14 November 2007

Journey of Healing

Fr. Michael Lapsley, depicting the artificial hands while talking to the Mothers Union. Photo by Rev.Willy Akena 14/11/2007

By Rev.Willy Akena
The Director Institute for Healing of Memories Fr Michael Lapsley is in Gulu to meet with the victims of the LRA War. A victim of the Apartheid himself, Fr Michael lost his hands and eye in a letter bomb in South Africa. Below is his address to the Mothers Union of the Diocese of Northern Uganda who are attending a training on Micro Finance, organized by the Office of the Provincial Mothers Union Worker Rev. Canon Hellen Oneka. Fr Michael is due to meet with those whose limbs were cut or maimed in Northern Uganda and share with them his experience and explore ways of forgiveness and reconciliation. His visit to Northern Uganda has been initiated by the Diocese of Northern Uganda under the department of Peace and Development Headed by Rev. Patrick Lumumba.
Fr. Michael appealed to the people in Northern Uganda to forgive and reconcile in order to travel the journey of healing.

I am delighted to be here with you.
I greet you in the name of Jesus who is our saviour. May be because you want hear the message twice; I am delighted to have this opportunity with my brother Ntsikelelo Mateta. I am particularly delighted to be here in northern part of Uganda because I know that it is part of Uganda that has known war and pain.
We know that we had war for the last 20 years and we know that there has been a great cost, many people like me have lost limbs, we know that there are not only physical wounds of the body but wounds of the spirit, whenever we experience suffering we ask ourselves were is God?. There is a song that black people in S African sang for many decades, SENZENI NA? The song meaning is what we have done, why are we suffering and in South Africa people say is it because of the colour of our skin. Whenever as human being we suffer we try to make sense, why do we suffer, sometimes there are no easy answers, sometime we say it must be God’s will, but am not sure about that, some time we blame God for the things that we as human beings do to others so for the things we have done to others, like a man who is drank dives a car and hit a child and a child dies, that is not God’s will, but because the man was drank, some people pick a gun and go for war that is not God’s will, in my case it was the last white government in South Africa that sent a letter bomb, so because of the bomb I lost my hands and my eye,
Sometime when I meet people today they say, that was God’s will; its not true God does not sent letter bombs to people. I was sent letter bomb by human beings not by God.
But where is God, God did not tell me that is a letter bomb do not open it. But to me God kept his promise, the great promise in the bible that I am with you always even to the end of the age. So when I was bombed I felt the presence of God with me, Af
I know God is wi
After I was bomb I had a choice, Am I going to have hatred and bitterness all my life or am I going to travel a journey of healing, am I going to spend my life looking for those who sent the letter bomb to me, am looking for a way of revenge, am I going to spend my time looking for those who sent the letter bomb. One of the great men of SA said
“Those who think of themselves as victims eventually becomes the victimizers of others”
If we have poison inside our heart it has to go somewhere.
But in my case many people prayed for me, loved and supported me Christians but also people of other faiths as well, people sent me letters of hope and encouragement from all over the world that is how God helped me to travel the journey of healing.

I realized that if I was full of hatred then I would be a victim for ever, they have failed to kill the body but I would have killed the soul.
I thought if I were to be angry all the time then I will be in pain
I also had to make a choice, will I travel a journey of healing or not, so God has called me to a new journey, I was part of the journey to help free South Africa from Apartheid people who struggle to release our people. Today I am traveling my new journey, what is my new journey, it’s to listen to the pain of others, listen to people and travel the journey of healing.

Sometime as Christians we say I lay my hands on you and you are healed.
There are still many steps to take. Sometime we think healing is like taking tablets and everything will be okay. But people who have been hurt deeply the journey of healing takes sometime, the mothers union have an important role to play, part of the role is to travel your own journey of healing, but offer yourselves to listen to the pain of others not just once but again and again, sometimes as Christians we talk too much and we don not listen enough, we have to learn to preach less and listen more, listen not only with our ears but also with our hearts.
So I must thank you for what you are already doing, healing is part of God’s work; God invites us to work with him in the healing process. Thanks for listening to me. Amen

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