18 Mar 2020

2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19 for short) is a virus (bug) that is causing a serious breathing illness.  The virus is spreading from person-to-person and the number of cases detected in the United States and many other countries is growing. Reported cases have ranged from mild illness (like a common cold) to severe pneumonia that requires hospitalization. So far, deaths have been reported mainly in older adults who had other health conditions. It's important to remember to wash your hands, avoid touching your face, and stay away from people if you think you are sick or may have been in contact with someone who is sick. 

 

Coronavirus Fact Sheet: 

Amharic-አማርኛ     Arabic-عربى     Burmese-ဗမာ     Chinese Simplified-简体中文​     Chinese Traditional-中國傳統的    English     Farsi-فارسی     French-Francois   Hindi-हिंदी    Japanese-日本語

Khmer     Kinyarwanda     Korean-한국어     Nepali-नेपाली     Portuguese-Português       Russian-русский​     Spanish-Español​     Swahili      Tagalog    Thai-ไทย     Tigrinya     Somali    Vietnamese-Tiếng Việt

 

Preparation & Prevention Tips:

Amharic-አማርኛ     Arabic-عربى     Burmese-ဗမာ       Chinese Simplified-简体中文​     

Chinese Traditional-中國傳統的       English       Farsi-فارسی       French-Francois       Hindi-हिंदी     Japanese-日本語     Khmer       Kirundi    Korean-한국어     Nepali-नेपाली       Russian-русский​     

Spanish-Español​        Swahili       Tagalog    Thai-ไทย     Ukranian-українська​     Urdu-اردو     Vietnamese-Tiếng Việt

 

Other Resources: 

Fort Worth ISD Free Meal Sites

 

  • Como Montessori 4001 Littlepage St, Fort Worth, TX 76107,  10 – 11:30 a.m.
  • Poly High School 1300 Conner Ave, Fort Worth, TX 76105,  10 – 11:30 a.m.
  • Springdale Elementary School 3207 Hollis St, Fort Worth, TX 76111,  10  – 11:30 a.m.
  • Manual Jara Elementary School 2100 Lincoln Ave, Fort Worth, TX 76164,  Noon – 1:30 p.m.
  • Western Hills Elementary School 2805 Laredo Dr, Fort Worth, TX 76116,  10 – 11:30 a.m.
  • Hubbard Heights Elementary School 1333 W Spurgeon St, Fort Worth, TX 76115,  Noon –  1:30 p.m.
  • Paul L. Dunbar High School 5700 Ramey Ave, Fort Worth, TX 76112,  10 – 11:30 a.m.
  • Eastern Hills High School 5701 Shelton St, Fort Worth, TX 76112,  Noon –  1:30 p.m.
  • Clifford Davis Elementary School 4300 Campus Dr, Fort Worth, TX 76119,  10 – 11:30 a.m.
  • De Zavala Elementary School 1419 College Ave, Fort Worth, TX 76104,  Noon – 1:30 p.m.

Other free meal sites in the Tarrant County area, including ones in Arlington ISD and HEB ISD, for children under 18 can be found here.

Free meal sites for children in the Dallas County area can be found here.

Drive-thru food pantry for households on Tuesday, March 24, 5:00-7:00p at SouthCliff Baptist Church in Fort Worth. Find their address here. 

 

Charter Spectrum is providing free internet services for 60 days to households with K-12 students and college students who do not already have internet service. More information can be found by calling 1-844-488-8395​ or clicking here.

 

Find Coronavirus information for refugees and immigrants in multiple languages here. 

 

 

World Relief North Texas is doing everything we can to actively serve our vulnerable neighbors in the community while we are under quarantine. We are continuing to provide limited vital resources such as emergency food provisions, rent assistance, and legal services. Presently, we are brainstorming ways to meet the needs of the exceptionally vulnerable in our community such as the elderly and single-parent households without putting anyone at risk.  Additionally, we are hoping and praying for the days that will come after  the COVID-19 pandemic, because there will be days to come. They will come with many in our community grappling for employment opportunity, financial stability, and hope. And we want to be there, standing alongside our neighbors when those days come. We want to be there to provide a ride to a job interview and the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Join us today by clicking here.

