Monday, February 11, 2008

'Fair wind and God speed'

My old friend Scotty, a master chief petty officer in the U.S. Navy, just wished me 'Fair wind and God speed,' as I prepare to depart today for The Very Dangerous Foreign Country.

There is a reason I have seldom been specific on the blog about The Very Dangerous Foreign Country. My host, missionary Pastor Sam Childers, has been targeted for death by Joseph Kony, the murderous madman who leads the terrorist cult known as the Lord's Resistance Army. (Here's a "Dateline NBC" story from 2006 about Sam's efforts to save children from Kony and the LRA guerrillas.)

Sam runs an orphanage in Nimule, Sudan:
Over 800 children have been rescued through the work and dedication of Sam Childers and his team. Upon completion of the rescues, great effort is made to reunite the children with surviving family members. If that is not possible, they join the growing family at the Children’s Village.
A screenplay based on Sam's amazing life and work is already on the desk of a major Hollywood film producer. The manuscript of his autobiography is supposed to be completed and delivered to the publisher by May 1. My assignment as a researcher and editor is to make sure Sam meets that deadline.

The situation in Uganda and Sudan is currently unstable. Peace talks with the LRA have been extended until Feb. 28, but Kony's killers are accused of new atrocities:
Officials at the Uganda peace talks in southern Sudan are investigating a report that Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels killed dozens of people in recent attacks in the region, the Ugandan military said on Sunday.
Uganda's army spokesman, Captain Paddy Ankunda, said a senior official from south Sudan's Western Equatorial state, Joseph Ngere, complained to Uganda's government about the raids.
"The deputy governor has protested to Uganda that the LRA has killed dozens of people in his province," Ankunda said.
"We had earlier got the same information that the LRA has killed people. The Cessation of Hostilities team is investigating these claims and if true, that will be a
violation of the truce agreement," he told Reuters in Kampala. ...
A week ago, local government officials and a church group in southern Sudan said suspected LRA fighters had killed at least four people and abducted another 13 in a January 29 attack on Nyepo village, some 120 km (75 miles) from Juba.
A joint report following a visit to the area by the Danish Refugee Council, local government and the church group quoted survivors of the attack as saying it was carried out between 300 to 500 armed men and women carrying rifles and machine guns.
Frankly, I would have preferred to begin my career as a globetrotting foreign correspondent in the French Riviera or Monaco, but nobody's offered to pay me to go anyplace like that, and as I tried to explain to Rod Dreher a couple of years ago, I write for money.

Expect updates ....

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