“A place will not be defined by the past but by the future,” commented our 24 year old guide, Adrian, as he began to show us around the Laminadera children’s village. This area of Gulu, close to the Sudan border, is known for the devastating war tragedies that took place when, for 20 years, the Lord’s Resistance Army ravaged the area. Women were deprived of life; childhood was stolen. Women were abducted and often mutilated, forced to service the soldiers. Four year old boys were kidnapped from the streets and taught to be killing machines beginning with their own parents.
Former child soldiers have now become part of a supportive family unit, have discovered a new identity, and have found acceptance and God’s love – peace. “I live a miracle. I see life every day,” emphatically states 28 year old Pastor Victor as he looks across the village. “The children learn they have a part to play, to be clean because there is water in their house, to not throw garbage, to be disciplined, to be an agent of change wherever they go. They are taught to have integrity, to develop good habits, to be honest and moral. This brings life to the nation and to them as individuals.”