 

Sources: 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/communication/factsheets.html

The Washington State Department of Health, https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/NovelCoronavirusOutbreak2020/HealthEducation

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/communication/factsheets.html

Ministry of Health in Ontario, https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus#section-11

City of Austin, TX, http://www.austintexas.gov/article/covid-19-community-resources

City of Aurora, CO, https://www.auroragov.org/cms/one.aspx?pageId=16539096

Vermont Department of Health, https://www.healthvermont.gov/news-information-resources/translated-information/language

 

 

 

18 Feb 2019

This week we are hearing from a partner in the good fight, Madeline Chilton. Originally from the Fort Worth area, Madeline is a student at Texas A&M University. Her undergraduate degree is in sociology, and she is about to graduate in May (!!!) with a Masters that focuses on International Nonprofit Management. After school, she hopes of working in the refugee sector for a couple of years and afterwards moving overseas to serve in a refugee community. The youngest of three, she loves to experience different cultures, cook, and spend time with friends/family. 

 

Madeline’s heart for The Other started when she was young. Although growing up in Fort Worth and attending a small Christian school didn’t present many opportunities to interact with people who were different from her, her parents raised her to serve others who came from different backgrounds, pushing her outside of her comfort zone.

 

“Growing up, my family would serve at the local homeless shelter which taught me humility and how to interact with people who had different stories than me.” These interactions taught her a worldview that confirms even those who are different than us, are worthy of dignity and respect. Like her, everyone is made Imago Dei - in the image of God.

 

Her first experience being exposed to an entirely different culture is when she traveled to Haiti in 2010. “This was right after the earthquake and it was shocking to see such poverty and corruption. While it was a horrible situation, the Lord confirmed my heart to serve in an international context…this was the first time when I experienced my unique purpose to serve in the Kingdom.”

 

This passion continued to grow in Madeline as she got older and continued to receive opportunities to live it out. In 2015, she had the privilege of residing in South Sudan for about 2 months, when the civil war was just beginning. After returning to the states, Madeline continued to invest in the friendships she had made while in South Sudan. These friendships - the dangerous realities of her friends - introduced her to the plight of the refugee.

 

“My dear friends told me about being displaced to Uganda and family members being killed or raped due to the war. Once they arrived in Uganda [in the refugee camp], they told me about flooding tents, lack of proper nutrition and assimilation opportunities.” Contrary to popular belief, life in refugee camps is extremely difficult. Due to overcrowding, there’s often shortages of food, water, and other supplies like weather appropriate clothing. Even sacred things like privacy is hard to come by. In many ways, one's identity is stripped away as they have to be monitored and regulated in the camps in grasped efforts to keep structure in the midst of chaos as hundreds of people enter the camps daily. Reflecting on the massiveness of the refugee crisis and the root problems that cause it all can leave one feeling hopeless. 

 

Instead of becoming paralyzed by the devastation of being continents away, Madeline used that desperation to press into the Lord and open her hands. “I had to do something – personally knowing people affected by the refugee crisis, I could not allow myself to not do something. This is what originally sparked my passion to serve the refugee community in some capacity or another.”

 

This led to Madeline pursuing jobs and opportunities to work with refugees in different contexts as much as she could intermittently while attending school at Texas A&M. She interned with our office in Fort Worth and traveled overseas to work with internally displaced people groups (IDP). Through these opportunities, Madeline has faced the refugee crisis head on, with the courage and love of Jesus. And when she fell short, she learned first hand that our great high priest can enter into the spaces of trauma with anyone, regardless of culture, religion, and socioeconomic background. He empathizes with our every weakness.

 

“The hardest part is hearing stories of trauma and not being able to relate or understand in any capacity. It is hard to see why people are displaced and the brokenness of this world. Working with ISIS captives and rape victims, I so badly want to empathize and feel their pain with them - as Jesus did. I cannot do that. However, Jesus steps into that pain with them and I can be the connector for people.”

 

But God. By his grace, our loving and merciful God is faithful to bring joy and beauty through what feels like hopeless circumstances if our eyes are open to see them.

