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CBN.com “The enemy was running after us, and my best friend was older than me. He was on the other side with me, and he told me, ‘Abraham, get into the water. Cross to the other side.’ But I told him I would not because I didn’t know how to swim.”
Abraham Deng was just 10 years old when he and thousands of other children were driven from refugee camps in Ethiopia.
“So we jump into the water, and we crawled to the other side. I thought I was going to die,” Abraham shares with The 700 Club. “About 2,000 lost boys and girls died in that river as a result of enemy attack. Some were eaten by crocodiles, and some got drown because they didn’t know how to swim.”
This wasn’t the first time Abraham’s life was threatened. The danger began the day he fled from Islamic militants attacking his home village in Sudan. He was just six years old.
He recalls, “As we’re attending cattle, we heard the sound of guns, and we tried to come back to the camp, but we met some kids who were running in different directions. They told us not to go to the camp because we would get killed.”
Abraham and some other boys ran into the jungle.
“I thought there would be a time for me to go back to the camp, and I’d eventually go and see my family in the village,” he says, “but that wasn’t possible, so we stayed in the jungle.”
Most of the children were young men and boys. They became known as “The Lost Boys of Sudan.”
Abraham didn’t know why he’d been separated from his family. He missed them and wondered if he’d ever see them again. Then a man came to their camp and gave him a message of hope.
“After some weeks, there was an Evangelist by the name of Barnabas,” he explains. “He led me to Christ. He talked to me several times and also to the other kids about having hope.”
Over the next decade, “The Lost Boys” searched for a place to call home.
He says, “I didn’t have any clothes. I had only a pair of shorts that I was wearing, and I didn’t have shoes with me. I didn’t know where I was going, so I thought eventually I would die.”
Abraham walked more than 1,000 miles across Africa with bare feet. He stayed in a refugee camp in Ethiopia for four years and in a camp in Kenya for nine. Though he survived the journeys, many of his friends did not.
“Some got killed, and some were eaten by the lion population in the area. Some died of exhaustion; they could not walk farther. Some died of starvation.”
Abraham eventually heard that his own father and five uncles had been killed. His mother’s fate was unknown. Abraham only knew that he missed her.
“There was nothing more significant than to be with your mother. You find [that you are] by yourself, missing all that comfort and parental love and care. It was so difficult.”
It would be 19 long years before he learned what happened to his mother.
Today, Abraham is no longer a little boy trekking through Africa. He’s a young man living in the United States. He was one of nearly 4,000 “Lost Boys” resettled in America.
Once here, Abraham was on a mission.
He says, “I had been praying to God when I was over there that God would make it possible for me to go to school.”
God listened to Abraham’s prayers. Through hard work and faith, he made his way to Southern Wesleyan University in South Carolina. There he began studying to become a doctor.
“I am going to touch people’s lives, spiritually and medically,” Abraham says. “I know for so many reasons that God brought me to the United States to impact the lives of other Christians here and to accomplish what He wants me to do. That is education.”
As Abraham followed God’s will for his life, his prayers continued to be answered. One day he got a phone call…
“I went on the phone and talked to that guy [who] told me, ‘Abraham, you don’t know me, but I have good news for you. Your mom is alive, and she is a refugee in Ethiopia.’ I could not believe.”
His new friend helped arrange a phone call between Abraham and his mother in Africa.
“Mom told me, ‘My son, your siblings want you to come and see them, and besides that, I’m getting old.’ It broke my heart, and I said, ‘Mom, I know you are getting old, and my siblings want to see me. I know God is going to open a way for me to see you all.”
And God did. Through donations from other Christians, Abraham was able to return to Africa in 2006. He finally felt his mother’s arms around him again!
“When I saw my mom for the first time in 19 years, my world was completely changed, and I could not help crying. My mom lifted me up into the air with my sister, and I ran into the small house. [She] has been kissing me and kept calling me all the nicknames she used when I was a little boy. I try to respond to her, but there is not a word that came out of my mouth. It’s very difficult to explain. It was amazing.”
Abraham and his family were overjoyed by God’s answer to their prayers. But Abraham was saddened by his family’s living conditions.
“There was a reason why God led me to go there. Not only to see my family, but to see what people are going through,” Abraham says. “My heart was broken when I was in camp.”
His own mother was suffering from both typhoid and chronic malaria. His brother-in-law needed immediate surgery. Fortunately, enough money had been raised for Abraham to pay for his brother’s surgery and to help many others. But Abraham wants to do much more.
“I give my life to God. ‘You do with me whatever You want. Just whatever You want of me, so that people have to come into Your kingdom.’ That is what I consider of myself. The reason I want to be a doctor is because there is a great need for doctors in my country. People die because of simple diseases. People die with no hope, and if I become a doctor, I will impact the lives of these people. I will tell them about God and take care of them medically. If one dies, I will give them that hope to die in Christ. So that’s what my mission is, and I know God is going to let me accomplish that.”
Abraham has returned to college to finish his degree. He plans to go to Africa again to see his family and to fulfill his calling. Though he’s had to overcome intense pain and tragedy in his 25 years, Abraham has also gained an indestructible faith.
“I know God is going to use me in a number of ways, not only in Sudan, but in many places," Abraham says. "Thank You so much for letting me suffer. Perhaps if I didn’t suffer, maybe I would not know God."
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