This evening, I’m invited to a “vernissage” – but not for paintings. This is a book launch, and one I am very pleased to be able to attend.
Three years ago, I reported here an exciting and momentous event that changed the lives of five people I know. And in April of last year came the announcement that the incredible story of this family was to be told in book form.
The book – in German – has now been written and published, and is available online. The German title is Auf der Flucht getrennt and the author is Johanna Krapf. I am hoping to be allowed to translate this, and that we can find a suitable publisher for the English version of this Odyssey, which reads like the scenario of an Indiana Jones movie. Fingers crossed.
The Christian names of this family are inspiring: Joséphine means “God will increase”, Désiré is the desired one, Patrick is the noble one, Joyeux is joyful and Espoir is hope. They are living up to their names.
Is this the right time to be bringing out stories of refugees? Isn’t the world fed up and tired of hearing about people trying to escape from war, violence and genocide? Perhaps. But this is also a story of hope, faith and love in the midst of indescribable horror and hardship, and it shines a bright beam of optimism into the darkness. It’s an ongoing story, and in some ways this family still has a long way to go before all the trauma of the past can be dealt with. However, as St Paul tells us in Romans 5:3-5: “…we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us …”