One of the “Lost Boys” has become an Episcopal deacon in Utah. The “Lost Boys” were orphaned children who had fled the Sudanese Civil War in the late 1980s. One of those boys finally ended up in Salt Lake City UT. On 5 DEC, the Rt Revd Scott Hayashi, the Bishop of Utah, ordained Gabriel Garang Atem a deacon. The service was held at the Cathedral Church of St Mark. Aimee Marie Altizer was also ordained a deacon at the service.
In 2001, Gabriel was living in Richmond VA and working with other boys from Sudan as a machinist. During this time as a machinist he was able to earn a Green Card. However, he lost his job in 2004 when the owner of the machine shop moved his business to Canada. Unemployed, Gabriel decided to vist friends from Sudan who lived in Salt Lake City. Having no permanent ties to Richmond, he decided to stay in UT, find work, complete a high school education and then attend college.
Today Gabriel is a US citizen, he is 36 years old, married and the father of twin boys. In 2006 he had returned to Sudan to visit remnants of his family there and met and married Alek Kuir Akouch. He was able to bring her to the US in 2009. Gabriel studied for the priesthood through Dio Utah’s Ministry Formation Program. At the same time he has served as the leader of the Sudanese Dinka language service at All Saints Episcopal Church in Salt Lake City. He will now serve as a deacon for the congregation. He looks forward to becoming a priest in the future.
Dio Utah has put up a video of excerpts from the ordination service for Gabriel and Aimee on its YouTube channel.
The main image is by Laura Seitz, published in the Deseret News.
You may find more of Gabriel’s interesting story at the Deseret news website.