Claude, along with his dad, mom and sisters arrived in the United States two and a half years ago from Africa as refugees unable to safely return to their home in the Congo. They left the dangers of rebel leaders in the Congo to spend time among refugee populations in Rawanda, Tanzania and Uganda, often traveling on foot. Eventually they were among the few that are selected to come to our country with status as a refugee. Only one percent of refugees receive safe haven in a western or european country.
I met Claude in our teen club where he often attends with some of his sisters, pictured here. He and I became quick friends and began to have a weekly bible study together. He was attending a government program called Job Corps where he was receiving vocational training while he took classes to complete his High School diploma. It was a live in program during the week so I would go visit him there and then take him out for a snack and bible study.
At Jack in the Box I introduced him to the first milk shake he had ever tasted. We would return for more over the next several months. English is a little difficult for him so he would read the bible in his tribal language while I read in English and then we would talk about the passage. I tried to help him with his English along the way. It was a challenge for him to pass his English competency exam to graduate from high school, but he was finally successful.
I went to his graduation last week where he graduated at the top of his class of about 30 students. He was selected to be the student speaker at graduation, along with some other honors, and he did a great job on his speech. I’m so proud of him. One of his teachers told me that he was an amazing math student and should have no problem of pursuing his goal of becoming an engineer. This fall he hopes to attend community college and begin taking classes in this field of study.
It is amazing to watch a young person who has already overcome so much in life come alive as he discovers new opportunities to be grateful for. It is especially satisfying to see him do it under the direction of the Holy Spirit as he pursues a relationship with God. I am praying that college will be a great experience for him and that he will discover news ways to serve God that he never imagined before. What a priviledge to walk through life with young people like this.