Uganda’s Deadly Bombings

I am a missionary with Ripe For Harvest living in Kampala, Uganda – working with Ravens Ministries – sent by Simple Free Church

I have many emotions and feelings about Sunday’s deadly bombings in Uganda as several friends were directly affected by the attacks.  I think about three friends: Brynne, Francis, and Grace.  When I came to Uganda in 2008, I met, worked with, and developed a good friendship with Brynne.  We were here at the exact same time and we even flew out to Uganda and back to the USA on the exact same flights.  Her brother recently came out to Uganda to work for a few weeks.  I was saddened to hear from Brynne on Monday morning that her brother was the American killed in the bombings.  I saw my friend Francis today who managed to survive the attacks, yet he saw friends lose their lives right before his eyes.  His firsthand account of the bombings was difficult to hear.  Francis is a board member of Dwelling Places, the Ugandan organization I worked for in 2008.  And Grace, a young adult on Ravens Ministries program, came to me with the news that one of her best friends lost two brothers from the terrorism.  I feel the pain.  But I can’t fathom how Brynne, Francis, and Grace must feel now.

I can think back to similar horrible events in my lifetime– Columbine, 9/11, Virginia Tech, Westroads Mall, and so on.  Remembering how I was feeling and remembering my prayers to God at the time.  At times we can be angry at God and sometimes I do not completely understand why He allows certain events to happen.  Trying to understand the evil in the world while also trying to grasp his perfect love for everyone.  Trying to see His sovereignty alongside the hurtful events that happen in our world.  I’ll probably be re-reading “The Problem of Pain” and “A Grief Observed” both by C.S. Lewis this week.

These past few weeks have full of pain and grief:  food poisoning and intestinal parasites (fully recovered now); getting in a minor motorcycle accident that left my hand bloodied and full of glass particles after it went through a window of an oncoming taxi van (nearly fully healed now); hearing the news of my dad getting in a major motorcycle accident in the USA that put him in the hospital for two nights with several broken ribs and deep bruising (he’s recovering at his home now); and finally the bombings in Kampala.  And maybe I am a bit frustrated and tired from all theses events happening at once, but I know this:  God has been so close these days.  And I have tremendous peace in my heart.  Life’s difficulties can draw us closer to God, if we allow Him to be.  And I’m thankful that God has been there: my nurturer, my comforter, my healer, my friend, my Lord, and my Savior.

A few Bible verses (Jesus’s words, in fact) have been coming to mind since the bombings in Kampala:

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted… Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” -Matthew 5:4,6
–I’m mourning alongside my friends who were affected by the attacks.  And I know we will be comforted.

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” -Luke 6:27-29
–I’ve been compelled to not only pray for the families and friends of those who lost their lives, but also for the “enemies” who conducted the bombings.  How lost and hurt their hearts must be.

Before I ramble anymore let me share my prayer requests in regards to the bombings:

*For Brynne, Francis, and Grace as they cope with their lost family and friends.
*For peace in Uganda.  Another bomb was found and disarmed today.
*That I can be an encourager and support to my friends here in Uganda.  The bombings have affected the attitude and spirit of everyone here.
*That unity will come to the local church during this time of mourning.
*People will turn to Christ in response to the tragedy.
*That Ugandans will love the Somalians living in Kampala.  The Somalians are experiencing the same pain as the Ugandans from the same terrorists, both in their own country and in Uganda.

Some news articles for further reading:

‘Somali link’ as 74 World Cup fans die in Uganda blasts
“The death toll from blasts that hit the Ugandan capital as football fans gathered to watch the World Cup final has risen to 74.  The blasts went off as people were watching the World Cup final.”
Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/10593771.stm

Uganda bombings: Why the world should care
“A Somali Islamist militant movement (Al-Shabaab) issued a statement claiming responsibility for a devastating trio of bombings that killed at least 74 people in Uganda’s capital.”
Link: http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/africa/07/12/uganda.bombings.qanda/index.html?hpt=T2&fbid=Lbbg4wuwyI7

Who are al-Shabab?
“Al-Shabab are believed to be largest group among several Islamist and clan militias battling the transitional government in Somalia.”
Link: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2009/08/20098432032479714.html

Thank you for your prayers, thank you for your support, and thank you for allowing me to share with you.

Much love,
Ryan Youtz
ryan@ravensministries.org

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