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FRM Newsletter

Three Long Years

| FRM Newsletter

Read the full September 2018 newsletter here.

Moses has been serving in the Chaplains’ Corps for over 15 years and is married with three children. In 2013, his village, Malualkon, was attacked by the rebel army. Moses was away serving at the frontlines, so when word came from home, he braced himself for the worst. When the rebels overrun cities and villages, the human death toll and suffering is hard to describe. Innocent civilians are murdered and raped with indescribable cruelty. When Moses’ unit retook Malualkon, they found dogs and birds eating all the corpses. The rebels had killed 182 soldiers and civilian casualties most likely ran into the thousands.

Moses learned that almost every woman in Malualkon was raped and murdered, but when the rebels pulled out of the city, 15 women with children had been taken. All were raped every day by many men. As the enemy fled, they shot 10 of the 15 women. From what Moses could determine, his wife was not among those who were killed but was among the five who were taken. The enemy is known to keep the more attractive women for their pleasure. Moses’ unit pursued the rebel army of over 2,000 men, with only 1,500 men. Even though they were outnumbered, they were fighting for their wives and children. Moses said that the battles were terrible, with many men being killed on both sides. They fought many short skirmishes and brought a devastating toll on the enemy, but the main body of soldiers escaped back to their own lines.

The stress that Moses lives under is beyond what most of us can relate to. Even though his wife was alive, he knew what was happening to her. Every day many men would take her into a hut, where she would have no control over her body. These depraved individuals do not care if children are watching, as they rape their mothers. These are extremely perverse men, whose conscience has long been given over to Satan. I, unfortunately, understand this stress very well. I have forbidden my wife, Vicky, to travel anywhere unless I am with her, and we have a large force of men with us. I have seen what remains of the women, in villages, that we have retaken. I will not describe it, as it is too much.

Vicky became so concerned about what would happen if she were captured, she went and saw my brother, the General. She said, “General, if I am ever captured, you will have to stop Wes, or he will kill everyone in Sudan until I am returned.” I was surprised that she did this. I told Vicky that I would not kill everyone, just those responsible. In the Body of Christ, there is a great misunderstanding of the scripture where it tells us to turn the other cheek. What the scripture is referring to is taking an offense for the Gospel. It never meant for men to allow the wicked to rape our wives and daughters or sell them into slavery, nor make them live as prostitutes or murder our families. As men, we have a God-given right to protect. We are supposed to be a wall between our families and the world—the spiritual leaders, providers, and protectors. I know that the Lord made me to be in this battle and has trained me for war. As much as I hate what I must deal with (not occasionally but all the time), He has equipped me to be able to handle what most cannot.

Moses said that the thought of his wife’s fate almost broke him. He realized that if his family was to be rescued, he knew it would have to be the Lord that would make a way for him to do it. A brother came to him and prayed for him and said, “Moses, trust God that we will find her someday. But now, we must fight to prevent this from happening to others.”

The next three years became just one prolonged war. Moses said that it was very difficult. He had to figure out how to be a pastor to so many men in need—to men who had gone through the same thing, but whose wives did not survive the capture, instead they were raped and murdered. How do you explain that God loves you when such terrible things have happened that are irreversible? But what Moses had that helped them was his trust in the Lord and that his faith stayed strong when his wife was taken. It was a powerful testimony to these men. There were times when he had to be a pastor and times when he had to be a soldier. He had to fight with great ferocity in battle, then turn it off after the battle to comfort the wounded, dying and those who suffered emotionally. Moses said that he killed many enemy soldiers. They captured a group of these men, who had gang-raped the women and executed them.

Then one day, a man came and said, “Moses, I know where your family is, but it is very dangerous and is deep behind enemy lines.”  Moses asked if the man would take him to his family and the man agreed. They journeyed into enemy territory until they came to a large garrison of soldiers. They watched the base for 14 days until Moses found out where his wife and children were. He wanted to go in, but he needed to figure out where they were and how to get them out. When he did find his wife, he had to watch as man after man took her into the hut day after day. This was a very difficult time for Moses, but he knew if he did not wait until he knew their routine, then he would die trying to save her, and his wife’s torment would go on.

After thoroughly scouting the area, they realized that at 1 a.m. would be the best time to go in for Moses’s family. At three or four in the morning, men are in a much deeper sleep, but you need time to get in, and then make their escape. On the morning they were to make the rescue, they penetrated the enemies’ outer security and got past all the sentries. They went into his wife’s hut and Moses gently put his hand over her mouth and said, what translated to, “Be quiet, my love, I have come for you.” His wife was in shock because they had told her that they had killed her husband. When she saw him, her eyes filled with tears. They embraced for just a moment, knowing that if they were caught trying to escape this would be the only moment they would hold each other.

Moses picked up his youngest child, who was just over three years old. The other two children were six and eight years of age. His wife and the other man, who accompanied Moses, lead the other two children. The first night they did not stop walking for over 20 hours. They knew that strong, young men would pursue them, when it was discovered they were gone. Moses told them that this was not the time to rest, but the time to run. They would stop to rest for only a couple of hours, then move for another 20 hours. The men who would pursue them would be bush soldiers, and they were excellent at tracking. The chance of being found was extremely high, but the Lord had heard his prayers and was with Moses.

After four days, they reached friendly lines. Then, Moses had time to be alone with his wife, as she recounted all that had happened. They beat her so severely that her ear had been bleeding for three years, and she had gone deaf in that ear. Moses told me that she was still very traumatized. I sent for her to be taken to a good doctor. If you understand the many cultures around the world, when a wife or daughter is raped, the husband or father will have nothing to do with them because of the shame. This type of dark thinking is shameful when the women do not have any ability to resist or stop the abuse. But this is not our society. We are the type of men who will go to the ends of the earth to rescue and will fight to the death to protect and deliver women from the wicked. I have decided to relocate his family—far from the front, near our base—so I can make sure she and the children will be safe. We will build a house for them and hopefully, in time, she will heal. It had been three long years of captivity for this family with unspeakable things they have endured. I have seen many who have gone through similar circumstances. As we wash them in God’s Word, in time, they do heal. We believe in the power of prayer through Christ.

After I left South Sudan, Moses’ wife arrived at the chaplain training base. Vicky said that she is extremely traumatized and does not seem to be able to hear. Michael, our senior chaplain, was trying to ask her basic questions, but she did not seem to be able to answer. We are not sure if it is because she cannot hear, or if the trauma has caused her to slip her into her own world.

I know that Moses was doing what any other man should do to save his family, and the return of his family is all he wanted. But this is an exceptionally brave chaplain for putting his life at great risk. For this, he will be awarded the Knight’s Cross, the highest award for bravery in the Chaplains’ Corp. Of the 54 men who have lost their lives in Christ’s service, only one Knight’s Cross has ever been awarded and that Knight’s Cross was awarded posthumously. This will be the first Knight’s Cross awarded to a living chaplain.

 

Wes Bentley

Far Reaching Ministries