 

“There have been so many small joys as I have been exposed to. When [interning with World Relief], I taught an Eritrean family English. It was a single mother with four children. During this time, there were many laughs about mispronunciation, great conversations about culture and countless cups of Eritrean coffee. Being able to build a relationship with this family was such a joy and it has been an even greater joy to walk with them for a couple of years now that they have been in the United States. The children are thriving in school and getting medical assistance that they have never had access to before.”

 

During the school year, Madeline is continuing to fight the refugee crisis in different ways. In 2018, Madeline partnered with Declaration Church and Grace Bible Church in College Station to host the Salaam Conference which included a refugee simulation. Due to College Station not having a local refugee community, this opportunity was used to educate and encourage local churches and the surrounding community.

 

Madeline Chilton at the Salaam Conference in College Station, TX.

“First, educate people on the refugee crisis and how there are refugees right in our neighborhoods. Secondly, to encourage others to get outside of their comfort-zone and reach out to our new neighbors. Some of the refugees living in America feel un-welcomed, have trouble learning English and assimilating to a new culture, which is the perfect opportunity for the body of Christ to step in. [The conference] sparked conversations about trauma, gender inequality and refugee issues and allowed people to experience a new perspective of life, family and culture, especially through the simulation.”

 

When asked how her faith influences her passion, Madeline responds with scripture and a hopeful response in encouraging the Church.

 

“Deuteronomy 10:18-19 talks about loving the foreigner living among us - this is the modern day call to love the refugee. This command is such a joy and honor to walk into - when you see people of different cultures and languages worshipping God together - it is a view of the Great Commission and Kingdom of God in full affect.” Entering into hard and unknown spaces of ‘different’ can be daunting, but God calls us to those places, and when we obey the call, we get a fuller picture of him. “It is humbling to hear stories of hardship and suffering but at the same time such a joy seeing the Lord work in miraculous ways. He is always faithful. When I was working with IDPs in Northern Iraq this past summer, the situation (just like all of the refugee crisis) was complete chaos. People were scraping to get by and struggling with such trauma. However, the Kingdom of God is a constant peace in the chaos. The Kingdom of God will be order, reconciliation among people groups, and stability to the ends of the earth.”

 

Additionally, Madeline sees that God uses the refugee crisis to work for the good of people who are called to him; it gives Americans an opportunity to fulfill the great commission in a way that makes it the easiest it has ever been.

 

“The refugee crisis, whether it is in the USA or overseas, provides believers such a sweet opportunity to be ambassadors of reconciliation and peace. People from the 10-40 Window (unreached people groups) are coming to our neighborhoods - this is such a gift and an easy opportunity to draw new brothers and sisters in the Kingdom!”

 

It’s easy to see that a peacemaker, reconciler, and justice seeker like Madeline will change the world with Jesus leading the way. She has been inspiring to work with as we all continue to fight the good fight together, no matter how far. We hope that her testimony has encouraged you today to be brave and step into the space of the vulnerable. 

 

My dream is to be an ambassador of peace and bring stability to chaos (through God and the Holy Spirit).

My dream is to races and people groups of all kinds worshipping together.

My biggest dream is to see and be a part of the Kingdom of God infiltrating the refugee crisis. I desire to see God break the chains of trauma and replace that sorrow with hope that is found in the cross.”

12 Dec 2018

 

 

My time at World Relief was one for the books. I began in August, shadowing a Reception & Placement caseworker, with a focus on the communications and operations of the office. My first day, I attended the weekly tracking meeting, which is where the staff has a small Bible study, prays, then discusses our closing client cases to make sure their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs have been met. I enjoyed this first introduction to the office and soaking everything in. These are the things that stood out to me that I loved: the diversity of the staff; the variety of culture, language, and perspective (even just the history and knowledge that was contributed to our Bible study was done in a way I had never experienced before); the vulnerability and faith of the staff; the interpersonal and interdepartmental communication.

