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Three Stories of Welcoming Refugees Across the U.S.

Did you know that World Relief Chicagoland is just one office location among 17 other U.S. offices of World Relief? As we welcome refugees and serve immigrants throughout the Chicago area, we know that across the country, other offices are doing their part to welcome new arrivals to their cities! Each shares a vision for creating communities where immigrants and refugees thrive. And each has powerful stories to share of the people who come to the U.S. after leaving their home country.

The three stories below are from World Relief offices in Washington state, Memphis, Tennessee, and North Texas. Each features a courageous and resilient family. Each family experienced a tragedy that forced them to flee. And yet each story also shows evidence of hope and a future ahead.

Amira admits, “I never expected to be a refugee.

For Amira, life felt almost perfect… then the United States invaded Iraq and her life changed forever. She started as a top student studying linguistics. Her work and research made her a university professor. She was surrounded by family. Even after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Amira stayed for three years. She wanted to rebuild her country. But then it became too dangerous to stay…

Read Amira’s story of coming to the U.S. from Iraq as a refugee and about how today, she speaks up as an advocate for refugees and caseworker with World Relief Tri-Cities in Washington state.

Nazia worries for her friends and family in Afghanistan. “It’s not one person, two people, not even one hundred—it’s more like a million people.”

When Nazia, her husband, and three children arrived in Memphis in 2019, they came with the hope of providing a safe future for their daughters and son. Because Nazia’s husband worked on special projects for the U.S. and Nazia worked for Western media, their whole family had been at risk in Afghanistan. Threats from the Taliban forced the family from their home. Seeking safety, the family sold their belongings and traveled to the U.S. on Special Immigrant Visas. In 2019, they arrived in Memphis, Tennessee, where the long work of rebuilding their lives began.

Read Nazia’s story about how World Relief Memphis is helping her family as they dream of their future in the United States…while mourning and praying for their home country of Afghanistan.

David says that the most important thing to know about Afghans is that “Whenever a guest comes to our house, we’re happy for it. We say that guest is not only our guest, it’s God’s guest that came to our house.”

At World Relief North Texas, David practices his culture’s value of hospitality. As an Afghan immigrant, he uses his knowledge of both U.S. and Afghan culture to help the World Relief North Texas team welcome the influx of people arriving from Afghanistan. David and his family escaped Afghanistan in August, so he easily recalls the rush to flee to safety. And he remembers World Relief’s welcome to his family just a few months ago.

Read David’s story of how his experience working with Americans in Afghanistan as a translator is helping welcome other new arrivals to the U.S. through cultural orientation while his own family adjusts to life in Texas.

María’s Story: Letter from a New U.S. Citizen

Jerome’s Story: Becoming A U.S. Citizen After Escaping Violence

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