"Woman, what is your problem?" -- Daniel Abol Pach
"God does not create me as a very tall person [~7 feet] for nothing. I have a role to play, a duty to do something. People will know we care when we show it. We are ambassadors." -- John Bul Dau
God Grew Tired of Us (DVD), 2006 Lost Boys of Sudan, National Geographic Films/Newmarket Films, Christopher Quinn and Tommy Walker.
Daniel and John are two of the 86,000 Lost Boys displaced from their homes along the Nile River in southern Sudan when Muslim troops invaded, killing their families and destroying their homes. Many were from the Christian-oriented Dinka tribe. For ten years about 27,000 five- to ten-year-old boys who survived wandered and fled to Ethiopia. There they found safe haven in refugee camps for three years. In 1997 government instability forced them to flee again. Thousands died. Five years later and their numbers decimated even more, 12,000 of these boys gathered at a refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya.
God Grew Tired of Us follows Daniel and John as they are relocated by the US government to Pittsburgh, PA and Syracuse, NY. Granted a new lease on life, these now-young men work hard to be educated and obtain jobs. They battle the images of war and miss their "brothers". While in the refugee camps they coped by holding "Parliament", a gathering when feeling hopeless to come up with ideas to help each other, sing, dance, and even laugh. On the "Black Days" when the camps ran out of food and wood, they commiserated in their hunger, waiting and hoping.
Three years after Daniel had been in Pittsburgh he worked in the produce section ofa Whole Foods Market. He noted that God had given him a good personality and sensitivity to people with needs. Once he saw a woman crying in his section. No one comforted her, which triggered images of Daniel's life in the camps. He approached her and asked what her problem was. He listened. She found solace. Daniel said, "Whatever our gifts, we can learn to help people in many ways." Be a friend.
John has become a leader for the Lost Boys now living in 23 states. He sees his life as a journey from Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, and now to the US. When asked what he was studying in college, he said, "All". Masterfully observant, he wanted to find ways to transform his difficult, lonely past into an outpouring of care for others. Prayerfully he implored, "Let my eyes and tears turn to love and happiness."
On April 1-12 our 23rd international team will return to Vietnam for the 19th time.
The accounts of the Lost Boys inspire us because their losses and suffering taught them how to befriend others who struggle; a unique bond of "knowing".
Face the Challenge also wants to continue to minister to others and offer our gifts of surgical skills and friendship to care for the impoverished and lonely.
Enclosed are four pictures taken on our last trip in April 2008 of patients and their parents:
1.) Dr. Randy Robinson holding six-month-old Truong with a unilateral cleft lip. Please see the "Real Stories" link below to learn more.
2.) Anh, the loving mother caring for her 22-year-old daughter who suffers from massive facial fractures, only partially repaired. They are from a motor vehicle accident that occurred three weeks prior. While she did not receive surgery by our team, she represents many of the trauma victims we now see and treat. In addition to her pan-facial (dish-shaped) fractures, she also suffers from memory and visual losses.
3.) Gabi Stevens, and Cuc, recovery nurses, care for 9 y.o. Tuyen who had an ankylosis (frozen jaw joint) release done by the FTC team. Many people are screened with this complex condition, sometimes caused by birth trauma or untreated jaw fractures from child- or adulthood.
4.) 7 m.o. Khang is held by his mother and watched by his sister after his bilateral cleft lip was repaired. Initially the Vietnamese rejected him from having surgery due to an enzyme deficiency. But the FTC team persuaded the staff to allow his surgery, deemed and proved to be safe.
Our next team to Ho Chi Minh City will include:
- Randy Robinson, MD, DDS, Craniomaxillofacial Surgeon, Centennial, CO, Leader
- Capt. Belinda "BC" Shauver, CRNA, Nurse Anesthetist, Jacksonville, FL
- Michelle Jaskunas, RN, BSN, CNOR, CST, Operating Room Nurse, Denver, CO
- Cindy Niles, RN, Operating Room Nurse, Golden, CO
- Gabi Stoeger-Stevens, BSN, RN, Post-Anesthesia Care Nurse, Evergreen, CO
- Ginger Robinson, BSN, RN, Liaison/Post-Anesthesia Care, Centennial, CO
Each member desires to offer his or her gifts to alleviate suffering and give hope, showing others that they care in the most difficult of times. Projected per person costs are: $3,500-4,000.
For patient accounts from the last trip go to: www.facethechallenge.org "Real Stories":
6 m.o. Thach in "If Kisses Could Heal", 6 m.o. Truong in "Walk With Me",
9 y.o. Tuyen in "Humble Thanks", 12 y.o. Kim in "My Son is Saved by Your Team", and
4 y.o. Lanh in "1000 Vietnamese Dong from Long An".
Earthquake Relief, Cheng Du, Sichuan Province, China (South-Central), May 20-July 1
FTC donated $12,000 in funds to Chinese Children Charities (CCC, www.chinesechildren.org ) to provide shelter, clothing, food, and medications for the orphaned with facial deformities and newly-orphaned from the 7.9 magnitude earthquake on May 11. FTC networked with CCC during a surgical mission to Xining, Qinghai Province, China in May 2005. This CCC team provided pediatric cleft repair surgeries, including for children from Tibet. Given the tremendous needs of many orphans and our ongoing relationship with CCC, FTC offered these relief funds.
"Love should give wings to the feet of service, and strength to the arms of work. . . . Do something for Jesus worthy of His love."
— Charles Spurgeon.
We remain deeply grateful for our many supporters in the past 15 years who pray for His mighty arm to work and help make it possible for us to travel and show others we love and care for them.
"For Christ's love compels us."
— 2 Corinthians 5:14
Randy and Ginger Robinson