 

My first day was a little chaotic, simply because there is no definite structure in a case management role. Once I got used to it, I enjoyed the flexible nature of my job. What I did each day of my internship changed depending on the family that was in need, which appointments needed to be attended, and which orientations needed to be given. I truly got to experience a variety of responsibilities as a caseworker, while also having the space to contribute in the communication and operations department, which was truly fun!

 

My responsibilities as a caseworker looked like apartment set-ups, Walmart runs, picking up families from the airport, bus and cultural orientations, medical and other government assistance appointments. Between these standard avenues of help, I was able to simply visit with my families. One of my favorite things was getting to know my clients and advocating on their behalf. For example, one couple had recently become pregnant. I was able to befriend the melancholic mom-to-be as she was home alone  when her husband was at work. I loved looking for community resources for her to make sure she was taken care of as a mother, including her mental and physical health, and to assist them in taking care of her first baby. Another family always treated me with Ethiopian hospitality; although the couple’s English speaking ability was pretty good for newly arriving in the states, we always made sure to call the translator over to enjoy time together as a family. They served coffee and fruit, and taught me how to say “Good!” and “Thank you!” in Tigrinya.

 

Apartment Setup

Setting Up Apartments for Newly Arriving Families

 

This job also came with several difficulties, mainly that of the language barrier. I began to use Google translate to communicate with my pregnant friend (which didn’t always translate well what we wanted to say!) and use each other’s pictures to teach her English and to get to know each other more. It was difficult conducting responsibilities on my own at times, such as my second cultural orientation. I was set to give this orientation to six adults in the time span between their appointments and picking up their kids from school, which proved to be difficult. They ended up having to finish the quiz writing in Swahili rather than English. Sometimes teaching them the difference between their home culture and American culture was hard because I felt I was offending them, but they were most often understanding and simply seeking friendship.

 

Some of my favorite moments were enjoying coffee with an Ethiopian family and learning the culture of hospitality that they wanted to build in their home here. It was fun learning to enjoy food, drink, and people as they would have back home. Another favorite moment was visiting a family the day after I had picked them up from the airport. I hadn’t even learned their names yet, but 7 children came running up to me to give me a hug with the biggest smiles on their faces. Later at the social security office, I played with three of the children and taught them a hand-clapping game. They only spoke Swahili and French; I happened to know how to count to ten in French, which proved to be an efficient way to communicate and count for the game. I also enjoyed taking a girls trip to the grocery store to teach them how to use their card. Perhaps my favorite moment of all was attending a sonogram appointment with my pregnant friend, seeing the baby kick on the screen, and seeing the excitement of the mother as she found out the gender of her baby. They were all such sweet moments that I got to be a part of!

 

Girls Trip to the Local Grocery Store

From Right to Left: Marcelina, Ashley, Lalia, Furaha at Fiesta

 

Some of my other responsibilities included social media management and networking. I enjoyed going to community networking and educational events like the Refugee Symposium and Chicano Luncheons in Fort Worth, simply seeking to better engage our audience and to take care of our clients even beyond the end of the R&P program. I also boosted our Facebook and Instagram pages by creating a schedule of posts each week to cover the different areas of advocacy and service that World Relief provides. I’ve enjoyed taking a more personal approach to our social media to draw in support for the people and faces behind what we do. We want faces to be seen and stories to be heard, in hopes that relationships will be cultivated between our volunteers and immigrant families. During Thanksgiving, I took the time to design a World Relief newsletter, simply giving an update on our fiscal year and promoting some products made by refugees. It felt so good to be able to pour my talents, experience, and love from my semester at WR into one last final project.

 

This internship has truly been so growing and freeing for me, and I would suggest it to anyone that asks. The value of an investment of time and love into standing with the vulnerable is comparable to none; you are left with the treasures of new memories and friendship. Simply just volunteering a couple hours a week would be investable, and I think I might keep doing just that!

