Clarence’s Clarion Call – Light to the Eyes

     by Clarence Rempel, WDC Conference Minister

Do you treasure your Bible? Do you treasure it as the window to God, as the source of life, as the fountain of wisdom?

The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
Psalm 19:8

I saw that light in the eyes of one of the lost boys of Sudan featured on 60 Minutes on Sunday, April 21. Abraham Yei Nhial was orphaned by the Islamist-generated genocide of Christians in southern Sudan. Villages were burned, parents were killed, girls were captured to be sold as slaves, and boys age 5-11 were abandoned. The boys simply began walking across East Africa in what became a flood of humanity. Abraham was among the 12,000 who made it to Ethiopia. After four years, they were forced out of the country across the Gilo River where one to two thousand died by gunshot, crocodiles, or drowning. They again started walking south through desert and over mountains for over a thousand miles until they got to Kenya. The U.N. and aid agencies intervened by establishing a refugee camp with food, medical care, and education in 1992.

When Abraham was asked about the book he had carried for ten years over all those miles, he flashed a big grin and his eyes just lit up, “It’s my life. I have been called a lost boy. But I’m not lost from God. I’m lost from my parents.” That book was the Bible from which Abraham preached to his comrades in the refugee camp.

Abraham was one of 4,000 Sudanese resettled in the United States. He landed in Atlanta, persevered through Atlanta Christian College in biblical studies, and more recently was installed as an Episcopal bishop in Awell, South Sudan.

My tears flowed with sadness and compassion as I observed the walking mass of emaciated skeletons of twenty years ago. My tears flowed again with joy when Abraham flashed that mischievous grin, “It’s my life.”

The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.
They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold;
They are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.
By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

Psalm 19:9-11

I pray for a revitalizing engagement with Scripture at “The Year of the Bible Launch” and Assembly 2013 – “Shaped by God’s Story,” August 1-3 on the Bethel College campus in North Newton, Kansas.

I am treasuring this book of books, The Bible, more and more as the years roll along.

The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

Psalm 19:8

The following books about the “Lost Boys” are available in the WDC Library:

1) War and faith in Sudan, by Gabriel Meyer.  An account of the devastating war that the world refuses to acknowledge in central Sudan.  962.8 Mey

2) Brothers in hope:  the story of the Lost Boys of Sudan, by Mary Williams. (Children’s book) Eight-year-old Garang, orphaned by a civil war in Sudan, finds the inner strength to help lead other boys as they trek hundreds of miles seeking safety in Ethiopia, then Kenya, and finally in the United States.  E Will

3) God grew tired of us (DVD).  Explores the indomitable spirit of three “Lost Boys” from the Sudan who are forced to leave their homeland due to civil war.  Documents their triumph over seemingly insurmountable adversities and relocation to America.  DVD 962 God

4) A long walk to water:  a novel, by Linda Sue Park.  (Junior fiction)  When the Sudanese civil war reaches his village in 1985, eleven-year-old Salva becomes separated from his family and must walk with other Dinka tribe members through southern Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya in search of a safe haven.  Based on the life of Salva Dut, who, after emigrating to America in 1996, began a project to dig water wells in Sudan.  J Par

5) My great-grandmother’s gourd, by Cristina Kessler.  (Children’s book)  Residents of a Sudanese village rejoice when a traditional water storage method is replaced by modern technology, but Fatima’s grandmother knows there is no substitute for the reliability of the baobab tree. J Kes

6) My name is Sangoel, by Khadra Mohammed.  (Children’s book) As a refugee from Sudan to the United States, Sangoel is frustrated that no one can pronounce his name correctly until he finds a clever way to solve the problem. E Moh