Do you sometimes feel God stage-manages the events in your life so people, injustices, and oppression come into the spotlight for you to see?
He bring these matters to our attention, often in totally unexpected ways, because they are important to him. They should be significant to us, too.
I had one of these experiences just over a year ago.
I had not planned to meet Yar, but I believe God intended it—just as the proverb says:
On a couple of snowy, cold February days in Massachusetts my friend Danya Jordan, Executive Director of Donor Development for Proverbs 31 Ministries, came to visit me.
I planned out activities for us. I would take Danya to the women’s Bible study at our church, Grace Chapel in Lexington, on the Tuesday where four hundred women gather together. I was scheduled to give a five-minute presentation to the women about a new ministry I was helping to launch.
However, the day before Danya arrived, the Bible study leader asked if we could postpone our announcement until the following week. Days of snowstorms meant cancelled studies and other announcements were more pressing.
Frustrated by messed up plans, I wondered what else I could do.
We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God’s purpose prevails, says Proverbs 19:21.(MSG)
I remembered receiving an email from Gathering for Hope, a social justice ministry within Grace Chapel.
The ministry featured monthly speakers sharing on different social justice issues. It also provided opportunities to identify practical next steps so those attending could act on their newfound knowledge and invest in a cause to fight oppression and injustice.
This month’s speaker was a woman named Yar Ayuel from South Sudan. After wandering for weeks through the wilderness to escape the northern Sudanese militia, Yar Ayuel arrived at a refugee camp in Kenya and was eventually brought with her younger brother to the United States to live with a foster family.
I decided to shift around our plans—out for a typical New England dinner in Boston on Tuesday and attend Gathering for Hope on Wednesday. Yar’s story would be of interest to Danya, I thought, as the President of Proverbs 31, Lysa TerKeurst, had adopted two Lost Boys of Sudan.
“Lysa’s two adopted sons are from Liberia, not Sudan,” said Danya. Oh well, I thought, we might as well still go.
We heard Yar’s story.
Of the 3,800 Sudanese children admitted into the United States during the second Sundanese civil war, only eighty nine were girls.
The media latched onto the Lost Boys’ story. Their journey has been widely recounted. You may have seen the recent movie, The Good Lie, which follows the lives of three of these boys.
However, the story of Lost Girls has been overlooked and the horrors of their plight ignored.
Yar wants to do more than tell her unique life story and harrowing experience as a young girl orphaned in war-torn Southern Sudan: “I want to give a voice to the refugee experience of Sudanese girls today. Sudan is rarely in the news yet the crisis is ongoing and rendering more and more children ‘lost’—orphaned due to war atrocities.”
Yar’s story illuminates the need to reach out to female refugees in South Sudan, and throughout the world, as they are a vulnerable population.
“How can we help,” a person asked at Gathering for Hope, on that evening just over a year ago. “Start a blog, Yar,” was one suggestion. “Rachel can help her,” piped up another attendee.
So here we are, a year later. I met with Yar a few weeks ago—when Danya was visiting again.
On Tuesday, I asked you to pray for the leaders of South Sudan.
Over the next few weeks I am going to take you on Yar’s journey and the bold steps she has made throughout her life from when she was a young girl to a woman and mother today.
I hope you will join me as I help Yar tell her story, I whisper “yes” to God, and we bring to your attention the suffering of women and girls in South Sudan and help them discover their worth.
How is God directing your own steps and what bold journey is he taking you on to shine his light on people, injustices and oppression?