Paul and I watched the documentary, God Grew Tired of Us over the weekend. Click on the link and you can watch it online if interested. It chronicles the story of some of the "Lost Boys of Sudan."
in 1987 Sudan's Muslim government pronounced death to all males in the Christian south and a mass migration of boys began into neighbouring Ethiopia, and later, in 1991, to Kenya, by which time their numbers had dwindled through starvation and illness to 12,000.
The documentary follows several of the boys eventually accepted into the U.S. as refugees, and one of them, John Bul Dau, has been on my mind since, I watched it.
"I feel I survived because God wants to do something with my life," Dau shares. "I don't want to waste any of the time I have left. So many people are still in Sudan needing clinics, schools, and churches. I cannot forget them."
Several things stick with me as a result of watching the documentary. One is the immense innate dignity and depth of character of John Bul Dau. He is a man tall in stature and in principle.
Western society is built on individualism, whereas in Africa, the tribe supersedes the individual. Watching John Bul Dau transition to the west was to see the contrast in action. Far from being dazzled by opportunities for personal achievement, he never lost his focus on sharing whatever God gave him here, to help those left behind--thousands, still in a refugee camp and whom he thinks of, with a deep sense of duty, as his family.
We would think of life in the camp in Kenya as difficult and deprived of much that we think is "good," and yes, it is, but there are things that are enviable in that poor community. That was brought home to me when John observed preparations for Christmas in his new home of Syracuse, New York. He looked in dismay and amusing confusion at Santa Claus and Christmas trees and asked repeatedly, "But what does this have to do with Christmas?" And then he described how on Christmas Eve in the camp, there is a celebration with jubilant dancing, celebrating the coming to earth of Jesus Christ.
The dancing is shown in the documentary and I found my heart wistful. We are about to embark on the celebration of Christmas 2011. It can become crazy with excess and stress, but it doesn't have to be that way. I learned from John that less can be more. I want his kind of more--more of Jesus who came here poor and lived homeless--and who I follow and love dearly. I want to consider carefully how I celebrate him this year, because right now a plane to a camp in Kenya for Christmas Eve is on my wish list!