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Jay | Susan | Alex | Beth | Samantha
January 5, 2014 3:45 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

My butt hurts.  I’ve been in the airplane for over seven hours, and there’s no room in the 206 to move around.  I can feel the aluminum seat pan through the compressed foam of the seat cushion.  I have five passengers who I’m flying from Entebbe to Central African Republic to meet with a small group of ex-LRA who surrendered recently.  The ter20140103_090521rain beneath the airplane is mostly flat; there are a few gentle slopes, and it’s all covered with thick jungle.

Cabin secure, fuel on fullest tank, gear and brakes checked, mixture set, prop high RPM, go around point and criteria checked.  I flick the last toggle switch on the checklist, flaps, after putting the flaps the rest of the way down and the lights on the checklist all turn green.  I’m lined up on the runway, holding the airplane to 60 knots and managing descent over the jungle with power.  Just above the runway I pull the throttle to idle, ease the yoke back and apply the wheels gently to the runway.

While I’m putting the plane to bed for the night my passengers are meeting with the Ugandan military who are hosting us, and setting up the meeting with the ex-LRA they’ve come to talk with.  We have some tea and then my passengers have their meeting.  I stay out of the way.  For one thing they’re all speaking Acholi, for another I don’t want to accidentally interfere.  Later, over dinner, I ask my passengers how the meeting went. meetsm

The man they mostly spoke with was captured as a young teenager and he’s now about 40.  His entire adult life has been spent in the bush, fighting, robbing, and worse.  And now he’s going home.  It’s not going to be an easy road, and I can’t imagine the courage it takes to do what he’s doing. Many of the LRA are drug addicts. All have psychological issues such as post traumatic stress disorder, or rage issues.  Even the escaped children can fly into sudden, violent rages with no warning. Usually their home villages don’t want to take escapees back.  The villagers often view the escapees as the enemy now.

As big a battle as those worldly issues are, the battle these men, women, and children face is really a spiritual battle.  Remember the story of Jesus healing the man in the Gadarenes (Mark chapter 5)? When Jesus asked for a name the demons in the man said, “Legion for we are many.”  The situation for the ex-LRA is similar. They have many demons to be cast out…drug addictions, violent pasts, other things.  Maybe even, I dare say it in the year 2013, actual demons.  The grace of God is sufficient for the task.  The apostle Paul prayed 3 times for relief from a “thorn in the flesh” and was told “My grace is sufficient for you.”  Our Savior is the One who prayed, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do,” for the men nailing Him to a cross.   Compared to the difficulty of the road the escapees face, my complaints about an aching rump are childish.  I pray that God will cast out their demons, and bring these folks home.