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The Lost Boys

No, I didn’t get lost again!

This is about an incredible movie we recently saw, God Grew Tired of Us. It chronicles the heart-wrending, stomach-turning, mind-blowing journey of the Lost Boys of Sudan.

God Grew Tired of Us

These boys were the last remnants of a mainly African Christian people, systematically being wiped out by African Muslims in a vicious African civil war. I remember reading a little about this; this from agapepress.org:

(AgapePress) – Members of mainline Protestant denominations will be participating in a prayer vigil for the persecuted church in Sudan.

The Church Alliance for a New Sudan is a project designed to bring churches into leadership in the grassroots movement of advocacy for Sudan. From September 18-24, the Alliance will be holding what it is calling “Stand Firm: A Vigil for Sudan,” which will be held in a park across from the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C.

Alliance director Faith McDonnell says Sudan is the worst example of Christian persecution in the world, and she notes that 2.5 million people have died and five million more have been displaced from their homes.

“Their villages have been attacked and burned, and there are people who are either living in swamps or in refugee camps in different areas,” McDonnell says. “It’s a terrible war. The origin of the war is that the government of Sudan wants to impose Islamic law and make Sudan an Islamic Arab country.”

…”When Madelyn Albright was the Secretary of State, she made a remark to our Sudan coalition that Sudan was not marketable to the American people,” she says. “So we’re really having this vigil to prove that wrong … [and] to say yes, the American people care about Sudan, the churches in America care about Sudan, and we want to stand with our Christian brothers and sisters who are being persecuted.”

The movie does not delve into the political aspects behind the Lost Boys. It tells us the story of the Lost Boys themselves.

Orphaned by a tumultuous civil war and traveling barefoot across the sub-Saharan desert, John Bul Dau, Daniel Abol Pach and Panther Blor were among the 25,000 “Lost Boys” (ages 3 to 13) who fled villages, formed surrogate families and sought refuge from famine, disease, wild animals and attacks from rebel soldiers. Named by a journalist after Peter Pan’s posse of orphans who protected and provided for each other, the “Lost Boys” traveled together for five years and against all odds crossed into the UN’s refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya. A journey’s end for some, it was only the beginning for John, Daniel and Panther, who along with 3800 other young survivors, were selected to re-settle in the United States.

Of course, because the movie was partly produced by National Geographic, the Christian persecution aspect is not made clear. I hope our memories are not too short to remember that churches in America wanted to help these Boys long before anyone else did. Because of the churches’ tireless work, the Lost Boys were finally “marketed” to us.

At the start, the movie mercilessly takes the viewer through the desolate deserts to the refugee camps where the Boys got food and clothing and built a small community. But they were aimless and hopeless and despaired for their lost families. After fifteen years in these camps, with no hope of finding their families nor of returning to Sudan, the United States finally rose her torch to these Boys:

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

The movie tells us of their journey to America and their shock-and-awe introduction into modern society. Some of it is very amusing, like when the Boys discover an electric light for the first time. Some of it is very convicting, when they wonder why Americans celebrate Santa Claus, and not Jesus Christ, for Christmas. Some of the Lost Boys were settled in Syracuse, New York, so it does have some local interest.

I especially like the parts where the young men tell of their prejudiced perceptions of America (guns and car crashes everywhere!) and then tell of their surprise to find that America is not as violent as Hollywood depicts us. I was both shamed and filled with empathy as I watched these bubbly, gregarious young men snubbed into lonely despondency by our steely cold, unfriendly culture. One group of businessmen had the local police forbid the men from walking together in groups, because the business owners were afraid of them. They were still lonely, they were still lost, and they longed to see their beloved Nile and their mothers again. The movie has a happy ending, but expect to shed a few tears along the way.

It is an excellent movie for American youths to see. Truly America is so very unique in this world. We are a very blessed people to have such abundance and freedom; it is sinfully easy to take it for granted. So very few people live as we do. God Grew Tired of Us opens our eyes to a world beyond Syracuse, beyond the United States, into a land and people of utter turmoil and unconditional community. It is a good lesson for heart and soul.

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About the Author

I've been traveling throughout New York State since I got the travel bug after touring the Herkimer Home on a school field trip as a youngster. We've been blogging about our travels since 2006 and have visited over half of New York's 62 counties so far.

Comments (4)

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  1. patrick says:

    i’ve been meaning to see this , but it’s always checked out from Blockbuster.

  2. Patrick, you have GOT to see this movie! Your local library probably has a copy. It costs me nothing to check out movies at my library.

  3. Alison says:

    Sorry to go off topic here, but did you try photographing your doodles instead for doodle week?

  4. I feel a spiel coming on (apologies in advance)
    ^-^/…”Sudan was not marketable to the American people.”
    Sigh.
    This is a great film–I’ve purchased it for several people in my life. I first saw it at a church John Dau was there. Beautiful. Amazing. 🙂 I smile just thinking about the end of this film.
    You’d think that more African-Americans would have this amazing tie to our continent–but, working with kids and parents and people–there’s relatively nothing. I am so blessed to be in their lives with a spirit of joy–to share. Public schools are not helping kids walk taller–at worst they’re just holding cells/babysitting institutions and at best no child is left behind? I say that the forefathers of these United States must be ecstatic at how their brainwashing has lived on. I remember growing up learning that Africa was nothing but starvation, desert and flies. Luckily God had a plan for me. By making me investigative and aware of deception He made me seek truth. I see why it’s so buried–it’s rather ugly and it’s face is of those people in power from essentially one continent: EUROPE. He also gave me HIS eye of Africa–I see nothing but family there. And it hurts to see family suffering.
    Amen. And oh, HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!! Your kids are blessed to have you!