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C-N Chapel Series to Focus on Overcoming Adversity

Lost No More – Along with thousands of other Sudanese children, Abraham Deng spent years trying to stay alive in war-torn, famine-stricken conditions. The McAfee School of Theology student will share his story Tuesday morning in the first of three “Overcoming Odds” services.

Carson-Newman’s Campus Ministries Office and Worship Planning Team will offer three September chapel services with first-person testimonies of transcending life’s obstacles, including those which might seem insurmountable. The series, titled “Overcoming Odds,” will begin at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, September 11 with Abraham Deng, known as one of “The Lost Boys of Sudan.”

The following Tuesday (September 18) will feature women from Knoxville’s Teen Challenge ministry. The series will conclude on September 25 with testimony from both Lisa Price, a Jefferson City photographer and businesswoman, and C-N student Andrew Merical.

“Some 75 percent of a college student’s life and development takes place outside of class, and we strive to influence that growth process through Tuesday chapel offerings, part of our Community Life and Worship program,” said C-N Campus Minister Nenette Measels. “We provide spiritual and ministerial opportunities to help shape their hearts, just as we seek to sharpen their minds. Many students will encounter unimaginable difficulties, and some have already. Abraham Deng and our other guests will serve as evidence of survival and victory.”

In 1987, Deng was a six-year boy helping tend cows with cousins when his village of Duk was among areas attacked by Sudanese government forces. When other children ran for the chance to live, so did he. His makeshift entourage walked more than 100 miles in about three months, living off leaves, fruit, roots and sometimes, what they might find on an animal carcass. They finally made it to Pignudo Refugee Camp in Ethiopia, only to have meals that consisted of corn kernels and a handful of beans. He attended a United Nations school where he learned to write in the dirt. The best thing about Pignudo was an encounter with a Christian named Barnabas Bol. He gave Abraham spiritual encouragement and helped draw him to strong faith in God and belief in Jesus.

Governmental upheaval in 1991 brought more turmoil. Ethiopian forces pushed refugees as far as the Gilo River, and then strafed the crowd with bullets, forcing kids into crocodile-infested waters. Another six months of walking delivered some 12,000 boys and girls to another camp in Kenya. Abraham later learned his father had been killed in 1993 and lived for years believing his mother was also murdered. Now an MDiv student at Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology, Deng seeks to “impart hope to the hopeless” as he shares his story and credits God with the victory.

Other Tuesday chapel services throughout the semester will include Tennessee Baptist Convention President Dr. Fred Shackelford on October 2 and, on October 9, C-N trustee and pastor of Grace Baptist Church, Dr. Ron Stewart. Three other services will explore social justice issues; they are: Christian artist Eric Samuel Timm on October 16, Dr. Wayne Barnard of the International Justice Mission on November 6, and Mike Hamilton, president of U.S. Operations for Blood Water Ministries, on December 4.

The services, held each Tuesday morning, are free and open to the public. A full schedule is available on the Campus Ministries section of www.cn.edu, or by calling 865-471-3537.

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