 

Photos and article provided by Ashley Boterf, a former World Relief intern

26 Nov 2018

Welcome to World Relief Fort Worth's

Holiday Gift Guide

In the spirit of the season, we desired to take radical welcome one step further and share with everyone an opportunity to empower resettled refugees in their giftings & skills. Below, you'll find beautiful selections of goods to give your loved ones this season. Read more about the work of our local office this year and featured companies in an online magazine here

 

 

Jerusalem Candle

 

Add an aroma of peace to your space with the 'Jerusalem Candle.' This candle and others are hand poured by refugees located in Dallas, TX through SEEK the Peace. SEEK the Peace advocates for the safety, peace, and flourishing of refugees and immigrants. They offer a variety of aromatic candles and jewelry. Check out their advocacy & shop here.

 

Bourbon Pecan Granola

For the foodies (or anyone who likes quality food!), give a bag of tasty 'Bourbon Pecan Granola,' made by refugees in Providence, RI. Beautiful Day provides economic employment to refugees who make spend their time making granola that's good for the soul. You can even sign up to give a granola subscription for the "crunchy" friends in your life! Check out their selection here.
 

Pale Pink Ear Poms

Earrings fit for a pom queen! These 'Pale Pink Pom Earrings' are made by refugee women in Dallas, TX. GAIA for Women employs and trains resettled women to make their selection of brightly colored jewelry, tops, handbags, and accessories. They have been featured in D Magazine, The Oprah Magazine, and even on J.Crew's Unicorn List!  Check out their fun selection here or shop their beautiful storefront in the city.

Pug Tie

 

 

Give him a pug & a hug! The 'Steel-Blue Pug Necktie' is handmade by refugees through Knotty Tie Co. Based out of Denver, CO, Knotty Tie Co. offers neckties, bow-ties, and  pocket squares, in a wide variety of patterns to express any personality. They even offer custom designs for weddings, companies and organizations! Check out their funky shop here.

 

Safari Storyboard

 

Lions, tigers, & bears! Oh my! Zeki Learning is part of a non-profit social enterprise called Child's Cup Full, based in the United States and the West Bank. ​They hand make high quality learning materials for preschool aged children that supports cognitive development & language learning. Your kiddo could be anything from a mailman to a zookeeper! Check out their shop here.

 

African Spiced Pear Tea

 

African Spiced Pear Tea is a great gift for a quali-TEA friend. RefuTea is a social enterprise in Grand Rapids, MI that employs refugees and donates 10% of their sales each quarter to resettlement agencies in the area. Check out their online tea shop here.

 

Holiday Lounge Pants

 

Snuggle up with your loved ones in Vickery Trading Co.'s 'Holiday Lounge Pants.' Vickery Trading Co. is located in Dallas, TX. They provide vocational training and employment along with mentorship and other programs to equip refugee women for long term success. They have several collections of clothing and accessories that you can shop here

 

Charcoal Soap

 

Although they are located overseas, we could not resist telling you about Preemptive Love Coalition. Preemptive Love works overseas in war torn countries such as Syria and Iraq to empower refugees. Their employment and coalition efforts help refugee families see that they have hope for a future that doesn't to include violence. Each gift purchase empowers 3 refugee families. Check out the work they are doing overseas and shop their gifts of empowerment here

 

We hope that you will choose to empower our neighbors here in the United States and across the world this season. Purchasing even just one gift through one of these places of empowerment makes a difference.

Merry Christmas! 

Love, World Relief Fort Worth

12 Nov 2018

This morning, we have the honor of sitting in the presence of one of the bravest women I have come to know. Ara* is sharing her story of bravery in the face of terror. We invite you to grab a cup of coffee (or tea!) and join us in learning her story.

 

I grew up in a big family, and grew up with very high ideals of family. My father had a good education and served in the Afghan army. When he was younger, he came to America and studied in Kansas City, Missouri. Growing up, I wanted to finish my studies like him and take care of my mom full-time because she got sick. After graduating secondary school and my mother’s death, I started a nursing program. I was inspired by helping take care of my mother, because I had learned how to take care of the elderly.

