Today, I logged into Facebook as I do everyday, checking to see what is going on with my friends, the latest photos posted by family, and the latest news from my favorite companies. But today was different. A status from on one of my best friends read, “it's raining outside… i think the sky is crying for nate.” Concerned for my friend, I went to Brian's profile to see about twenty different messages from his friends all over the nation that he had met while touring with Invisible Children the past year or so. These people from all over the nation were sharing in grief and mourning the loss of a dear friend, Nate Henn.
After posting a comment of love, and a funny memory to lift his spirits I messaged Brian to find out about Nate, the story I was given was both heartbreaking and challenging.
Nate Henn, only 25 years old, traveled this past spring with a group of young adults wanting to change the world, and specifically promote peace in Uganda with Invisible Children. While touring this past spring, Nate met two Ugandans who made their first trip to America. Their first time out of Uganda, their first flight, and Nate even shared the joy of watching them see snow for the very first time. His friendships grew while on tour, and when asked to join them in Uganda to see their homes, Nate made a personal commitment to raise money and go. With the support of his friends and family, Nate's dream of going to Uganda was fulfilled. While in Uganda, Nate was living out a dream that as Invisible Children says was “a selfless dream of putting others first, seeking peace, and living a life of integrity.” As he and a group of friends went to watch the World Cup in Kampala, Uganda, a terrorist attack took over the city. He was located at one of the bomb sites, and did not survive the attack. Nate Henn died a hero–something he never asked to be. Nate is survived by two parents, a brother, a sister, and friends across the nation.
Nate was given a name by his Ugandan friends “Oteka” a word meaning 'The Strong One.' The Ugandan students loved him dearly, and some were with him in the time of the attack. According to ABC News: His brother, Kyle Henn, was en route to be with his family when he was in an unfortunate plane accident in North Carolina, Kyle is in stable condition, but the accident hit a little too close to home on an already tragic day. Invisible Children has dedicated a page on their Website to Nate Henn, where you can read more about his service for this organization.
My friend whom I mentioned before has been serving with Invisible Children for over a year now, I have sang with him on street corners, and lifted him up in prayers as best as I knew how. But in this moment of despair for Brian, I do not know what to tell him, or even pray–my prayer now is that Nate's story be shared with others so that the war in Uganda will end. Brian and Nate lived in a van together with only the money raised individually while traveling the nation for Invisible Children, the bonds they made were those of brothers, of family. My heart breaks for Brian, and Nate's friends and family who are mourning this loss— but I know that in Nate's death millions will come to know of the devastating reality of terrorist bombings in Uganda, and the countless children who are enslaved in war as soldiers. I hope that in his death, his dream of peace in Uganda and love for his friends will become a reality.
Invisible Children has set up a page for those who want to continue Nate's dream by donating money to students, like Nate, who's dream is to serve their brothers and sisters in Uganda by sharing love, strength and friendship in the most crucial of times. Nate was a Roadie, a simple and not so luxurious job, that he LOVED.
Nate and his friends are Invisible Children:
On a Website created by Invisible Children, people can give money to help other Roadies like Nate…like my friend, Brian. Give To A Roadie asks you to not go to the movies this weekend, but instead give that 10 bucks to someone you love.
Maybe you don't know anyone serving as a Roadie for Invisible Children. But I am asking, please give to someone I LOVE…someone I couldn't live without…someone who believes that the word love is more than a feeling it's an action. It's a choice. Please give to people like Nate, like Brian, who are hurting in this loss but rejoicing in the future of hope in the nation of Uganda. Young adults who are changing the world. Students, youth, activists living out God's word and missional call to spread hope and love to a dying nation, a dying world. Invest in this generation, they—we are the future.
Nate's passion for service and love will live on in the hearts of this generation. I pray that it lives on in you, as well!