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What They Meant for Evil: How a Lost Girl of Sudan Found Healing, Peace, and Purpose in the Midst of Suffering

4.64  ·  Rating details ·  84 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Many stories have been told about the famous Lost Boys, but now for the first time, a Lost Girl shares her hauntingly beautiful and inspiring story.

One of the first unaccompanied refugee children to enter the United States in 2000, after South Sudan's second civil war took the lives of most of her family, Rebecca's story begins in the late 1980s when, at the age of four,
Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 10th 2019 by FaithWords
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Average rating 4.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  84 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Start your review of What They Meant for Evil: How a Lost Girl of Sudan Found Healing, Peace, and Purpose in the Midst of Suffering
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
"When you speak the truth or the language that the heart understands, the outside differences don't stand a chance."

What a remarkable story of heartache and survival as Rebecca Deng walks her readers through the traumatic events of her childhood. Eye witnessing innumerable atrocities as an orphaned victim of South Sudan's civil war, she lived many years in a desolate Kenyan refugee camp. Selected to travel to the United States through a United Nations' Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan scholarship
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was an amazing story of true faith in God when evil pervades her entire life, determination, survival, heartbreak, redemption and more.
Laura Rae
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Rebecca's story of being one of the most girls of Sudan is so powerful! The courage and bravery that she embodies is so incredible! A must read!
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing

When a super-speed reader doesn't have a car for a month due to a predatory car insurance industry, you can get a LOT of reading done!!

I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do .

any stories have been told about the famous Lost Boys, but now for the first time, a Lost Girl shares her
What They Meant For Evil is a memoir by author Rebecca Deng. She wrote this book because many have been written about the Lost Boys of Sudan, but this is a first about the Lost Girls of South Sudan.

I wanted to read this book inspiring book because I feel in love with the cover and wanted to know more about Rebecca. It was very encouraging to read how she overcame obstacles through faith.

The saddest part of the book was the attack on her village, known as the Bor Massacre. However, in order to
Dave Weiss
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of me giving a review. I guess they are wanting more than, "Wow, just wow!" but that's pretty much what I have to say. This book does a careful dance between heart-wrenching and uplifting and it does it flawlessly. You've no doubt heard the stories of the "Lost boys" of Sudan, but have you heard about the lost girls? The book is the autobiography of Rebecca Deng, who was one of the first group of unaccompanied refugee ...more
Nic Carnes
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
I received an advanced reader copy of What They Meant for Evil and honestly didn’t know what to expect. It’s a story filled with absolute heartbreak, desperation, and ultimately, redeeming faith and love. I took a break from reading recently, after losing a beloved family member- but this was the first book I picked up to begin reading. I couldn’t put it down, I read it in one evening and found Rebecca’s deep family connection so comforting. It really resonated with me, and I think it should be ...more
Susan Walker
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
What an amazing story. And it's true! This woman has lived thru things most of us could not imagine. A great read!
C.E. Hart
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I love stories told in first person—whether fiction or non-fiction. This point of view allows me to see the world through the narrator’s eyes, to feel from his or her heart. But to be honest, it took me a little while before I connected with Rebecca. I couldn’t fully sink into the beginning of the story, as she recollected, with great detail, events that occurred when she was only four years old. I suspect that some of the facts were revealed to her at a later date, or that is what I chose to ...more
Alicen (The Cozy Shelf)
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
*I was provided the book What They Meant for Evil by Rebecca Deng by NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

What They Meant for Evil is a personal account from a Lost Girl of Sudan. Rebecca Deng tells a heartbreaking story. Trying to escape a violent civil war Rebecca finds herself in a refugee camp that houses thousands. She lives in this camp for most of her childhood. Conditions are terrible and they are not properly cared for. But Rebecca rises above her past to make a place for
Anita Ojeda
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I remember hearing about the Lost Boys of Sudan back in the 90s, but I’d never heard about the Lost Girls of Sudan. I have a basic knowledge of boys forced into an army, and intertribal and religious warfare disrupting the region. I’d read the memoir of a young man who had been enslaved during the same general time period, but had no real concept of what went on in the region during this time period.

