Saturday, November 29, 2014
Elder Ezam's Life Journey from the LRA to the MTC
The LRA has been accused of widespread human rights violations including murder, abduction, mutilation, child-sex slavery, and forcing children to participate in hostilities.
The LRA was initially formed to resist the Uganda People's Defense Force (UPDF), called the National Resistance Army (NRA) before it took control of the country. The NRA/UPDF has been accused of widespread murder, rape, and pillage. In June 2006, Radhika Coomaraswamy, the UN's special representative for children, found more than 5000 children recruited in the Ugandan government army.
Michael was not treated well. Sometimes he would be beaten for making the smallest of mistakes. Today there are marks on his back as reminders of that punishment. The rebels taught him to fight, but he did not shoot guns. Rather they had him clean up dead bodies.
After many years of this Michael grew weary of the army. Because he had friends in high ranking positions in the army, he was able to find a way to be free.
Shortly before his retirement from the army, he learned of the death of his parents. He does not remember what they looked like but due to their names, he knew he had learned correctly. He then knew he had to get out. So he found a way. He began to live on his own and took cleaning jobs to support himself.
One day as he was returning from the market, he saw the missionaries and introduced himself. He did not know that much about the Church, but invited them to his apartment. The next day they shared with him the Joseph Smith story and invited him to Church. Since that day, he has never missed Church and can feel his testimony about the Church and the restored gospel grow every day. Yesterday, Michael entered the Ghana MTC as Elder Ezam, called to serve in the South Africa Cape Town Mission. He is now a member of God's Army - such a contrast to the upbringing he suffered for many, many years.