News Archives

Friendship leads to national organization for Sudan

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
A UMNS photo by Jay Mallin

Angelo Maker and Susie Albert Miller attend the “Lost Boys: Found!” reunion.
July 12, 2006

By Kathy L. Gilbert*

FAIRFAX, Va. (UMNS) ? Spotting Susie Albert Miller and Angelo Maker in a room, you probably won?t put them together as best friends.

Miller is a petite brunette businesswoman full of self-confidence. Maker is a tall, lanky African man who struggles to speak English?partially because he is from Sudan and partially because he is missing several teeth. His parents pulled out his teeth when he was a child to keep him from being sold into slavery.

Together, the two make a force to be reckoned with.

Both say meeting the other was a life-changing experience. Miller is a therapist and attends Crossroads United Methodist Church, Ashburn, Va. She was introduced to Maker and four other ?lost boys of Sudan? at a U.S. State Department meeting on Capitol Hill that she was asked to attend by Cathy Norman, another member of Crossroads.

?I walked into the office and here were these five dignified young men,? she recalls. The men stood up, introduced themselves, and told horrific stories about their childhoods.

That meeting spurred the formation of Voices for Sudan, a national nonprofit organization whose goal is to establish an education fund for the lost boys and girls of Sudan who want to return to their country to work for peace and justice.

?Lost Boys: Found!,? a national gathering sponsored by Crossroads United Methodist Church and the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, was the first step to address the group?s vision. The July 7-8 gathering provided networking and publicity for the organization.

Maker says the connection between him and Miller comes from God.

Miller says she was moved to become involved with the atrocities in Sudan after she saw the movie ?Hotel Rwanda.?

?I saw the movie last April and I was not so proud to be an American,? she says. ?I realized the genocide happened when I was 30 years old and I didn?t know about it.?

The end of the movie talks about what is happening in Darfur. More than 400,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million have been forced out of their homes since the government-sponsored genocide began in 2003.

Before, Sudan was just a concept, a movie and actors, Miller says. ?When I met Angelo, it became a story and a face.?

Maker says Miller and Norman encouraged him to tell his story and that has made a tremendous change in his life. ?My story is not easy to tell, but it was hurting me not to tell it.?

Maker?s village was attacked when he was seven years old. He remembers explosions and chaos and watching his mother being shot. He ran to her side and stayed with her as she bled to death. During those last hours of her life, she told him to respect people and trust God.

?Everything I went through no human can make it and go through it,? he recalls. ?At seven years old, I walked more than 1,000 miles. I believe God made it possible.?

The national conference is just one step for Maker as he works to get an education and go back to his homeland. ?I am hoping many people will be encouraged and aware and be able to be involved,? he says. ?We need prayers. We need people to go and see my country.

?Change in Sudan, in Africa and in the world ? all from a small group of people in one local church who acted and joined in friendship to listen to one another and hear what working together could accomplish,? he adds.

For more information on Voices of Sudan, visit the group?s Website at

*Gilbert is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.

News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or

Audio Interview

Susie Miller: I couldnt be silent.

Related Articles

Print Icon Gathering brings together Sudans lost boys and girls

Sudanese civil war survivors attend rally in support of home

United Methodists in Indiana focus on Sudan

United Methodist student helps free slaves in Sudan

Former slave urges young people to free others

Sudans Lost Boys find old friends at conference


Crossroads United Methodist Church

Voices for Sudan

Sudan emergency


Lost Boys: Found!