What I learned from a Lost Boy of Sudan

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In the middle of a hot summer night in 1987 when he was 12 years old, Muslim militia from north Sudan invaded the village of John Dau. He found himself separated from his family in a instant, on the run for his life into the jungle darkness.

In the middle of a hot summer night in 1987 when he was 12 years old, Muslim militia from North Sudan invaded John Dau’s village. He found himself separated from his family in a instant, on the run for his life into the jungle darkness. The next 14 years would be a struggle for survival that is unimaginable.

It was an honor to meet John Dau this past week when we invited him to speak at The Lost Boy Luncheon, an awareness event for the Builders International Foundation in Springfield, MO.  John shared his “living testimony” of not only survival, but great success, out of an impossible situation.

Four of the many thoughts I am contemplating after hearing John speak and reading his book, God Grew Tired of Us:

1. Overcoming the impossible is possible.

In total, there were nearly 20,000 Christian boys separated from their families and targeted by the Muslim military in North Sudan. Today John lives in Syracuse, New York. He is one of the 3,800 “Lost Boys of Sudan,” who were given the opportunity to enter America as a refugee.

2. I’ve not really ever experienced a bad day.

Today will be a fine day to die. I told myself as the sun woke me at dawn. My fourth day with noting to drink except mud and urine. It was a fine day to die.  – John Dau

Thoughts that occurred to John while wondering the desert of Sudan on the run for safety from the militia. Enough said.

3. I take my opportunity for granted.

After five years of refugee camps and surviving bullets, bombs, arrows, crocodiles and starvation; John knew that God had spared his life for a purpose. Now settled into a Kenyan refugee camp, he had the opportunity to start school.  It was outside, no chairs, no chalk board, no paper, no books. He started kindergarten at 18 years old, and learned to write with only his finger and the dirt. Sound familiar?

Nine years of late nights and early mornings later, he had mastered two new languages, English and Kiswahil, as well as graduated with a high school certificate! He now has a college degree and has started multiple foundations. If only I treated each opportunity that came my way with such respect.

4. America is the most generous nation in the world!

Nowhere else in he world do people give so much, so freely, with no expectations in  return. – John Dau

In coming to America, John has experienced the best and the worst. However, both John and I agree, the generosity of American’s set us apart from the rest of the world. Thank God for the USA and for your spirit of generosity!

Remember to be thankful for what you have, take advantage of every opportunity, and that your generous missions and philanthropic giving make a positive difference in lives that you will not know about until you meet people walking the streets of Heaven who say thank you!

Keep up the good work!

Ryan Moore

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