after being abducted is crazy by itself! He is the perfect example of Hebrews 11. I think of one part of in verse 37 & 38 that I think attests to Geoffrey’s story perfectly. – 37 They were stoned, they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins, and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated – THE WORLD WAS NOT WORTHY OF THEM. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. Geoffreys story of faith and courage is incredible and I hope you find it encouraging and inspring as well.

Thanks everyone for reading! God bless!

His Name is Nelson

Now, I shared Nelson’s story on my blog when I was in Africa but I’d like to share it on this one as well. Here’s his story.

His name is Nelson and he was a child soldier in the LRA. If you don’t know what that is, visit http://www.invisiblechildren.com to find out more about what that is. Anyways, the story of his escape is truly inspiring and heartbreaking at the same time. He escaped from the LRA just before they were getting ready to kill him. His journey after that initial escape was even crazier. Here it is in the most condensed form possible.

So, when Nelson was abducted he was 16. He was held by the LRA for 2 years and 9 months. The night he was abducted the LRA also abducted 7 of Nelsons friends, and only 2 of them were still alive at the point of his escape. His best friend was killed on the first day they were abducted because of his attempt to escape. The LRA cut his body up and put it on a stick to example what would happen to those who tried to escape. The night of Nelsons escape the LRA was planning to kill him. They fed him his “last meal” then went off to fish. At that point Nelson made his escape on 4 days without food or water. He ran and ran and even hid in trees as his captors walked underneath him in hiding multiple times. After coming out of hiding he made his way to a mountain where he stayed for a bit. Then, after a few more encounters and various dangerous scenarios, he met a woman who took him to an army station where they relocated him to Gulu, Uganda which is about 100km from Lira. There they made a radio announcement which Nelsons mother heard. That is where she reunited with Nelson almost 3 years after his abduction. Nelson was forced to kill and was beaten and tortured but all the while kept faith in God that he would return and be free.

Now, Nelson is in school and is aspiring to finish. He has 3 more years before he can enter University, but he lacks funds to do so. Nelson is the oldest child of 8 and aspires to be a pilot. He is an incredible person and has inspired me greatly. My team is still trying to plan how exactly we can help our friend but we ask that you be praying for wisdom and creativity regarding this matter. I hope that this story has touched you and that you would share it as well in order to raise awareness about this ongoing issue. Nelson has been back for 6 years and what he went through is still happening to many innocent people in Africa. Thank you for reading. God Bless!

Jordan Scott

The Passport. The real meaning of team.

Hey everyone. This post will mostly for the duration of this blog, kind of, sort of brag on my team that I went to Africa with. They were that cool. Our team was comprised of 11 women and 2 dudes and I was one of the 2 dudes. If you didn’t guess. A team of 13 brave souls prepared….unprepared to go into the heart of Northern Uganda and experience things we didn’t even dream of happening. No matter how much we prepared ourselves for this trip, not a single drop of it…at least for me got me ready for what and who I was going to encounter.

Our team was an awesome mixture of toughness, rawness, softness and pure bread faithful people. Each one of us had a little bit of each quality. I think those qualities got us through our four months in Uganda strictly based on sanity but what got us through to each other was our willingness to be open with one another. Not one person from my point of view ever shied away from challenging a fellow team member to be better nor did they shy away from encouraging one another in what they were already doing great.

Now, having played four years of High School basketball. I know the importance of that encouragement, not only when when your down but also when your doing well. That encouragement when your on a hot streak keeps you thinking “I got this, I can do this”. That’s exactly what my team in Uganda did. Not just on occasion but throughout the entire four months of our time in Northern Uganda. Which speaks a true testament to the kind of people they are and what God has molded them into. They were such great friends not only to me but to everyone who they came in contact with. People yelling “mzungu” (white person) on the street or our closest Ugandan friends. They were always willing to lend a hand, a ear, or a heart. They loved each other continuously and loved the people of Lira, Uganda continuously throughout the entire four months there. These people are a great group. They taught me and many others in Lira so much throughout our time in Uganda about lots of things…many things. But, most importantly they showed me what it really means to live like Christ. And, to show that love to everyone around me. Not to be ashamed of what other people think when your dancing in the middle of the street or when your talking to someone that others think should be ignored. The love of God shined through and through on the daily with this team and they will always be some of my closest friends. Love you all so much Aly, Ally, Darby, Logan, Brittany, John, Marissa, Mary, Makyla, Sarah, Carrie-Ann and Somer. You better have read this.

