and satisfy the needs of the afflicted…
Reflection by The Rev’d Dr. Chloe Tischler Chavez
Faith embodies the actions of those who have ordered their lives around their hope in God. This perfectly describes the faith of an amazing group of Sudanese men I had the privilege of meeting while on a cross cultural mission trip in Kenya, Africa.
As youth, these men were orphaned and displaced, along with nearly 20,000 other boys from the Neur and Dinka tribal populations. Ranging from toddlers to teens, hundreds of them joined together to search for refuge and safety from the Southern Sudanese Civil War. Traveling by foot their migration took them across three countries to areas in Ethiopia and Kenya.
Suffering starvation, sickness and attacks by lions, crocodiles and enemy soldiers, over half of the Lost Boys perished on this tragic journey. One member of the group named Sam told me that each day brought hunger pains, bloody feet, and death. Yet each day also brought the opportunity to place confidence in God’s ability to meet them in their affliction and to satisfy, fulfill and care for their needs. Sam said he and his adopted brothers knew they were loved by God; they weren’t lost to the One whose heart beats for the cast out and the afflicted.
In time, their plight as the ‘Lost Boys’ became known across the world where thousands reached out with love, assistance and support. Those called by God to be instruments of help, hope and healing for these afflicted youth became mothers, fathers, friends, employers, neighbors, teachers and mentors.
Christians live by faith, basing our earthly lives and eternal destiny on what is not visible to the human eye. However, when we seek to satisfy or fulfill the needs of the distressed or the tormented, our lives become the evidence of the things not seen in the tangible actions of loving and caring for others.
Question for reflection:
- What changes in your life might you have to make to become God’s instrument of satisfying the needs of the afflicted?
The Rev’d. Dr. Chloe Tischler Chavez is an ordained priest and has her doctorate in Criminology and Corrections. She serves as the Missioner to the Displaced and Homeless for the Diocese of the Rio Grande and is the Vicar of Our Lady in the Valley Episcopal Church, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Chloe has an extensive background working and teaching in the field of Criminal Justice and has served numerous disenfranchised populations. She and her husband, Ruben, enjoy camping and their five blessed pets.
Video: Sudan’s ‘Lost Boys & Girls’ find new life in Utah
The Episcopal Church has long welcomed refugees from all parts of the world, and has a special relationship with Sudanese refugees, many of whom are Episcopalians. This 2013 video provides a glimpse into the lives of Sudanese Episcopalians in Utah as they celebrated Easter. Learn more about American Friends of the Episcopal Church of the Sudans.