This is a short snippet about the Democratic Republic Congo and the child soldiers that have suffered and continue to suffer there. So common in many African countries, including Sierra Leone where I will be traveling in May, children are abducted, tortured, starved and forced to fight. They are forced to kill even their own families. Thankfully, in Sierra Leone the war is over. However, they are still trying to recover from the many years of violence.
In Congo, this is still happening and I can't help but think of my own sons when I read about it. In Congo, the militia groups have kidnapped even young boys, no older than 15. They are tortured and forced to learn how to carry guns and to kill. The small ones, though, the ones who aren't big enough to carry guns are given only a whistle. They are sent out ahead of the front line and told to blow their whistles loudly, in order to scare away the enemy. If they flee, they are shot by "their own" men. If they stand and blow, they take bullets from the opposition. Either way, they rarely survive.
You see, I feel so very fortunate that God has blessed me with this life in this place and time. My sons, if we were in Congo, would be carrying whistles if they had the ill fortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Jackson is only 8 - and not very big even for his age. Carter is 5. They would both be blowing whistles and taking bullets and dying.
I can't imagine a place so hellish and yet I certainly understand the uncertain times we live in even here in the Land of the Free. I can't imagine war in my backyard and feeling an urgency to keep my sons safe from soldiers who would torture and kill them. These young boys have mothers just like me, who love and adore them. They are children just like my sons, innocent and deserving of a childhood.
I'll be ordering my whistle, if for no other reason than to remind me to pray for these suffering children and to be thankful for all that I have. I hope you'll do the same. You can learn more about Falling Whistles at www.fallingwhistles.com.