Thousands of Lost Boys have been granted refugee status in the United States, and some of them have been fortunate enough to be taken in by the Church. These boys have been “adopted” into the Christian community, nurtured, loved and cared for. Many of them have found Christ through the caring of the Church, and because of this they have had a desire to return to their “homes” and share that love with others.
I have had the privilege of meeting some of them and flying them back to their homes. I have witnessed the joyful reunions, the hugs and the tears, as these “boys” who are now adults have returned home and seen their families for the first time in over a dozen years. Many have returned with the help and backing of their American Church families, and are trying to bring hope and help to rebuild their villages.
One of the “boys” is building a medical clinic in the village of Duk Payuel. We have flown him, members of his American church and medical supplies into the village to build the medical center. In fact I helped fly in a team of 11 people and medical supplies last week. In the village of Aweil one of the “boys” is building a school with funds from his church in the US. A “boy” in the village of Werkok has started a center to reach out and evangelize his community.
Another “boy” after returning to his village saw the orphans using a tree as their only means of shelter. Fearing that the soldiers from Darfur would kidnap these kids and turn them into child soldiers, he decided to stay. He gave up his US visa, and his fiancee who was determined to return to the US. Remembering the struggle and terror of being a helpless child, he was not going to leave these orphans with no one to look after them. He has since partnered with not only his church in the US, but also with organizations like Voice of the Martyrs. He now runs an orphanage and a boarding school for several hundred children who have no family, but have become his family.
Samaritan’s Purse has helped several “boys” return to Sudan to help rebuild and work in the hospital in the village of Akobo. During the war these “boys” were sent to Cuba to obtain medical training, since then they have been living in Canada practicing medicine. Now they have happily returned to their homeland to use the medical training God has provided them to help heal their people, and heal their land.
There are so many of these stories of children who ran for their lives two decades ago, and are now returning to help their village. Some are drilling water holes, others are building schools and orphanages, and others are building medical facilities. All bring with them a hope for a better tomorrow, and the message of a God who loves and cares for them.
Some four thousand years ago, ten brothers with hatred in their hearts threw one of their own into a well and sold him into slavery. The evil that they committed with malice in their hearts God turned into something wonderful. Through their act of hatred, God used Joseph to save His chosen people. So it seems with the Lost Boys, out of the brutality of war God is bringing them home with a message of hope. From a life of death and destruction they are bringing the promise of Life Eternal.
“They call me a Lost Boy, but let me assure you, God has found me.”
John Bul Dau
Lost Boy from Duk Payuel, Sudan