Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Meeting Arok

I am in Colorado, and today I met a wonderful young man named Arok.
Arok is Sudanese and comes from the same village as our Sudanese brother John. Today Arok and I met and I heard his heart for getting the children from his villlage to school. It seems that several months ago John and Arok got together and divided up the list of 60 kids, these are real lives, not just names, and decided that they would do what they could to get 30 kids each to boarding school.

Arok is an amazing young man.

He is 27 and in his lifetime he has seen his village burned down, his relatives killed, he has walked across to Sudan to Ethiopia, facing starvation and crocadiles and even lions, as they treked to a refugee camp. They were able to stay in Ethiopia for about 2 years before Civil War broke out in Ethiopia and the Lost Boys of Sudan were told to leave. They treked again. This time it took 6 months to go a two day journey by car. It took this long because it was the rainy season and they had to wait for the flooded rivers to subside before they could cross them.

They finally got to Kenya where they entered the Kakuma Refugee Camp. This camp was shelter but little else. He said it was such desert that it lacked trees and often water. The nearby villagers often came and killed them in the night. They were always hungry because they were only given one meal a day. They received a substandard education because they didn't have educators.

The world forgot about them, until one day the US opened it's borders. Approximately 3,000 Lost Boys came to the US until 9/11 happened and we closed our borders again. Arok was one of the blessed ones that came to the US, was sent to Colorado, and worked his way through school until he recently graduated from Colorado University with a degree in Economics.

Arok gets it.

He understands that he is to get educated so that he can become part of the solution to Sudan. He dreams of going back and helping educate his people. But, in the meantime, he showed me pictures of 15 children who are currently in school, but have no money to go back to the next term in September.

I saw the heaviness of his heart and I ache. I saw the desire to do anything he could to help get the message across that there is a sense of urgency. Without a chance to go to boarding school, eventually these kids will have to go back to Sudan and face the familiar dangers again: extreme poverty, a hostile government and army, and the open enemy of war. They will exist, but the cycle of poverty will continue to move from generation to generation.

This is my dream.

My dream is to see all 60 kids in boarding school and more. I dream of this Missio just being one of the areas that we focus on because each missional community will have their opportunity to see wholistic transformation come forth in their area of focus and passion.

Our intentional decision to make sacrifices of buiding and staff make it possible for the funds to be freed up to change a life; one life at a time. Right now we have 13 kids (photo above) who have sponsors who are making it possible for them to go to boarding school where they can be safe, fed and able to learn. Arok has 15 more kids that we need to find sponsors for so that next term, they can put their uniforms back on to return to school.

I know that one person can change a life, and it is my dream that out of these 60 kids, we can see not one life changed, but the entire nation of Sudan. Oh, God of Mercy, let it be so.

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