Rebecca Deng’s memoir chronicles one Lost Girl’s story of hardship, loss, deprivation, and
Conny Reviews
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“I am no longer a lost girl, for I have been found,” Rebecca Deng with Ginger Kolbaba ends her memoir, What They Meant for Evil: How a Lost Girl of Sudan Found Healing, Peace, and Purpose in the Midst of Suffering.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-four-page hardbound targets those who like true stories that promote the grace and mercies of God while one struggles through a life of war and upheaval. With no profanity, topics of adult situations, physical abuse, murder, and war may not be appropriate
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Rebecca's story is a powerful testament to how God works in the midst of suffering. I was aware of the civil war in Sudan that displaced so many refugees, but I hadn't really heard someone's full story who lived it. Rebecca's hardship begins at the tender age of 4 when her village was attacked. As she recounts the events throughout her childhood she maintains childlike innocence in her writing voice which I found very effective in understanding the world through her eyes. She lost so much, but ...more
Samantha Kappes
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unwaveringly honest and open, Rebecca Deng shares her life's story through a book that's especially important in today's times. After the first few chapters, I felt overcome by negative emotions and sorrow- but pushed through, knowing Rebecca had a story worth telling.

Especially moving is how she tells the story of her life before everything went wrong. Even though she was so young, Rebecca's memories and love for her family paint a vivid contrast with the horrors that she experienced, too
Sep 11, 2019 rated it liked it
We've heard of the Lost Boys. Rebecca Deng is one of the Lost Girls of South Sudan, a survivor of the Sudanese civil war. Her village, in what is now South Sudan, was totally destroyed in the Bor Massacre of 1991. Thousands were killed and a hundred thousand were displaced during that time. She is one of 89 girls who was able to leave the refugee camp and relocate in the U.S.

Hers is an amazing story. She writes of life in her village as a child then fleeing when she was six. Her mother having
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is probably the best book I have read in a very very long time! It is a real story of a Sudanese refugee. Her story of survival started when she was a little girl, and since then she had to become a witness to an incredible amount of hardship and horror, including death, starvation, dangerous dehydration, abuse, and violence. The only thing Rebecca Deng did not experience for herself was death, but even death could have been easier than anything she is describing.

My favorite parts of the
Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Rebecca Deng was born into the Dinka tribe of South Sudan, but when the Second Sudanese Civil War broke out, her life was changed forever. For eight years, she lived as a refugee in the Kakuma Refugee Camp in northern Kenya. She became an orphan and faced so many challenges, but her circumstances began to brighten when she was accepted into the Lost Boys and Girls Program and sent to live with a loving family in Michigan, where she received a great education.

Rebecca chronicles her story in her
Michelle Kidwell
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What They Meant for Evil
How a Lost Girl of Sudan Found Healing, Peace, and Purpose in the Midst of Suffering

by Rebecca Deng



Pub Date 08 Sep 2020

I am reviewing a copy of What They Meant For Evil to FaithWords and Netgalley:

We have heard a lot about the lost boys of the Sudan, but what about the 89 girls who also escaped.

