This past weekend Dave and I watched most of the documentary God Grew Tired of Us about the Lost Boys of Sudan who left their homes during the long, drawn-out war between north Sudan and south Sudan (as of 2011 a separate country). Thousands upon thousands of South Sudanese were displaced by the conflict, among them 20,000 boys who trekked their way to Ethiopia, finding relief (those who didn’t die on the long journey) of a sort in refugee camps there. Violence forced them to move again, and those who survived eventually settled in camps in Kenya. They were dubbed the “lost boys of Sudan,” and the documentary tells the story of a few who were eventually relocated in the United States (you can watch it free on Hulu). It isn’t short, so if you are interested, you’ll need to set aside a couple hours to watch it. Warning: there’s footage and pictures of boys close to death from starvation, so not one to watch with small children. There is another film (which I have not seen) on this story titled, appropriately, Lost Boys of Sudan.
This is a popular topic, made so by the films and books written on it and by the involvement of the actor George Clooney. Due to the publicity, many of the lost boys who settled in the U.S. were able to begin relief work in their country and to advocate for their country’s separation from northern Sudan. When South Sudan gained its independence, many of them returned to celebrate. However, violence has broken out in Sudan again. John Bul Dau explains the conflict well in an article by National Geographic. Here’s another article about it at the New York Times. South Sudanese are being displaced once again.
I know this is only one of hundreds of conflicts in our world today, one of hundreds of issues that grieve God’s heart, but it’s the particular one I prayed for this morning. I was reading Isaiah 63, and this verse jumped out at me: “I (God) was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed. So I myself stepped in to save them with my strong arm, and my wrath sustained me” (verse 5). The “oppressed” who came to my mind when I read that were the South Sudanese. I did some quick research, read about the current conflict, and wanted to share.
ADDITION: World Vision, of course, is already in the area and taking donations for their efforts. Here’s the link if you want to read more/donate: World Vision.