Experience the Life of a Refugee Family
by Diane Morrow Tuesday, April 07, 2009
The Gonlehs were devoted Christians, but the ravages of war and the loss of three of their children would push their faith to the breaking point. They battled hunger, disease, and the daily possibility of death at the hands of rebel soldiers—children armed with automatic weapons. Surprisingly, at one point during their journey Bessie became a mother figure to a group of these soldiers, who seemed for a moment more like Peter Pan’s lost boys than cold-blooded killers. John and Bessie’s faith sustained them in their most difficult times, but they were only human. Even as they witnessed great miracles, they struggled against crushing doubts—doubts so powerful that John, a Baptist minister, nearly succumbed to the temptation to become a murderer himself.
Refuge interprets the Gonlehs’ heartbreak with emotional and spiritual integrity. There is no neat, tidy resolution, no dishing out of platitudes or denial of harsh reality. “Our family has suffered much. Many times we don’t agree with what God allows to happen because it hurts us, or those we love, and we can’t understand. Those are difficult, painful times.” John emphasizes. “but we refuse to live in fear.”
From the first page, he captures readers and thrusts them into the action. The Gonlehs spent months traveling through the Liberian bush with their six children, seeking refuge in tribal villages as they made their way to the border of Ivory Coast. Their youngest child died from a mysterious disease during the journey. They spent years in United Nations camps for displaced persons in both Ivory Coast and Guinea. One of their daughters was confirmed dead in an attack in Ivory Coast, and another has been missing since the same day. During their years as refugees, the Gonlehs were also blessed with the births of two more children. Readers will feel an overwhelming sense of relief as the story reaches its conclusion, finally reuniting the youngest Gonleh children with their parents in America.
This book holds a powerful appeal for a variety of audiences. For those who desire a deeper understanding of current events and African culture, the book’s vivid firsthand descriptions of civil war, child soldiers, the exodus of displaced people, and life in a United Nations refugee camp put a human face on the present crises in places like Uganda, Darfur, and other parts of Sudan. It is impossible to read this book and remain unchanged by it. Readers will never look at Africa—or life—in the same way again.
Contact: Diane Morrow 800-927-1517 firstname.lastname@example.org
Diane Morrow is Vice President of Publicity for The B&B Media Group based in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
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