On Good Friday, Jesus' next to last words were: "I am thirsty."
Kari Costanza writes about Obed, a young man in Uganda who is also thirsty — thirsty for justice. “If a life is saved,” he says, “there is no greater good than that.”
Read how this Ugandan superhero's initiative and tireless work within his community are helping to save children from the evil of child sacrifice.***
It’s Good Friday.
I know exactly when it will happen tonight — when my throat will constrict and when I will begin to fight back tears.
It’ll be about 7:40 in the evening. I’ll be sitting in a dark church — our beautiful stained glass window covered with black tar paper to block out the light.
My pastor will be reading the last words of Jesus on the cross. When he gets to that particular phrase — it’ll happen.
“I am thirsty,” Jesus says.
He’s been on the cross for some time at this point. In agony. Watched by people who mock him as he dies.
“I am thirsty.” Why does that phrase affect me so greatly?
It’s because I work for World Vision and because, in my travels around the world, I have met so many people who thirst.
Children who thirst to go to school.Mothers who attempt to quench physical thirst by walking miles for water.
And incredible staff people who thirst for justice.I met one such staff person last month in Uganda. His name is Obed Byamugisha. At just 29, he is stamping out the heinous practice of child sacrifice in Uganda.
Obed Byamugisha. (©2014 Jon Warren/World Vision)
World Vision provided the funds to Obed with which he’s devised an innovative project — a type of “Amber Alert” that uses village drums to signal when a child has gone missing. In the place where Obed works — Mukono District, which is infamous for witchcraft — children who go missing may end up dead: sacrificed by witchdoctors who claim that body parts like their hearts and heads can solve medical ailments or bring prosperity to a family.
In the year since he began the project with the community, two children have been rescued. For that, Obed rejoices. But he is sickened by two other cases of boys whose bodies were found in a field, their hearts and heads removed.
Obed fights against evil. In a way, he is a Ugandan superhero.But being a superhero comes at a cost.
In the last year, Obed has lost weight because he works long hours, using a motorbike to travel over bumpy dirt roads in Mukono District — working with the community to mobilize against child sacrifice and working with the witchdoctors to get them to stop. He says he looks like a different person now. People sometimes don’t recognize him because he is so skinny.
Obed used to live in the community, but one night an angry mob came to his home, banging on his door and his walls, letting him know that he was no longer safe. He moved the next day.Obed knows that every day of his life he is taking a risk. When you are working against evil, you are working against a powerful force.
He asked us for prayer — to keep him safe from harm — but says he will never stop in his quest to protect children.Obed is thirsty for justice.
“If a life is saved,” he says, “there is no greater good than that.”
Echoes of our Lord and Savior who thirsted on the cross — not just for water but for the kind of justice that can only be had through sacrifice.
Child sponsorship is one of the best ways to help ensure that children are safe and protected from dangers like child sacrifice. Help protect a child in Uganda today!