You may have to remind yourself, as you watch God Grew Tired of Us, that Daniel Abol Pach, Panther Blor, and John Bul Dau are not fictional characters. Their circumstances are so dramatic and severe, it’s hard to imagine the memories they carry, and even harder to imagine how the world seems to them after experiencing such trama as they, and the other“Lost Boys of Sudan,” have experienced.

And that’s the other thing: It strains credulity to imagine the unlikely survival and new-world experiences of these three. Now try to comprehend that there are 25,000 boys ages three to thirteen who fled Sudan’s civil war and made a five-year journey across the desert to a U.N. refugee camp in Kenya. Almost half of those who fled Sudan were lost to disease, malnutrition, and the desert’s other dangers. But Daniel, Panther, and John survived, and God Grew Tired of Us, a new film from Newmarket Films and National Geographic Films, tells their story.

Filmed by Christopher Quinn and Tommy Walker, and narrated by Nicole Kidman, the movie describes the story of the Lost Boys’ ordeal. But it also documents their next incredible journey to America. We watch as they are welcomed to new homes and jobs in a world beyond anything they’ve imagined. Electric lights! Apartment buildings! Bags of potato chips! (Note: Even refugees dislike airline food.) Rummaging through a refrigerator, the boys are delighted to find a bottle of Pepsi. “We have this in our country. Only there it is called … Coca-cola!”

This new life brings hardships of its own — loneliness, alienation, confusion. But the Lost Boys work together to preserve a sense of their African identity, and their Christian faith gives them comfort and hope. Applying themselves to the daunting challenges of factory jobs and education in a second language, they strive to serve their friends and families back in Africa. “This is my duty,” says one of the determined survivors. “My people have hope in me.”

Every victory is hard-won. But the Lost Boys’ gratitude for simple things will humble those of us accustomed to comfort and opportunity. And their endurance, ambition, and compassion should inspire us — they achieve more in a few years than many of us do in a lifetime.