It was several months ago, around the holidays if I am recalling with any accuracy, that Auguste and I finally watched the documentary, God Grew Tired of Us.
God Grew Tired of Us chronicles the story of three of the “Lost Boys of Sudan”:
In 1987, at age thirteen, John Dau fled his home in Southern Sudan, narrowly escaping troops sent to exterminate all Black Christian males. As his village was burned, women raped, children enslaved, and young men shot, Dau began a perilous journey spanning more than 1,000 miles and fourteen years.
He joined thousands of boys, now known as the “Lost Boys of Sudan,” who were crossing sub-Saharan Africa on foot-pursued by armed soldiers, wild animals, starvation, dehydration, and disease. “We chewed tall grasses and ate mud to stay alive,” Dau remembers. “I was barefoot and wearing no clothes; at night the desert was so cold. We thought about our parents all the time.”
As one of the older boys, Dau led and cared for younger children. More than half of them died.
John Dau survived horrible circumstances and arrived in the United States in 2001, just two weeks before September 11th. Today he is the founder and president of The John Dau Sudan Foundation, created to build and support health clinics and other programs in Southern Sudan. The Foundation has finally brought modern healthcare to Southern Sudan.
I had the pleasure of meeting John Dau and interviewing him for Dana Delivered. Last week he was Inspiring People’s featured guest. Auguste and I sat Sunday night and reviewed the interview together, to check for typos and other mistakes, as we usually do. But what was wholly unusual was the fact that we were both simultaneously and quietly moved to tears as we imagined what kind of man would emerge from that kind of experience to be such a force of goodness for other people.
His words gave us courage:
DR: What is the wisest thing that anyone has ever said to you?
JD: There have been many, but one of the wisest things was said to me by a doctor from the Philippines who had been traveling from one place to another helping people. She said something very simple but I take it to heart—“How can you fear failure when you are doing God’s work?”
That means that you can never ever fail when you are doing God’s work. What is God’s work? God’s work is anything that is good that promotes human dignity, that promotes fairness, that promotes justice, that promotes health and the well-being of everybody! That is God’s work and that has nothing to do with religion.
How can you fear failure when you are doing God’s work? I don’t fear anything right now.
May God continue to bless you, John Bul Dau, and the wonderful work that you are doing.