“I was really moved by the young women’s faith and perseverance despite all that they had suffered. Their stories empowered me to take action and also deepen my relationship with God.”
True stories written by and for former girl child soldiers will open your eyes to God’s presence, even amid great tragedy, and inspire your faith like never before.
Enduring the Night shares the heartrending journey from darkness to light, as told by a young woman named Grace and other former child soldiers and survivors of human trafficking. The powerful stories and haunting photography shine a light on issues of oppression and gender-based violence currently facing girls—not only in northern Uganda but also around the world. Even as ChildVoice helps Grace’s community heal from the destruction of war, the atrocities continue today across the borders as the Lord’s Resistance Army terrorizes, abducts, and viciously attacks people throughout East and Central Africa. In areas of conflict worldwide, people increasingly use children as instruments of war. The need for intervention is great and the time for action is now.
100% of the proceeds from the sales of Enduring the Night benefit war-affected women through supportive services in northern Uganda.
Kristin Barlow is a project manager with ChildVoice based in New Hampshire. She received her Bachelors in Nutrition & Dietetics from Olivet Nazarene University and worked in Uganda with ChildVoice for four years. There she specialized in the areas of nutrition & health education and establishing IGPs in the local community.
Natalie Committee is a communications specialist in Washington, D.C. Previously, Natalie created a microenterprise development course and loan program for young women in Uganda, and coordinated economic development projects with partners in the U.S., Uganda, and Malawi. Natalie received her Bachelors in Journalism and Master of Business Administration from West Virginia University.
I don’t know anything about suffering.
I know that sounds odd coming from me, a quadriplegic who has lived in a wheelchair for 48 years, has survived stage III cancer, and who deals daily with chronic pain. True, I know what it means to live with affliction, but I’m a Westerner. And most North Americans and Europeans will never experience suffering to the degree that people face in Uganda or the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
I don’t intend to make comparisons, for we all know that affliction hurts no matter who it touches. But in central Africa, I think it hurts a little harder.
It’s why Enduring the Night is so important. The stories of these young African girls rescued from sex slavery and torture simply must be told. For no one should suffer alone, and no one should suffer for nothing. That’s our heart’s cry when we hurt. And thankfully, the book you hold in your hands shows how the Spirit-blessed touch of mercy ministry has imparted some measure of meaning to these young survivors caught in a web of meaningless affliction.
Is that enough? Is the warmth of a smile, the touch of a caring hand, and the effort to bring restoration and renewal enough for these girls?
Through the decades, I have learned that when you’re hemorrhaging human strength, answers – even if they are good, right, and true – can sting like salt in a wound. When you’re decimated and down for the count, the “16 good biblical reasons as to why all this is happening” can come across as cold and calloused.
Sometimes the best answer is the soothing balm of compassion, as well as the chance to know the Man of Sorrows who understands suffering more than any of us. For when they hang you on a cross like meat on a hook – and you triumph through it – you have something precious and eternal to give to all those who suffer.
So please, don’t plow through this book too quickly. Enduring the Night is that important. Savor its stories sweetly, digest its lessons prayerfully and act on their counsel intentionally. For no matter what measure or degree of suffering we may be experiencing, we can always learn the best lessons from those who endure the darkest of nights.
Joni Eareckson Tada
Joni and Friends International Disability Center
The book Enduring the Night, by Kristin Barlow and Natalie Committee-Fath in partnership with ChildVoice, is a powerful testimony of love across oceans. The story of Grace and other girls defying suffering, hopelessness and even death is told with clarity, conviction and compassion. This powerful book is a tribute to hope in the face of great odds.
In a way, this story is also my story. Gulu is my home. In 2006, after a decade of service in the Uganda national parliament, I retired and went back to Gulu District, an area the size of Rwanda, to lead the local government.
After being elected, I declared a few simple, but by no means easy goals. Peace (or at least silencing the guns), ending the suffering of our people in the squalid conditions of the internally displaced persons camps, rebuilding local government structures and supporting income generating initiatives.
People like Grace flocked to my office. As I listened to them, my heart wept. They came to me not because they wanted handouts, but because they wanted a hand up. This book amplifies their story which is also the story of the long suffering people of northern Uganda.
Eventually the guns fell silent, but the war wasn’t over. No problem can be solved unless it is faced. ChildVoice was on the ground, and like Nehemiah the prophet, Conrad Mandsager faced the problem of rebuilding the young lives of northern Uganda wrecked by war.
I heartily applaud the publication of this book. Read it. You will be moved.
Norbert Mao Esq.
Former Chairman of Gulu District Local Government and current President of the Democratic Party of Uganda
Reviews are disabled.