April 2019 Book of the Month- They Called Us Love
April Holden is from St Helens, Merseyside. As a child she suffered from persistent ill health, and was both physically and emotionally fragile. Coming to faith in her teens, she became convinced that God was calling her to work with street children in Africa. While at university she applied to Africa Inland Mission, but they rejected her because of her chronic health problems. She then trained as a teacher, and during this period became filled with the Holy Spirit.
In due course she was accepted by Operation Mobilization, who sent her initially to Egypt for training. While there she had an opportunity to move to Sudan, where the needs of the street boys were most acute: many had been traumatized by war, or were the offspring of sex workers, or had fled abuse. She opened a series of centers, despite ongoing infirmity caused by arthritis in her spine and frequent, severe muscle spasms.
When the Americans invaded Iraq in 2003 the Sudanese reacted angrily, attacking anyone who looked American. One day, faced with an angry mob, April was protected in her car by four large men who held the crowd at bay while she escaped to a nearby compound. The following day she looked for them to thank them, but the manager of the compound assured her he had been alone.
After harrowing experiences during the separation of North and South Sudan in 2011 she returned to Britain, emotionally and physically exhausted, and OM insisted she took a sabbatical. Within months however she was back in action, this time from a base in Zambia, where she continues to train workers from surrounding countries. Her team has also begun to train professionals like police officers who are already working with vulnerable children. Her passion is to prepare missionaries to serve as facilitators alongside African churches and communities, mobilizing and equipping them to work with homeless children and youth in a godly, professional, and sustainable manner. She continues to work tirelessly to this end.
Deborah Meroff grew up in New England and spent summers on the coast of Maine. After earning BA and MLS degrees she worked in several libraries and authored books including Coronation of Glory: the Story of Lady Jane Grey and Captain, My Captain. She then went to sea with Operation Mobilization Ships, serving as press officer for several years and eventually serving on four different vessels. After shipwrecking at the bottom of South America she returned to land and made her base in London, continuing to travel to over one hundred countries and authoring countless articles and further books as a journalist and photographer. She most enjoys writing about the unsung heroes she has met and places she has visited, and never tires of going back to the sea for inspiration. She now lives in Maine.