The sorrow behind the smile

Let me introduce you to the faces in the Houston's Refugee Voices profile picture, one by one:

This 8-yr old girl is from Aleppo, Syria. She has been in Houston for about 7 months now. Her dad is a tailor, and he keeps busy between looking for work and taking his daughter to doctor's appointments... because this sweet girl has leukemia. When her family stepped off the plane, they went straight to the Medical Center. They are thankful to be in America, in part because their daughter can receive excellent medical care.

Going Places: Binyam

Let me introduce you to the faces in the Houston's Refugee Voices profile picture, one by one. On the bottom right is Binyam Gebrehewet, and he is featured on the Alliance website:

"Binyam was nominated by Alliance for Multicultural Community Services for his success as an entrepreneur and for his dedication to helping newly-arrived refugees succeed.

Fleeing religious persecution, Binyam left Eritrea and began his long journey to seek asylum in the United States. Shortly after his asylee status was approved, he was resettled to Houston. Once in Houston, Binyam took a $15,000 loan from the Alliance for Multicultural Community Services through the Refugee Micro-Enterprise Program to buy his first tow truck. Because of the success of his enterprise, he was able to repay his loan in full and purchase an eighteen-wheeler. By 2010, Binyam’s company was so successful that he was able to purchase a second truck, rent office space and employ two drivers. Today his company, Bag Transport, has six trucks and 21 employees. Most of his employees are former refugees who have made Houston their home."

Wait and see: Iraqi woman

Let me introduce you to the faces in the Houston's Refugee Voices profile picture, one by one:

What would it feel like to not be able to see your family? This Iraqi woman has 5 grown children: 2 in Iraq, 2 in Jordan, and 1 in Russia completing his medical studies. Her kids have not yet been approved for resettlement; they are on a waiting list to join their parents.

What would it feel like to not be able to see? This woman has a bad case of glaucoma in one eye, rendering her virtually blind in that eye. To her, life is very dark these days. She desperately misses her children, and alternately cries and laughs when she talks about them.

At least her husband is with her, but he has leg issues, and needs a walker and wheelchair. They rely heavily on Medicaid drivers and volunteers for errands and transportation to medical appointments. They are thankful to be here but, understandably, their hearts ache for their children.


Bhutanese global pastor

Let me introduce you to the 4th face in our profile picture:

Meet Bhadra Rai. He was born in Bhutan, but his family was forced into a Nepalese refugee camp due to ethnic discrimination. Fortunately he was able to leave the camp for a few years to go to India for high school and university. Life in the camp was hard but something significant happened there that shaped his future: Bhadra's whole family accepted Christ in the refugee camp upon the miraculous healing of his sister from a life-threatening illness. His father later became a pastor, and Bhadra followed in his footsteps.

In September 2008 Bhadra and his sister were the first Bhutanese refugeees to be resettled in Houston. One year later, Bhadra planted a church, the Canaan Bhutanese Church of Houston, a Nepalese-speaking congregation that belongs to a greater network of about 15 Bhutanese churches in Texas. Bhadra's influence, however, reaches beyond Houston and Texas. He leads an international organization of Bhutanese pastors that will be holding a global conference of Nepalese-speaking Bhutanese pastors in India next month. Pastor Bhadra serves and leads within the Bhutanese Christian community with vision and passion.