James turned his back on Kenya and the promise of opportunity, security and relative comfort in the United States to return home to the suffering of Sudan. He went without companionship or support. His pocket held only the $300.00 George William had given him so that he might have a means of survival.
At last, the day came when his long and difficult journey north was over. When the villagers’ eyes rose to observe the young man as he approached on the hot, dusty road to Nyamlell, it was as if a ghost had appeared from the past. The young boy who had disappeared in the chaos and bloodshed wrought that day by the Janjuweed so many years before had come home. Yet, no one ran to greet him. There were no songs of celebration sung in the streets.
James found a spot of shade beneath the sparse trees growing there on the edge of the Sahara and like John The Baptist, the voice crying in the wilderness long ago, began to offer his people the only gift he had in his possession to give them: hope.
He proclaimed the Word of God. He told them of the Suffering Savior. He implored them to drink of The Living Water.
“Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13&14)
And his people, for whom he had given up everything, rejected him. They mocked him, ridiculed him, and told him he was a “loser”.
It was an extraordinarily difficult time for James but he stayed true to the call of Christ on his life and then, one by one children began to come to him; children who had been orphaned by the Janjuweed. These children had no one to care for them and were scraping together a survival as best they could. Truly, they were among the poorest of the poor.
They were drawn to James because he knew how to read and they wanted to learn. So, James picked up the one school book he had in his possession and there under the trees he began to teach them.