Monday, November 24, 2008

"24" goes to Africa!

We are "24" nuts around here! In fact, it has been said that if you don't watch "24" you may not want to be on our church staff. We all watch in Monday nights and discuss it at staff meetings and lunch on Tuesdays. . .so, the return of Jack Bauer (who my Pastor thinks should really remind everyone of HIM!) last night was a much awaited event. I even made it a party at my house. Small group ended at 8:45 and everyone got to our house just in time for me to lay the kids down, order pizza for the group and tune in. It started at 8, so we knew we wanted to start later anyways so that we could watch it without commercials!

If you've never watched "24" before. . .there are usually 2-4 main things happening that they will switch back and forth between. There is the main conflict, whatever Jack is doing, the Washtington angle with some kind of political corruption and a witness or spy. Last night, we uncovered what will be the main conflict this season. . .a military coup in Sengala (a fictional African country). Let me just say that I have never cried while watching "24" until this week.

It was heartbreaking on a number of levels. The main story last night was about the rebel commander needing more soldiers and going to the villages to collect children to be used. They showed part of the indoctrination and the brainwashing to teach the children how to be killers. Ok, I know this is just a show. . .but that's not entirely true. This is really going on in Africa today. It really went on in Liberia and in Sierra Leone and in Uganda. The truth is that I can't help but think that this is a fate that my son could have faced in Liberia. My heart broke for these boys which represent children all over Africa. It also featured a school for these boys to give them their lives back (a school that Jack had to defend to keep the boys out of the rebel army). This school and these boys reminded me of our time in Oteboi. I have looked into the eyes of former child soldiers and seen them weep.

The interesting thing about "24" is that it hops back and forth between scenes in "real time". This was hard to watch on another level. They would show a scene in the US of a presidential inauguration and people arriving in stretch limos and then clip over to what was happening at that time in Sengala with utter devastation, people running for their lives and children's lives being ruined. This reminded me once again that while I may continue my life here. . .the devastation continues at this very moment. One scene showed the president being briefed on this situation and replying, "No, we will not offer military assistance. It does not endanger us in any way. There is not even anything to protect there! No resources or anything that is of any value to us" This was a shocking statement. . but so true of what America protects and cares about.

Particularly heartbreaking for me were the scenes at the embassy. While the rebel army advances on the capital, instead of helping, the US decides to evacuate it's citizens. There is a line at the embassy, people begging to get in and be sent to America. One woman is clinging to her baby and trying to get out of Sengala. She tells the embassy official, "I have a sister in Chicago" but doesn't have the paperwork to go to the states. He denies her access. She looks at him, sobbing and says "Please, I will do ANYTHING you want me to do. Just don't leave me here. It will most assuredly mean death for my son" He shuts the gate. The scene ends with white people climbing into the helicopter and scores of black arms and hands reaching through the gates in desparation. I allowed tears to slip down my face, knowing that particular scene has happened across the nations of Africa.

I encourage you to watch "24" this season. (it starts in January) Use the time you are watching it to allow it to be more than a tv show. . but a reminder of what IS happening across Africa right now. The show kept me up for a couple of hours last night after watching it. I ended up flipping through the channels and landing on "Feed the Children". The president of Feed the Children said, " I do not know what it will take for America to move from Apathy, to Sympathy, to Empathy to Action in the crisis here in Africa" I truly am praying that a simple, fiction, action-adventure show will be used by God to spread light about the devastion going on right now and how we CAN move to do something.

In fact, if you or your church are moved to action . . .we still do not have a church lined up to sponsor Oteboi in Northern Uganda. This is a high school / orphanage with many of the precious boys having lived the lives of abducted children. They need a church body to come along side, to look into their eyes and give them hope and to wipe their tears away. Please contact me if you are interested! brandi at kidslake dot com


Jaime said...

As Jarrett and I were watching the opening scenes of 24, I looked at him and said...Brandi's going to be all over this one! Looks like an interesting season for 24 this year. I was actually expecting the usual stopping bombs and terrorists in the US...or saving Jack...blah blah blah. I can't wait until January!

Tom Davis said...

What a great idea Brandi! Thanks for everything you're doing to help the orphans of Uganda. As you know, for many, it's the difference between life and death.

jeff and katie said...

B,, post away!!
use any photos i use...
the more readers the better eh? Especially at a time like now...with the holiday season aproaching... I hope it causes folks to think twice about their choices in spending.

julie said...

ok i have never watched 24 but i will now!