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Out of Africa: Ordinary Leaders Changing Their World

Yesterday, I blogged about how our team just visited Egypt, whose people are in a crucial time in their nation’s history. We met with several leaders who confirmed that now is the time for Egypt to capitalize on new opportunities. They also wanted the world to know the true story of what’s really happened over the last three years.

On our final night in Cairo, I had the privilege of walking through Tahrir Square, the very spot where Egypt’s revolution started in 2011. I saw the remnants of both revolutions that took place—where angry protestors communicated with their government that they’d had enough. While I recognize neither side had perfect motives, I was captivated by stories we never heard in U.S. news reports.

Untold Stories From Egypt

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The tyrannical government not only used violence on unarmed protestors, but also burned down public buildings (such as libraries), blaming the young protestors for the destruction. Government news reports wrongly blamed the civilians.

Additionally, houses were burned down by the Muslim Brotherhood, but this eventually back-fired on them, as the victims didn’t retaliate… but forgave. Eventually, protestors from both Muslim and Christian backgrounds began working together for justice.

Reporters hoped to elicit outrage from their parents over their sons and daughters being killed…but again, it backfired on them. One parent spoke on TV about her decision to forgive the violators. This brought even more support for the protest.

One large Christian church opened their property to care for those who were wounded by the police. As they created medical stations to treat victims, police threw tear gas into the area, violating rules of engagement. At one point, a police officer was hurt—and this church even cared for him, treating him and sending him home in street clothes so he wouldn’t be killed by protestors.

Untold Stories From Uganda

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Upon our arrival, we had an unexpected encounter with two pastors from Uganda, Julius and Wilson. These men were there to speak at a conference. I soon got an update on the condition of Uganda, southern Sudan, and the orphans and child soldiers who’ve been kidnapped by Joseph Kony and his rebel army. The pastors were passionate leaders, who not only lead a 23,000-member church in Uganda, but oversee the rescue of thousands of orphans and child soldiers from both nations. They employ 1,000 staff to locate families who will house, feed and rehabilitate these children who’ve been left without parents and trained to kill by Kony. They are pairing up children with adoptive families, who provide an entirely new experience for them. Life is different now for these kids, who are returning to normal lives and learning to love (and be loved) by restorative leaders there.

I am encouraged by this news, coming from places where so much bad news has surfaced. Our Ugandan friends report that Joseph Kony’s influence is diminishing greatly, and the restoration of so many kids is on its way.

I share this with you as a simple reminder:

  • Ordinary people are achieving extraordinary feats by simply choosing to act.
  • All effective leadership gains traction when it is a response to a problem.
  • We rarely hear these stories because they’re acts of kindness, not crisis.
  • Bad news travels faster on TV and the Internet because fear captivates us.
  • If we could just see the good that’s occurring, maybe more of us would join in

In both Egypt and Uganda—the story revolves around the young. This is our chance to save their future, and build a better world for everyone.

 

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Out of Africa: Ordinary Leaders Changing Their World