Lucky Jehovah Witness Refugee makes it to Phoenix
Double CelebrationPHOENIX—Six years ago, Yosan Tesfay sneaked across the border from her home country of Eritrea to Ethiopia to flee religious persecution. This Wednesday, the Jehovah’s Witness made it into the U.S. just before the doors shut to refugees for at least four months.Yosan Tesfay walks with Julie Black and other members of the International Rescue Committee to the baggage claim area after arriving from Ethiopia.After a three-day odyssey, which included a nerve-racking secondary inspection at Los Angeles International Airport, Ms. Tesfay emerged bleary-eyed at the airport in Phoenix ready to begin her new life in America alone.Ms. Tesfay’s eyes welled with tears as she spotted welcome posters hoisted by volunteers and staff from the International Rescue Committee, the agency settling her in Phoenix.“I’m very, very happy,” she said, her voice breaking, two days before her 29th birthday.Ms. Tesfay hangs her clothes at her hotel room after arriving in Phoenix on Feb. 1.Yosan Tesfay sees her hotel room after arriving in Phoenix from Ethiopia on Feb. 1.Ms. Tesfay said she nearly died from food deprivation and beatings during the year that she was imprisoned for her religious beliefs and for refusing to serve in the military, which goes against the practices of Jehovah’s Witnesses. She fled her home country in 2011 to neighboring Ethiopia, where she received refugee designation from the U.N.Her wait thus began for a new country to call home. Ms. Tesfay had no idea whether she would end up in Europe or North America.A year ago, she was summoned to begin a process that involved interviews, security checks, finger printing and physical exams. As it unfolded, she was informed the U.S. had selected her for resettlement.Three weeks ago, Ms. Tesfay learned she would be Phoenix-bound Jan. 31. As she prepared to leave, she heard about the resettlement suspension. “They told me I was one of the lucky ones. I thanked God,” she said.Ms. Tesfay resettled into her Phoenix apartment on Friday, her 29th birthday, in Glendale, Ariz. She heard about the resettlement suspension as she prepared to leave Ethiopia. ‘They told me I was one of the lucky ones. I thanked God,’ she said.The IRC in Phoenix, which helped about 1,200 refugees last year, had expected 10 cases—individuals or families—this week. Travel was canceled for all of them due to the ban, except Ms. Tesfay.“She is literally our last case,” said Nicky Walker, an IRC manager who was at the airport.—Reported by Miriam Jordan; photographs by Sandy Huffaker for The Wall Street Journal, Caitlin O’Hara for The Wall Street Journal
So your saying that evil disgusting Satan controlled UN rescued her and not jehovahs hand?! Hmmm
I hope she remembers those who brought her here, the next time someone badmouths non JWs from the platform.
A Congolese family in Massachusetts....
USA: Boston Globe
A whole new world for refugee family resettling in N.E.
February 3, 2017
The Congolese refugees huddled rapt around a stove in the early morning darkness. They had never used one before, and they watched in their new home Friday as a resettlement worker flipped the burners off and on.
They had never used a refrigerator, either. Or seen water pass through a faucet. Or been told how to lock a door. Or adjust a thermostat. Or even how to squeeze shampoo from a tube.
Twenty years in a refugee camp in Uganda will insulate a family from everyday conveniences that Americans take for granted. But here they were, bewildered and grateful — a mother, father, and five children who received a waiver from President Trump’s ban on new arrivals.
Their vetting process took nearly three years, the family said. A total of 684 Congolese refugees arrived in Massachusetts from 2011 to 2015, according to the state Department of Public Health.
In Lowell on Friday, after hours of explanation and advice from Mansour and Denaud, 16-year-old Maria Uwimana floated a final question: Where can we find a church?
The family members are Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Maria’s query was answered a short time later when a small group of well-wishers suddenly entered the living room and welcomed the new arrivals with hugs and conversation in Swahili.
They, too, are Jehovah’s Witnesses and had been at a gas station only a block away when the day’s interpreter, former Congolese refugee Kafila Bulimwengu, called to tell them about the newcomers.
Approximately a dozen Congolese have already joined Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in nearby Chelmsford, said Markus Lewis, who is part of a church group that has learned Swahili to communicate with African worshipers.
Lewis shook hands with Sendegeya Bayavuge, the family’s 52-year-old father, who gradually began to relax as the day wore on. At the airport, sitting with his children after the grueling trip, he appeared exhausted and apprehensive.
It's a heartwarming story, but one wonders what will happen, now that they have gone from extreme poverty shared by everyone around them, and are asked to remain poor and uneducated while surrounded by opportunity.