As I sat on the couch with Lisa*, she recalled a dream she had when she was a young girl.
At first, all she could see was darkness but as she flew, lights began to appear beneath her — mesmerizing her. There was so much happening in the city below as cars and people went about their lives.
She was filled with wonder, exclaiming, “what is this place?” as she knew it was far from her home village in Zambia. It was as if it was calling out to her, whispering in her ear that this is where she belonged.
She wondered if what she saw was Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. She had never seen it before but had heard from others in the village of its “beautiful buildings and beautiful cars.” She begged her mother to go to the city, hoping to see the place of her dreams, but her family could not afford the trip.
A Dream Come True
Years later, her dream came to her again as she flew into the United States as a refugee. Looking out the window of the airplane, she saw those same lights which called to her many years before.
It was as if God was sitting next to her asking “Do you remember this?” and she knew this was what she had dreamed of. “God is good,” she told me as she recalled the life she had before and how much it has changed since then.
Growing up in a poor village in Zambia was hard for Lisa. There were very few opportunities available to her in the community outside of working on a farm or doing domestic housework. She wanted more for herself and her family — a job, food on the table, and a house of her own.
When the chance arose to come to the United States in 2009, she seized her opportunity for what she hoped would be a good life in America.
Leaving behind her mother and siblings, she flew to the U.S. where she settled in New York for a time before relocating twice and ending up in the Quad Cities.
It was not easy at first, and she recalls having “suffered a little”– but “God always finds a way.”
She came into contact with World Relief Quad Cities. Through assisting with translating for another family in her community, Lisa met several of the World Relief team who were able to recognize unmet needs she had and help her to continue her journey.
Now, Lisa is a mother of 4 (one who I was lucky enough to meet when I spoke with her) who dreams of getting her U.S. citizenship, buying her own house, and helping bring her mother to live with her.
And hopefully, she will continue to live in the cities she once dreamed about as a young girl.
Written by Alyssa Twilbeck
*Name has been changed to protect Lisa’s identity.