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They Come Back Singing: Finding God with the Refugees Kindle Edition

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Length: 248 pages

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Where do you go after two decades of working with poor and homeless people, inmates and the mentally ill living in low-income hotels? For Smith, a Jesuit priest and author of Radical Compassion, the answer was to follow God's call to work and live with some of the most disadvantaged people in the world, the Sudanese refugees living in Uganda. This book, a record of his six years in two refugee camps as priest and administrator, reveals not only the truly ghastly conditions in which people live and often die, but also the spiritual strength that supports them. Smith's collection of journal entries, letters and other narratives shines a spotlight on individual stories, including masses and celebrations, a blind woman who doesn't need eyes to see clearly, the intense suffering as the last of a family's children dies and the terror of armies that attack and burn villages. Smith also documents his own struggle to learn a foreign language, culture and values, as well as his anger at injustices and, powerfully, his intense love for the people. We find redemption in our lives by honoring our relationships, Smith writes. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Book Description

A moving and inspiring account of one priest’s
life-changing experience among
Sudanese refugees.

In 2000, Gary Smith, a Jesuit priest, left a familiar life in the Pacific Northwest to live among Sudanese refugees struggling to survive in refugee camps in northern Uganda. He traveled to this dangerous, pitiless place to be with these forsaken people out of a conviction that “Jesuits should be going where no one else goes.” But he also went to discover the answer to a question many of us ask: What is most important in life? For Smith, the answer came down to connecting with other human beings, to relationships—“to being loved and giving in love.”
Smith’s journal is a vivid, inspiring account of the deep connections he forged during his six years with the refugees in Uganda. Along the way, he discovers a suffering people who, despite being displaced by a brutal civil war, find the spiritual strength to let go of the many and deep sorrows of the past. Smith is both a witness to and a teacher of how the Holy Spirit’s power provides this spiritual strength to move forward.

Gary Smith, SJ, worked for six years with the Jesuit Refugee Service in Sudanese refugee camps in Uganda. He is the author of Radical Compassion: Finding Christ in the Heart of the Poor, an account of his ministry to the poor, disabled, and needy in Portland, Oregon.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1562 KB
  • Print Length: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Loyola Press; 1st edition (February 1, 2008)
  • Publication Date: February 1, 2008
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00272MZWA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,133,208 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Myles Whalen on March 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
The author, a Jesuit priest, spent about six years working with Sudanese refugees living in Uganda; he was "with them" in every way possible and came to love and be loved by many. The book is a series of rather short vignettes of his experiences and profoundly personal reflections drawn from those experiences. There is no effort in the book to prosyletize or argue religious propositions; but most of the primarily reflective pieces do draw on Catholic theological vocabulary. As one who has never been in Africa, I came away from this book with a very very different sense of the ordinary people there than I started out with. Nothing I have seen in the media has come at all close to describing the situation of Sudanese refugees with the poignancy or nitty-gritty detail of this enormously readable book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Galea on July 12, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very moving book about a man finding the Lord in very deplorable situations. Seeing the strength and humor and watching him
grow spirirtually is an awesome experince for the reader. I would love to see him write more books as he journeys through life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Klekas on January 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a very touching and inspiring book composed of short stories of a Jesuit Priest's every day experiences in Uganda with Sudanese refugees.
Full of Catholic Theology but does not argue religious propositions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Maeve A. Binder on August 17, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book will touch the God space in your heart like nothing else. The faith of these people shines through in the midst of great suffering. To read this book is to be reminded that we are all one people united in God, that we belong to each other in love and compassion. The author cites Isaiah 58:9-12 in his afterword, which I recommend reading. This is a hauntingly beautiful book that will bring you to better understand what these beautiful people continue to experience and yet always have such great faith in God. I highly recommend it! If it doesn't move you, your heart is made of stone.
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By Diadem on September 6, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I appreciate our Church and the Jesuits, as well as Mother Theresa and all those who give of themselves to those who have next to nothing. To deal with poverty and illness, sadness and death, injustice (as we see it) and fear is the most noble thing to do with ones life. OK, then this a diary of a Jesuit in a war torn nation, nothing new about the situation in Africa. I wish he could have been less politically correct in who is to blame for these atrocities. The fact is, this will NEVER change by feeling guilty of our many blessings in the US, never. It is the state of these nations and their government. Yet he will verbalize these feelings of guilt throughout the book. We have, because we are free; they have not, because they are not free. God bless our brilliant, Founding Fathers for that ideal.
These people may be closer to God than most of us, I truly believe that, but there seems to be little in the Catholic tradition that needs addressing in this country. The role of women is the only thing Father saw in need of changing, but just because their roles are different than ours today, doesn't make it necessarily a bad thing in need of changing.
They all love the Eurcharist, yes, they are generous with what little they have, indeed. Is that all that's necessary? It seems that Father Gary's only role was a supportive one and not a guiding one. Where was the teaching of the Faith, the Church doctrine? No one seems to sin here, except one spot where a spat took place between an husband and wife, that's it. If this is true, then they are more blessed than we, and shouldn't want to change, otherwise they might end up like us, a BUNCH of sinners. This life is only the road to the next, so the one that most clearly gets us to Heaven is the best, right?
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