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Real Life Hunger Games: Andrew Mohandis

I’ve had something on my mind all week, and keep thinking I’ll write a post.  Then I don’t.  I’m not good at much, but I’m GREAT at procrastinating!  Which makes me realize, if all I do is have great thoughts, but no action due to great procrastination, I’ll experience my own great hunger.  Just some “food for thought” for myself.  I do bounce around a bit…sorry!  🙂

Normally (well, always) my wife uploads my posts because she actually knows how to do it.  But she explained a few things to me the other day, so I thought I’d give it a go on my own today.  Here’s to hoping my attempt is successful. (And if you’re reading these words, it has been!)


Sunday I had an opportunity to hear from Andrew Mohandis, a young refugee from South Sudan.  Due to God’s mighty work, Andrew is now attending college near where I live.  I call him a “refugee” because he has been delivered from a life of unbelievable danger.  As a boy, he and his family were ripped apart when some of his siblings were abducted.  He and his parents then spent several years living in the woods, eating whatever they could find for survival.  His father taught him to hunt and fish, and also encouraged him to share his blessings with others who were living in the forest—family or not.

After a few years, U.N. Peacekeepers were able to establish some semblance of safety for the people of South Sudan.  At that time, Andrew’s family moved back to their village.  However, there were still weekly attacks, including bombs dropped from airplanes.  The U.N. workers would sound an alarm, and all of the villagers would run to take cover in foxholes they had dug themselves.  Andrew spoke of how this was a time of singing and praying for him and his family, but also a time of loss, as there were almost always casualties somewhere in the village.  By the time Andrew was a teenager, some missionaries had helped him attend high school in Uganda, but even there, he witnessed much bloodshed.

Andrew concluded his time of testimony by sharing with us that, as much as he enjoys the freedom and safety of life in the U.S., his plans are to return to South Sudan and begin a school there to help other young children who need love, food, security, and education.  He’s been blessed for these past few years with a life he could have never imagined when fighting to survive out in his boyhood jungle.  Yet he is itching to return to that war-torn area, so he can be a greater blessing to others.  Powerful.

You can read some of Andrew’s testimony, in his own words, here:


I’ve thought frequently of Andrew this week.  His story and some of your blogposts have reminded me of how important it is to “count my blessings” and not get caught up in my own problems or worries.  And Scripture has served as another great reminder!

But then this morning, my wife and I were talking about the book The Hunger Games (which I’m currently reading), and she mentioned something about how some of the characters in the book had the benefit of not being hungry.  It was these people who had the luxury of being entertained.  Any number of things could entertain them—even the starvation and deaths of those less fortunate.  And in that conversation, I realized that one of my greatest problems is that I live with the luxury of being entertained.  So much so, that when not “entertained,” I have the luxury of dwelling on my own worries a bit too much! 

In days to come, I hope I will be more like my new friend Andrew: Thankful for this luxury I now know, but hungrier than ever to share my blessings—however meager they may be—with those who don’t have the luxury of being entertained.

16 responses »

  1. I think there are probably multiple factors at work in your life and Andrew’s life, including “Referrent Other” theory. But more than anything I think the Holy Spirit is at work in shaping your heart and opening your eyes to the abundant blessings around you.

    One thing that strikes me about your post is how often I’ve heard people return from missions trips remark at how happy the poorest of the world seem to be. From an American perspective this seems paradoxical because we equate possessions and achievement with happiness (including myself). Ironically, success and achievement are two of the greatest triggers for my own depression. I get upset when my achievement and success are threatened; I become extremely insecure…so what, exactly, is benefiting me from being successful and owning so many posessions?

    During his 3 1/2 year ministry, I don’t know that Jesus owned anything besides the clothes on his back…He tells us he was homeless…and yet he was the most joyful, well-grounded person in history. Strange, no?

    • R.M…you always bring much wisdom and spiritual insight to any topic you address. Really appreciate your thoughts here!

      One of the things I didn’t mention in the post, but perhaps should have, is how HAPPY this guy is! He laughed at everything, and it was a genuine, joy-filled laughter. No pretenses at all…I loved being around him, just knowing that he loved God & life so much!

  2. This was really ‘food’ for thought. No pun intended…but seriously. I agree wholeheartedly about what you are saying. I actually read the hunger games and then saw the movie. After reading the books I felt like I needed to pay attention to how I could make a difference in the world. After watching the movie….I felt dirty. Like I was just as bad as the people of the capital, being entertained by watching others suffer. The movie was brutal and left me emotionally battered. Some times I think we go too far with what we ‘entertain’ ourselves with. There may be a lesson to be learned from the books, but choosing to watch children kill each other in full color, on a big screen, that we PAID for….not so good.
    Thanks for your thoughts. Much appreciated.

  3. I am so grateful that you shared this during Lent, a time when we’re all called to reflect on the Lord’s blessings and consider what we might do to walk more closely with Him. I hope you won’t mind that I shared this on Facebook.

  4. This is a great post, sweetie. Very insightful and moving. I loved discussing the book and movie with you, as well as listening to you describe the connections between The Hunger Games and Andrew’s real life.

    You know I had already read this a couple of times, but I was stopping by to see if you had posted anything new yet. Now that I know you can handle it all on your own, new posts might pop up at any time!

    If you’d like to write a poem, here are this week’s words:
    1) mint
    2) nourish
    3) natural
    4) aloe
    5) salt
    6) healing
    7) June
    8) drift
    9) absence
    10) grass

    We are very blessed; thank you for the reminders.

  5. That is just WOW. I firmly believe if you survive an ordeal like that, you are created to achieve something great. I hope Andrew stays his course and finds out what that “great” is.

    • You’ve said it perfectly…he is certainly called to do great things with his life and is well on his way to making a real difference in the lives of other young students who live in that area.

  6. Pingback: A Very Important “Mother’s Day Story” « New View From Here

  7. purpleowltree1234

    Wow! This is an awesome post!! There’s SO much I could say here.. I’m going to have to do a post on the difference between life in wartorn or desperatey poor countries, and life in Western countries. Having grown up mostly in the Philippines, and for the first few years there in an extrEmely remote mountain village, this post brings up a Lot of stuff for me, really meaningful stuff. I need to keep reminding myself to appreciate what I have and help those who come into my circle whom I can do anything useful for. I fall into complacence so often, even having lived in Extreme poverty and war, having SEEN that. I too played in a foxhole. Our family was meant to be killed twice by the local communists (sounds funny, killed twice- how can anyone be killed twice?). So many people were dying around us contantly that my mom opened a clinic which ran from our kitchen/dining room and our front verandah. Our whole house was 20 foot by 20 foot. After my mom started treating people there (she was only trained as a baby and toddler nurse- used to train others in this in Australia), only two babies died after that whom she treated, in our 13 years there. Countless adults and kids survived when previously they would definitely have died. The village was 44 kilometres from the nearest road. No electircity, running water, gas. In all there were about 2000 people in that language area. I have to remind myself again and again to count my Many MANY blessings, to remember how life was there, to remember I’m in a priviledged position to be able to help Lots of people around the world. I’m on a disability pension and I can still help Lots of people in dire need. We are the extremely lucky ones. The minority. There is someone we can help TODAY. Ah, I’m rambling now. Will post this here. Just.. thank you for this post. I rejoice in Mohandis’s story. It gives me hope.
    Love from Rach.


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