For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them with food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. - Deuteronomy 10:17-19 (NRSV)
Twenty years ago, Nasreen Rahimi and her family escaped from Afghanistan to Pakistan when she was just 10 years old. She grew up in Pakistan, married, and had three children. Though she knew her family was living in relatively safer conditions, the challenges were often overwhelming.
Khushi, Nasreen's middle child, fell on broken glass at 3 years of age. She was operated on twice in a Pakistani hospital, but cried every night afterwards, because of the ongoing pain and inability to bend her leg. The Pakistani doctors told her there was nothing more they could do. As Khushi and her sister grew, they attended school for two years until Nasreen could no longer pay. For the next three years, Nasreen had some odd jobs but employment was scarce and what little she earned went to help feed her extended family instead of schooling for the girls.
With the combination of Khushi's knee pain and a lack of school opportunities for her girls, Nasreen decided to apply to leave Pakistan and come to America as a refugee. After a two-year extensive vetting program, Nasreen and her girls won a place in the refugee program and arrived in America in May 2016. New American Pathways, a refugee resettlement program, assigned this family to us at RPC.
What a joy they have been! We marvel at Nasreen's courage. The girls Dunya, age 12, and Khushi, age 9, are happy and learning to read at Roswell North Elementary School. Abdul Basit is 3 years old and has made wonderful progress at one of RPC's mission partners, the Child Development Association (CDA).
Khushi had a successful operation on her knee, and the doctor found the piece of glass causing all the pain. Now as Khuski says, "I can 'fold' my knee with no pain."
Nasreen won a coveted full-time position with benefits as a housekeeper at Elmcroft and is a highly-valued employee. Each workday, she sees her girls off to the school bus, walks her son to the CDA, and then heads to work - a daily round trip of four miles. On the snow weekend, Elmcroft was so surprised to see her walk in at the 8:00 hour just as she was supposed to do. She enjoys her independence and asks for help only in areas that she does not understand.
Nasreen and her children are happy and thriving. They have built a new life and we at RPC are blessed to know them as friends.
Dear heavenly Father, help us to value people from different countries, who speak different languages, and have different beliefs. Help us to know that all are your children and give us eyes to see you in them. Amen.
2nd Mile for Mission is RPC's annual Mission Outreach giving campaign where every dollar goes out the door to directly benefit our local and global mission partners. Our goal for 2017 is $150,000.
For more information and to make your commitment and give online, visit www.roswellpres.org/2ndmile
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