Monday, December 18, 2006

A Prayer for Michael and the Lost Boys of Sudan

I took my daughter's car to the dealer this morning to get it looked at. Then engine wasn't running quite right and it needed an oil change. I didn't have to work today so I just waited on the repairs in the dealer's customer waiting area. At one point it was just me and a young black man waiting on our vehicles. I remember noticing he was wearing a name tag that said "Michael". I was getting a little bored and I made some lame remark about "I hate waiting like this more than almost anything." He smiled and replied back to me in an accent that sounded foreign and I deduced that he might be here from Africa.

I always like talking to people from other countries an inquired with him "Where are you from?" He replied that he was from Sudan and I suspected immediately he was a refugee from the war there in which Muslims from northern Sudan have been attacking the Christians in southern Sudan. On talking to me a little more he described himself as one of the "Lost Boys of Sudan." (See also the Red Cross article on the Lost Boys of Sudan.)

I didn't know what that meant but I learned that when he was about four years old, his parents sent him away to Kenya where they hoped he'd be safe from the fighting in his own country. I think he said his mother was too sick at the time to travel with him. I didn't learn any details about his father other than he had learned later that his father had been killed in the war. He told me he spent 8 years as a refugee in Kenya before coming to the United States. His last contact with his mother was by telephone from Kenya two years ago.

I felt a little uneasy because I knew my life had been so easy compared to his. Whatever problems I have seemed small in comparison to his.

He told me he is now living in the US under a refugee visa which allows him to work here on a green card. He told me after working here five years, he hopes to apply for US citizenship. He's going to school at a local university to become a nurse.

The customer service representative from the car dealer arrived about that time and he had to go pay for his repairs and I never saw him after that.

God, I want to lift up Michael in prayer tonight. I pray for all the refugees of Sudan and especially for the "Lost Boys of Sudan". Bless them and show them Your provision for their needs. I pray that he will reunited with his mother soon or at least be able to contact her to know how she is and where she is. I pray for an end to the bloodshed in Sudan. I pray that we here never forget the bloodshed and suffering in that part of the world that seems so remote to us. I know that somebody's mothers and fathers and children are fighting just to survive while I am so comfortable. Forgive me when I am too complacent about the needs of my brothers and sisters. Amen.
(March 11, 2008) see the followup at Lost Boy of Sudan to Graduate

Copyright © 2006 by Philip Hartman - All Rights Reserved

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