Dust and Ash
Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.
It was dry and dusty. There had been no rains for many months.
The harvest was withered.
Food was scarce.
It happens so quickly, wild fires do.
A breeze takes a spark. The spark takes some leaves. The leaves take a village of mud and thatch roof huts.
In the end eight homes were destroyed.
No insurance plans.
No government support.
No night shelter to go to.
Families go from poor to impoverished in moments.
Someone must be blamed.
Someone always must be blamed.
Blame helps us avoid the pain.
A new fire is set in motion.
Anger, mistrust, and hate are sparked.
It must have been the orphan boy.
It’s always the one whom we know cannot defend themselves.
The one who reminds us of our own deep need.
Ten-year-old Opanga would pay.
Someone saw him playing near the leaves.
A life for our loss.
That is the cost when our pain runs-a-muck.
And so Opanga runs.
Opanga runs in fear.
The dust of the dry, dry ground kicks up and covers the ash of the burned village he leaves behind.
He runs into the wilderness for many days.
Where else can he go when the temptation to steal, kill and destroy is now the fire that burns stronger than the blaze that took their homes.
There is no food.
Water cannot be trusted.
He hides in trees at night to avoid both the hyena and the human’s hunt.
And in the wilderness
While on the run
His small body covered in ash and dust
sweat, blood, and tears
Opanga was an orphan on the run who was found and rescued. This is not the reality for most. But your partnership is making impossible things possible in warzones. Your love is saving Opanga's life and thousands of others whose stories hold deep suffering and loss. For generations, war has been crippling communities, families, and hearts in South Sudan. LUV is on a mission to participate in reconciliation, redemption, and restoration of the brokenhearted.
Safety and security don’t just happen, they are the result of you and I participating in the advancement of Love in this world. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. The first day of Lent in the Christian tradition where our own heads will be anointed with ash... the burnt leaves from Palm Sunday-past. Lent is the season when we are invited to enter the wilderness with Christ for forty days as we head toward the betrayal, the hunt, the imprisonment and pain endured by an innocent, and also the impossible LOVE that broke through despite it all. In this season we hold on to the sacred promise and mystery of life, death, and new life.
Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return. We have just this one life to grow goodness, invest generously, participate in Agape, and advance Love. We need your help. With you, this life-saving, heart-tending, future-transforming mission is made possible.
Opanga and I both know that Love in Action is the only power that can transform this world—indeed, Love is the only power that ever has. Join us.