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Healing a Child Soldier's Heart

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“I heard stories of rebels that kill everyone and burn entire villages,” said a young man named Jonah who lives in Uganda. “So, when our neighbor screamed, ‘They are here,’ I ran and hid all day, but they still found me.”

CBN Reporter, Dan Reany, said, “Jonah told me the incredible story of his capture, and eventual release and rescue from the Lord’s Resistance Army.  He was taken captive with many other boys when he was just 6 years old.”

Jonah explained, “I was the youngest among them. We walked for days then arrived at their base. The commander gave me a big stick and ordered me to kill a man. If I didn’t do it, they would kill me. I beat him and beat him, but I was so small and weak he would not die.  Then I said, ‘Just let me die too, I am too young to kill this man.’”

The LRA commander gathered all the boys around and told them not to cry or shout, but only to laugh and celebrate what was about to happen.

Jonah said, “They made the man lie down and cut him in pieces as he begged for mercy. There was so much blood. My heart cried out for him, but I kept it inside. I lost all my good memories, and only saw the madness around me.”

Forced to fight for the LRA, Jonah was badly injured during a crossfire. The soldiers asked him if he wanted “to rest.”

Jonah said, “When they ask that, it means they'll make you rest forever. I said, ‘I can walk.’ I prayed and asked God to take me home. I knew it was out of my hands, I could no longer do anything.

Nobody took care of Jonah, so when his wound didn't heal, a soldier took him to an empty field to kill him. But instead of shooting him, the soldier let him go.

“I wanted to get as far away as possible,” said Jonah.  “I stayed in abandoned huts as I fled, and everywhere I went, I was in so much pain. At night, I woke up and heard a voice saying, ‘You have to keep on going.’  I looked to see who spoke, but there was no one. Now I know it was God.”

In one abandoned hut, Jonah found beans and a few matches, and managed to start a fire.  An army fighting the rebels saw the smoke, and surrounded the hut.  When they found Jonah alone, they took him to safety. Jonah went back to his village, reunited with his family, and joined a Peace Club.  The club was started by Exile International, a ministry supported by CBN’s Orphan’s Promise.  Through the Peace Club, he learned about the God who saved him.

Jonah said, “Even before I knew Him, He took care of me. I have given my life to Christ and I know there is nothing I have outside of God. You didn't find me by accident. God sent you to me, and your love and acceptance has helped heal my heart.”

Dan said, “Many of the children who come to these peace clubs are either war orphans or former child soldiers. But here in a therapeutic setting they sing songs and play games. Early on, a lot of the skits they put on have to do with violence and war, but in time, they do little plays about school and their friends, because here they have a chance to be kids again.”

We also enrolled Jonah in a Christian boarding school where he is doing very well.

“My life is complete,” said Jonah. “You have cared for me like a parent and given me everything I need. There's nothing I can give you in return, but I pray that God will bless every person who has been part of helping me.”

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About The Author


Melissa Verwey is a producer for The 700 Club.

About The Author

Dan Reany

Daniel Reany works with domestic and international producers to share stories of God’s love changing people’s lives. His main focus is on CBN’s humanitarian work. He holds an MA in anthropology, and volunteers with the Order of St. John. In their spare time, he and his wife enjoy travel, medieval reenactments, and hosting events.