When the situation came to Afghanistan, it was very difficult. It was very difficult being a woman or a child during the situation. Women couldn’t go to school, so I wasn’t able to get my nursing certificate. They shut off hospitals to all women and children. They only had access to private clinics. In private clinics, with poor people in a poor country, doctors would prescribe vulnerable patients all of these different and expensive medications, and people would pay for it because they thought it would heal them. People were spending everything they had and borrowing from friends and family because they believed if they did, they would be healed. I was passionate about helping young women and children. I desired to educate young women and children on how to be healthy and help them be healthy. So, in the back of my father’s home, I took a room and started providing clinical services to women and children. I would provide vaccinations, nursing services, and educating young girls about their body development. It was very difficult work because there were so many people who needed help. I was about 18 or 19 when I started this clinic. My sister is a pediatrician, and she helped me.

It was extremely dangerous work. One day, a Talib man came and knocked on the door of my father’s house. My father answered, not knowing what to expect. The man complained that every day, there were always women and children coming in and out of our house. My father answered and explained that my sister and I were running a small clinic for women and children. The man said “okay,” and let us keep working! It was a miracle from God! After several days, a woman who was married to a Taliban man came and sought to receive help from me. She didn’t come with a car or a bicycle, so she had walked for miles and miles from their camp. She had heard what we were doing and was seeking medical assistance because her husband wouldn’t let her go to a hospital. I helped her because she couldn’t go anywhere else. Soon after, women from all surrounding villages began coming to our home to seek medical help.

I came to the USA with the dream of studying in a nursing program and becoming a nurse. I want to work with the elderly, just like in the beginning when I took care of my mom. In my culture, you never disrespect the elderly. You take care of them, and let your children play with them. I want my children to know about this part of my culture. I want my children to see value in the elderly.

 

If you would like to be active in welcoming similar families to America, whether through friendship or the donation of goods and services, please contact jlong@wr.org.

 

*Name has been changed for the woman’s security.

12 Nov 2018

This morning, we have the honor of sitting in the presence of one of the bravest women I have come to know. Ara* is sharing her story of bravery in the face of terror. We invite you to grab a cup of coffee (or tea!) and join us in learning her story.

I grew up in a big family and grew up with very high ideals of family. My father had a good education and served in the Afghan army. When he was younger, he came to America and studied in Kansas City, Missouri. When I was young, I wanted to finish my studies like him and take care of my mom full-time because she got very sick. I took care of her for a long time while going to school, learning English and becoming interested in medicine. After graduating secondary school and my mother’s death, I started studying in a nursing program. I was inspired by taking care of my mother, because I had learned how to take care of the elderly.

When the situation came to Afghanistan, it was very difficult. It was especially very difficult being a woman or a child. Women couldn't go to school, so I wasn't able to get my nursing certificate. They shut off hospitals to all women and children and only gave them access to private clinics. In private clinics with poor people in a poor country, doctors would prescribe vulnerable patients all of these different and expensive medications, and patients would pay for it because they thought it would heal them. People were spending everything they had and borrowing from friends and family because they believed if they did, they would be healed. I was passionate about helping young women and children. I desired to educate young women and children on how to be healthy and to help them be healthy. So, in the back of my father’s home, I took a room and started providing clinical services to women and children. I would provide vaccinations, nursing services, and educate young girls about their body development. It was very difficult work because there were so many people who needed help. I was about 18 or 19 when I started this clinic. My sister is a pediatrician, and she helped me run it.

It was extremely dangerous work. One day, a Talib man came and knocked on the door of my father’s house. My father answered, not knowing what to expect. The man complained that every day, there were always women and children coming in and out of our house. My father answered and explained that my sister and I were running a small clinic for women and children. The man said “okay,” and let us keep working! It was a miracle from God! After several days, a woman who was married to a Taliban man came to the clinic and sought to receive help from me. She didn't come with a car or a bicycle, so she had walked for miles and miles from their camp. She had heard what we were doing and was seeking medical assistance because her husband wouldn't let her go to a hospital. I helped her because she couldn't go anywhere else. Soon after, women from all surrounding villages began coming to our home to seek medical help.

I came to America one year ago with the dream of studying in a nursing program and becoming a nurse. I want to work with the elderly, just like in the beginning when I took care of my mom. In my culture, you never disrespect the elderly. You take care of them, and let your children play with them. I want my children to know about this part of my culture. I want my children to see value in the elderly.

