Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Born on April 1st

No its not me! (mine is tomorrow). Nor is it Sheba's (on the 4th of the month).

But two very dear friends from college were born on April 1st - imortalised for countless generations of little boys as April Fools Day.

Tzu Jen Tan - now a surgeon is Singapore at the Alexandra Hospital and Charles Ndeze - now where? Two lovely men.

Tzu Jen Tan comes from Singpore and studied at Taylor University with me in the biology dept. Jen dug into his studies and surroundings. He was amazed at how much was edible in the wild and took pains to make small jars of berry jam for us. He cut open rat hearts for research purposes and made exquisite drawings of them (some which made their way back into our rooms). He loved cross-country running (and running in the cold with minimal clothing). Though I was thrilled about it, I was not totally surprised to hear that Jen as given the 'sword of honour' - for being the best officer that year - when he eventually did his time in the Singapore military. In all of this there was an often almost painful humility in Jen - and a great love for God and us other mortals! I was so privileged to have Jen come out in 1998 and do an elective from his med school with me at Nav Jivan Hospital in Jharkhand. Here's to you Jen as a father of three girls (the twins were born very prematurely last year), husband, surgeon, and most importantly - Jesus follower!
Charles Ndeze. Just saying the name is bitter sweet. We heard about him before we saw him. A bare-foot footballer has come from Burundi, we were told. Charles never fit into the college soccer team - too regimented and driven I think. But we had many a conversation late at night - when he would be working as a security guard and I was at the library trying to put in some study or finish a project. Charles was the son of an Anglican Bishop in Burundi. He was a man of wealth - and loved his cows. He was a gentle giant - in the very strange setting of rural Indiana - a place not known for diversity and cosmopolitan pizazz. But maybe that was just as well - because Charles did not seem to want that world either. As the son of a man who I assume had enormous influence in his country, I always sensed that Charles was at least partly running away from something. This was in the years just prior to the terrible blood-letting in Rwanda.
Oh to try and speak my broken French with Charles again. Where are you Charles? I did the google search for your name - and only came up with a charismatic gorilla cub. Cold comfort. I wish we could meet again - and share where our lives have lead us - and what God has been doing since we last saw each other in 1992!

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