“Please, go visit my nephew’s house in the city. They are ready for you.” We caught a cab and made our way across town. He met us on the upstairs balcony. “Come inside! Welcome!”
Inside was a spread of fruit and a fantastic feast awaiting us. They’d gone and purchased food especially for our visit. Their toddler son was busy running around the kitchen getting us three beverages each, a sign of hospitality that they could offer us a choice.
“I graduated from University in Burma. I learned to read, write, and speak Burmese and English, too. But because I am Rohingya, I was not allowed a diploma for high school or college. All of my hard work with nothing to show for it.
“A while back, I had a stroke that left me half paralyzed. I got a little bit of therapy for a while, but here in Malaysia we don’t get very good medical care. They don’t want us here. Rohingya have no rights in this country. So I have been doing whatever I can at home to get better, but it’s very hard. Also I cannot work to support my family because of my injury and because Malaysia does not allow us to work legally.
“We applied and we are almost finished with the process to resettle to the United States. Just medical checks and culture orientation before we can move. Thanks be to God, I am hopeful we can find a new life there.”
I looked up his new city on Google Maps and showed him pictures of his soon-to-be home, told him his kids would have places to play safely, encouraged him that they will have equitable access to the things they have needed for so long.
“In America, your children will have access to medical care. And people can help you get connected to physical therapy and later to jobs. Once you get there and have some time to settle in and learn more English, people may be able to help you figure out getting work as an interpreter, too.”
His face lit up with a glint of hope and a flash of disbelief. That this would be possible for someone like him, who has been pushed aside his whole life? Hard to fathom. That a country would actually welcome his family with open arms? Inconceivable.
But it’s real. None of us is perfect – America isn’t perfect – but so many are ready and willing to help. Ready and willing to be part of cultivating HOPE in whatever ways we can.
Just like that glint in his eyes. We’re ready to watch it grow.
– Pray for Rohingya in Malaysia who suffer from injury or illness and struggle to provide for their families.
– Pray for families who are beginning the long journey to resettle in new countries. Ask God for the connections they need in their new cities to navigate all of the challenges and to find hope and healing in Jesus.
– Pray for those Rohingya who cannot be resettled, that they would know hope in their maker.