Quite unexpectedly, Jeffrey was released from prison in Kampala after just three months. Three months in exchange for four years of terror.
While he was serving his sentence, Jeffrey told the establishment what he knew: that support and weapons were flowing in from Sudan; that Kony had a tight grip on thousands of children serving in LRA militias as soldiers or slaves.
Encouraged by Jeffrey’s cooperation, the Ugandan authorities tried to recruit him into the national army. Jeffrey’s constant reply was that he simply wanted to go to school to learn to be a carpenter. Perhaps his continued rejection of military service helped to convince his jailers that he had no further thirst for blood.
Although his family was dead, Jeffrey headed back to the only home he ever knew, Gulu. There, he kept encountering missionaries and evangelists who had flooded into the region to provide love, assistance and counsel. Jeffrey initially rebuffed their advances, but God kept tugging at his deeply-broken heart.
When Jeffrey became a believer, he stayed in Gulu to continue to learn the same trade as his Savior. Now blades were used to shape and create, not tear down and destroy. As Jeffrey worked the wood, he must have looked at those tools in his hands and thought of the weapons he used to hold…and thought of how much he had been forgiven.
One evening, Jeffrey entered into the village of his upbringing, the place where his father, mother and brother were all murdered on separate occasions by LRA troops.
He heard the rustling in the bushes but had no time to react. Besides, he no longer had a weapon to defend himself. As the LRA rebels flooded into the village again, he prepared himself for what was to come.
Jeffrey was once again a captive of the Lord’s Resistance Army.
To be continued…