At the source of the Nile

Thank you all for reading and I hope that this post did a good job of describing who this team was.

Jordan

I’m Coming Home, I am Home

So I have been back in the states a few days now. I have seen a few of you people and others I have not got the chance to share stories with yet. But, we will. Don’t worry.

Let me just start out by telling those of you who don’t know what I did for the past few months of my life exactly what I’ve been up to. In January, I left on a four month mission trip to Uganda, Africa with a group of 13 strangers I met through the organization we were going with. Adventures in Missions based in Gainesville, GA. Yeah. It was crazy. Best experience of my life and some of the best friends I have ever made. I’m the kind of person who has a lot of best friends though, so no jealousy anyone! So, we were there in Northern Uganda for four months. We made many friends and had many experiences, such as being in weddings (This guy!) and staying in the village out in huts. So many more things happened but those are some of the appealing ones.

Yeah so I spent the last four months of my life in Africa. The love I have for it now after doing life there is indescribable. I had a love for the people there who are suffering and poor before my excursion but now that I have been there and have lived with those very people I saw in videos, read about in articles, books and magazines and saw photos of. That love…that love is at a whole new level. I wish I could explain to people when they ask what it was like to be there and to be immersed in such a place as that for such a long period of time but the words I come up with don’t even begin to do it justice. It was such a great place. A few people have asked me what my favorite part was and I just don’t have one. Obviously, right? It’s Africa. But, if I could generalize a favorite part. I would say my favorite part of the entire experience is “The People”. That meaning the Ugandans, the team I was a part of and our friends there who aren’t African. Other white people who live there.

I’ll talk about the Ugandan people this post. They are incredible. Truly. That word doesn’t even describe them. They are the most welcoming and hospitable and genuine people I think that are on this planet. I’ve only been to Uganda and Kenya so that is loosely put but I believe it so far. The country of Uganda has been devastated by 25 years of war. 25 years. That’s a mighty long time. But, they are still so inviting and helping not only towards me (a white celeb) but each other as well. It’s amazing, they live on so very little but are so giving still with their possessions and the little money they do have. Most recently, many people know that they have been affected by the LRA. Uganda is the country in which it started and no longer has the main threats of the LRA evident there but people are still being affected. Primarily by HIV. But also emotionally as well. Who wouldn’t be? If you don’t know what the LRA is or what they are causing across east Africa. Check Invisible Children out. Read, Watch and listen to what the LRA is doing to east Africa. Despite all this hurt and pain they have gone through, they are still wonderful people. Still driven for a better life for themselves and focused so desperately on surviving. To say that to be living there with them and learning from them was inspiring would be a drastic understatement. If you ever have the opportunity to be a part of a trip there, I highly recommend you go. And, when you go be prepared to be loved in a way you didn’t think was possible and then be prepared for it to rub off on you like an elmers gluestick. Seriously.

When I got to Uganda, I had a serious dose of culture shock. But, the culture shock I got when I landed in the states four months late was ten million times worse and it’s still bothering me. Maybe, just maybe that’s how I know that I’ve been changed. The pure blooded consumerism that swallows our country is unbelievable to me and I’m just as guilty as the next person. It’s almost like an addiction for us. If we don’t have bigger, better, faster, stronger all the time. We get withdraws and a headache. America is like a pack of cigs to me. It taste terrible but you need more and more so you don’t go crazy. Needless to say I am trying to get used to this culture again. Maybe it takes time to get used to it again. But, it’s not something I ever want to get used to again. Now, I know we do have some good in us (americans). I saw non-profits based in America all over Uganda. So that encouraged me, but we need more people to buy into the idea of “less is more”. Meaning that the less “stuff” you have and the more you give to those who desperately need it. Doesn’t have to be Ugandans, could be the homeless guy down the street. But, the more of yourself that you give the more happy you become. It seems like simple logic to me but it’s still so difficult for us as Americans. Myself included.

So, next post I guess I’ll elaborate more on how awesome my team was and how legit they are.

Thanks for reading!

Jordan Scott