Today God gave me an early Christmas gift.
I went to the hospital to get a routine blood draw to check the level of a particular medication. The technician introduced himself to me as I followed him back to the lab.
"I am Abraham," he said with a thick accent. He was very tall and thin, with skin like ebony satin.
"May I ask what country you are from?" I instinctively knew his answer.
"Do you know Africa? I am from Sudan."
"Yes. I am in this country by the grace of God. I had to escape from my country."
As a former newspaper journalist, I longed to sit and talk with him at great length, learning his story, getting to know him. But of course I couldn't. I knew that he was on a tight schedule, and I certainly didn't want to cause him any problems.
"I have prayed for you for years," I said as he filled the vial, "without knowing you."
"It is an honor to meet you," I gathered up my coat and handbag. "Merry Christmas."
"Merry Christmas to you, also."
We met. We talked. We parted. All in a span of about five minutes. But I will never forget meeting Abraham of Sudan, one of the lost boys.
If you don't know who the lost boys (and girls) of Sudan are and what they have endured, their stories are easily available on the Internet. Many, if not most, suffer persecution because of their Christian faith.