Golden Rule shines brightly
April 19 2002 by Craig Bird , BR Correspondent

Golden Rule shines brightly | Friday, April 19, 2002

Friday, April 19, 2002

Golden Rule shines brightly

By Craig Bird BR Correspondent

Call it: "Matthew 7:12 - The Rest of the Story," or, "How I ministered to Dinkas and got a lot more than I gave."

The official name is the St. John's Baptist Church Sudanese Relief Committee and the tall African men from the Dinka tribe are better known as members of The Lost Boys of Sudan. But whatever you call it, what is happening to the very heart and soul of the Charlotte church is worth talking about.

Because the do-gooders have been done well unto - St. John's has benefited in marvelous ways, according to eyewitnesses.

"Working with the Sudanese young men had brought before our church's eyes the trauma of an entire nation a world away," pastor Richard Kremer said. "Their stories of escape, survival, persistence and deliverance have reminded us in a profound way of how resilient is the human spirit and how amazing is the providence of God.

"Helping them adapt to our culture and watching them mature in every facet of their lives has been a delight and a blessing for St. John's. We have taught them much in ministering to them; we have gleaned a great blessing from their ministry to us."

Carl and Nina Phillips admit they were "looking for something to do" after retirement, something that also would get them more deeply involved in church again. Three months later David Thol and James Chol have gone far beyond a mission project. Like many of the Sudanese, they have become practically family.

"They look to us as their parents," Phillips said. "But they give us so much. The reason we volunteered (is that) we were inspired by their courage and their good spirits, in spite of the unbelievable hardships they suffered. Once we met them we were drawn by their warmth."

So while she teaches them to cook and does their laundry, and he teaches them computer skills, the Dinkas inspire them in unexpected ways.

"James had never seen a piano but he sat down one day and started picking out notes," Phillips said. Slowly a melody emerged that Nina recognized so she went over and started helping him. "Do you know this song?" she asked. "Oh yes, we sing this in Dinka," James replied. The song was "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing."

Lou and Nancy Fuller realized it would be good for their blended household of six children "to know that having everything is not how most of the world lives." Abraham Maker and Daniel Mayool have taught that and more.

"They are incredibly neat guys," 17-year-old Brooks said. "My other friends think they are pretty cool too. Realizing what they went through when they were eight or nine years old really helps me put things in perspective."

Morgan and Jane Newman married later than most and by the time they found they couldn't have children they were too old to adopt. They signed up for the mentoring program simply because it was a good thing and the right thing to do as Christians.

They never anticipated - or even thought - that Joseph Kur and Jacob Makol would provide them the thrill of parenting. Last Christmas, Morgan had a picture taken of himself and the two Dinkas, then mounted the photo on a frame with the words, "World's Best Mom."

It was Jane's favorite present - by far.

"I always wanted children," she said. "But I'll admit I never dreamed that my first child would be a 6'4" African."

Perhaps that is why the Golden Rule is golden.

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4/19/2002 12:00:00 AM by Craig Bird , BR Correspondent | with 0 comments
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