What They Meant For Evil is the story of one of the first unaccompanied refugee children of the Sudan to come to America. Rebecca came in 2000. She lost most of
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished
I can't begin to imagine what life was like for a young girl to flee with nothing hoping to save her life. Her uncle snatched her from a sure death in the dark of night. She had to leave certain others behind hoping to meet up again later. Hiding from enemy soldiers and wild life. Trying to figure out why the soldiers wanted to kill or enslave her tribal people. What had they done wrong? Returning to the village only to find it in ruins. Starting to put it back together and having to flee again ...more
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Having read about the Lost Boys of Sudan, I was eager to read about one of the Lost Girls. Deng's story is both harrowing and inspiring. I am most inspired by how her community of faith carried her through the trauma she experienced, and I appreciated learning about what life was like on a refugee camp. I wish there was more description of how she and her foster sister from another tribe reconciled beyond her own personal realizations. I appreciated the way she described how complicated her ...more
Barbara M. Britton
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian
Rebecca Deng shows the reader an intimate and truthful story of her escape from war ravaged Sudan. Deng does not sugarcoat the horrors of war and genocide, nor the less than stellar living conditions in a refugee camp. I couldn't put Rebecca's story down. She showed such strength and honesty in her thoughts and feelings as to why God would let this happen to her and her family. Her faith gave her the hope to continue day by day in a disheartening situation. But, Rebecca shares how she finds love ...more
Rachel | mrs.bennett.reads
I appreciate Rebecca Deng being vulnerable and sharing her story with us. She is one of the "lost girls" of Sudan - children who were orphaned by the Sudanese war and were eventually brought to the US as refugees. The stories of some of the things she had to go through are horrifying and tragic. The point of her story, from her point of view, is that God had her all along, so the tone stays hopeful and fairly positive throughout.

As far as the writing, it's fairly simplistic and the emotional
Erin A Epps
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is intense. To be honest I had not heard of the Lost Girls, only Lost Boys. I dont even remember their truggle as I was too young at the time. But Rebecca Deng has brought a new perspective to the horrors that the young men and women suffered. Her words have made me laugh, cry and pray. It made me pray that we never have to face what she went through. It made me pray that those who've survived never have to face further horrors. And it made me pray that the survivors are all doing well ...more
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rebecca Deng is not only a survivor, but a thriver. Known as one of the Lost Girls, the Sudanese refugees who came to the United States to be adopted and given a fresh chance at life, she tells of her life before, during, and after the ravages of war. Her account is gripping and inspiring. Anyone who finds reasons to complain about the struggles of daily life should take the time to read what this young lady endured. Although this book was listed among children's books, I would not recommend it ...more
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book embodies the definition of true beauty. Rebecca Deng's story is one that needs to be read by millions of people. She not only told a story about survival, she turned her greatest nightmare into hope not only for herself, but for those who went through the same circumstances. There were points where I was brought to tears by some parts of this book. It's nothing short of amazing how her story developed and how she refused to let go of her faith in God despite the circumstances. I'm ...more
Lori Green
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a phenomenal awe-inspiring book to read. Rebecca Dang did an incredible job writing her story of perseverance, determination, and God's restoration and redemption. God's grace and mercy totally surrounds her story of survival and courage of a Sudanese Refugee that is tender-hearted and courageous. Her story of a lost girl that has now been found totally reminds me of the the song Amazing Grace how sweet the sound, I once was lost but now I'm found. Everyone should read her story. I was ...more
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Rebecca Deng is a hero! She has survived so much in life and has come out the other side full of grace and love. This is her story and it’s an important one. My eyes are open and I see my privilege all around me. I so appreciate Rebecca sharing what it was like growing up in Sudan during wartime, becoming a refugee of the UN and ultimately coming to the US. I hope from this point forward her life is filled with love, hope and God’s grace!
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I absolutely loved this book. It touches your soul. You walk thru her life and feeling her pain and joy. In spite of all the heartache, abuse, pain & loss, you see God's hand working in her life. This is a book I would recommend to everyone that wants to be able to see the world thru someone else's eyes. Her strong Dinka roots helped her persevere when most would give up. Thank you for sharing this amazing read!
Stevo Brock
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was a Best of the Best for the month of November, 2019, as selected by Stevo's Book Reviews on the Internet / Stevo's Nobel Ideas. You can find me at, on my Stevo's Novel Ideas Amazon Influencer page (, on Twitter (, on LinkedIn ( or search for me on Google for many more reviews and recommendations.
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book brought many memories of my years living in Uganda! I saw firsthand and met several people and children escaping these horrible atrocities! The story so simply and eloquently painted a vivid picture of life in Africa! Her faith, her spirit and determination impressed me so much! I met many of her kinsman who gave up when she persevered and kept going! What a tenacious spirit! This book is an absolute read especially anyone who has lived close to this kind of war
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