Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Lost Boys of Sudan

We watched the documentary "Lost Boys of Sudan" a couple of nights ago.  I really didn't know what to expect.  We had selected it in our Netflix cue and it eventually showed up in our mailbox.  Coordinating movie time for just mom and dad usually takes days or weeks in our house.  But, Friday night the calendars finally aligned and Heather and I had the TV all to ourselves.

The Lost Boys of Sudan are men that have grown up in refugee camps in neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia.  They have lived in those camps for many years and are orphans as a result of the genocide killings in southern Sudan.  Through unmentionable atrocities they suddenly were forced to leave home and country and family.  And they all did this as children, many under the age of 10 with no parents and no siblings.  Can you imagine your own children enduring this?

There were a number of "I didn't know that" moments during the movie.

I didn't know that so many southern Sudanese boys had escaped the attacks of the northern Sudanese armies.

I didn't know that so many of them had traveled for days and weeks and months across treacherous territory.  Taking attacks from gun-firing army militias, blood thirsty lions and hyenas, and the most paralyzing of all fears - starvation.

I didn't know so many of them had reached neighboring countries such as Kenya and Ethiopia and were set up in refugee camps.

I didn't know that they lived in those camps for many, many years.

I didn't know that so many had been given visas to enter the US via a government sponsored program.

I didn't know that we as a nation had turned our backs on them once they arrived.  OK, so maybe we didn't actually turn our backs on them, but how did we really help them once they got here?

In the end, the movie had a number of moments that stirred the mind to consider these people that are nearly invisible to us.  Many people have provided help in a variety of ways, but have we really met their needs?  Have we really invited them into our country and our culture?  Have we embraced them so that they feel welcome in our churches?  Have we left the comforts of our churches to go and minister to them?

These Sudanese men remind us of our Peaches.  They have the same beautiful dark skin.  They have similar lankiness, similar facial features.  We clearly see the connection between the Dinka people (Lost Boys' tribe) and the Anuak (Peaches' tribe).  It makes us remember where she came from.  It makes us remember the miracle that has happened in her life and in our lives over the past two years.

Oh God, we thank you that you brought our beautiful Peaches into our lives and that you spared her from the potential horror and pain that likely awaited her.  Oh God, we thank you that you kindly showed mercy in her life and kindly brought joy in our lives as you united us together.  How grateful we are for your mercies each day and your loving, sovereign hand.  Help us to be mindful of those around us each day.  Help us to be your light.  Help us to be your servants.  Help us to go where you send us.  Help us to love the least of these.  Help us to spread your glory.  Open our eyes.  Use us Lord.

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