Couple united by war, torn apart by survival

Posted at 6:56 PM, Sep 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-11 18:56:32-04

"In 1983, the war break out and we was runaway,” said John Deng.

This is a love story, though war has defined so much of John Deng's life.

"They was attack our villages and we ran away then,” said Deng.

He's known as one of the 'Lost Boys of Sudan.'

"That is not an easy walk, we walk barefoot. We got no clothes, walking naked and we was little like, 10 years, 9 years. We was babies,” he explained.

Deng was one of thousands of children refugees who started walking across East Africa alone after Islamist forces from the north attacked Christian villages in southern Sudan -- refugees who ended-up barely surviving in camps in Kenya.

"You can die. A lot of people, we go to work in the morning like somebody sleep behind you, and tomorrow when you wake up, he can't wake up. He's gone. He died. That really breaks my heart,” he said.

John's heart broke again in 2001 when he came to the United States.

He was forced to leave behind his true love, Mary, a woman he met at the Kenyan refugee camp where he lived for nine years.

"I went to her and I said, Mary, I don't know what is in the front of me, and I will never, never forget about you,” he recounted.

John will keep his promise tomorrow with this bouquet of red roses in hand.

Right now Mary is on a plane bound for Tampa International Airport.

"We're going to make a family with her. That is what is in my heart,” he said.

The couple was married in Kenya in 2014 after ten years apart. John is a U.S. citizen and soon, they'll start a new life together.

"I will say Mary I love you, you hold my heart and welcome to America the land of freedom,” he said.