Today marks the three-year anniversary of the death of Nate “Oteka” Henn, who was killed by a terrorist bombing in Uganda during a visit with friends he had met through his work with Invisible Children. IC may sound familiar, as they were the group that promoted the famous Kony 2012 campaign, which was accompanied by a video that has gained more than 95 million views on Youtube.
I went through church youth group with Nate Henn, and I knew him casually. We attended numerous events together, shared some similar interests, and he even appeared in a film I did during my college years. We lost touch over time, as folks do, but in the midst of his volunteering for Invisible Children, Nate and I e-mailed about his work and the ways in which his faith had grown through it.
I forget what event began our correspondence, but I remember why it continued. Inasmuch as we had been casual friends, we always considered one another to be Christian brothers, and that connection infused our mailings. Nate’s sincerity was evident in every sentence; his enthusiasm for not only his present mission but his life of service were inspiring. He had become a true disciple of Christ and could not help but speak of his Savior’s power and beauty in the face of tragedy. I am blessed that these are the last memories I have of him.
Nate served Invisible Children well, more so than he knew, for he not only brought awareness but integrity and validation to their organization. While I never had the privilege of hearing him speak publicly, Nate’s unwavering convictions in our personal interactions attested to his assurance that their mission was of great import, and they were always benefitting those in need, regardless of the turmoil and seemingly endless parade of obstacles the organization faced. While their’s was a long-term campaign, they seized the opportunity to bless those they encountered each day, giving them a taste of peace and restoration on the trek toward victory.
In remembrance, I am posting this video put together by Invisible Children several years ago. I cannot watch it without getting goosebumps and thanking the Lord for Nate’s life, even as I am forced to again acknowledge his passing–a loss not only to those of us who knew him but to the world. Nate desired to make the earth a better place; in his absence, perhaps a few us can try to do so as well.