If you would like to be active in welcoming similar families to America, whether through friendship or the donation of goods and services, please contact jlong@wr.org.

*Name has been changed for the woman’s security.

26 Oct 2018

 

 

We sat down with Abdul and Tasneem* a newly-wed couple from Afghanistan. They shared with us about their story of coming to America, how their love came to be, and all in between. We invite you to grab a cup of tea (or coffee!) and join us in reading their story.

“I moved to America about three years ago. In Afghanistan, I worked for the US military for 6 years in a few different ways. I worked with them as a translator, in database and computers, and I made some books for them.  When you work with the US Army or foreign people, it becomes hard to live [in Afghanistan] for security purposes. It becomes very dangerous. When the US Army moved after 2015, many people were jobless and the capital was a very dangerous area.

While all of this was going on, they gave approval to help [Afghan men and women who worked with the US Army] to apply for SIVs, Special Immigration Visa. The project manager, a man from America, showed me how to apply and was a very good guide. He showed me the way. He even gave me a recommendation letter because one necessary part of the application is to have recommendation from an American citizen. I came to America in April 2015 and earlier this year, I went back to get married and bring my wife here with me.”

“I met my husband in a family way. My family and his family have a friendship. They were visiting at a party and after talking, my family decided to go to their house to talk about engagement. We have kind of both arranged marriages and a choice in marriage. The first part is arranged. The father goes there and talks with that family and send a picture of their daughter. They can talk on Skype or email, and if the man and woman accept each other, then they get engaged. It’s not actually on the family to choose.”

“Over there, the boyfriend/girlfriend system is not there, unlike America where boys and girls can talk to each other. Even schools are separated. The only way you can talk to a girl you don’t know is to send your family to her house to talk about a potential relationship. You cannot talk directly with a girl on the street or at school or at a shop about these matters.

We didn’t actually meet until I went back to Afghanistan earlier this year. After our engagement, all of our family had a party and informed the rest of our family that we got engaged because we accepted each other. We communicated by Skype and email while I was here. It was difficult, you know? When I returned earlier this year, we got married and we stayed in Afghanistan for about 6 months. Then I come back here, with her, together.”

“When I came here, I didn’t like it at first. But now I’m getting better because the weather has changed, the food has changed. I was sick for the first two or three months because of my pregnancy, but now I am doing better than before. Also, I miss my family. I have never traveled outside of my country until now, and that’s why all this pressure has come at the same time.”

If you would like to support this couple or another family expecting a baby, you can go to worldrelieffortworth.org/give or contact kbrandon@wr.org to donate gently used household or baby items. 

*Names have been changed for the couple’s security.

16 Oct 2018

In February, we were tasked with taking a mother from a Muslim culture to a food bank to get her registered and pick up food for her. When we arrived at her apartment, she very eagerly showed us the shopping list her son had written out for us. It included items such as eggs, milk, fresh produce, flour and other staples. She was so excited to fill her list.

 

We arrived at the food bank, and even though we had major communication issues with each other, we were able to fill out the necessary forms and get her approved for some boxes of food. We waited at the door we were directed to, and the workers brought out two boxes of food!! She anxiously started sorting through the boxes, only to discover they contained items like bacon, processed lunch meat, lots of cookies, chips - none of the items on her list. In fact, I imagine several of the items in the boxes would not be allowed in her home due to dietary restraints from her culture and religion. We knew she needed food for her family, so we headed off to a nearby Walmart.

 

When we entered Walmart, our friend looked like a kid in a candy store. She started filling bags with onions, mangos, vegetables, bunches of bananas, multiple bags of flour, baking supplies, spices, gallons of milk, and dozens of eggs!! Two shopping carts later we checked out, loaded her food in the car, and took her home. I'm sure she had enough food to feed her family of 5 for a month. 

 

We take so many things for granted as Americans. Going shopping at Walmart is an old hat but seeing her appreciation for the quantity and quality of food items makes us appreciate what we have. We were blessed with the chance to show the love of Christ to this woman and her family by meeting her material needs. 

 

Bruce and Cathy Ralston