Shepherd of the Hills received a special offering on May 6th to bless the Mohammadi family. The Mohammadi's, originally from Afghanistan, are a family that fled a war they did not want and left a home they had had for generations. Several members of Shepherd of the Hills have helped along the way to aid their transition. Jill Thomas or Rob Hart will share with us Sunday, May 6th prior to receiving the special offering a little more about this resilient family. The Mohammadi family will join us for Worship the following Sunday, May 13th.
Every day in the media we are confronted with either images of war and its aftermath or the images in our minds from the stories we hear on the radio. The Mohammadi's are a family that fled a war they did not want and left a home they had had for generations.
A year ago exhausted, confused and maybe a little scared the Mohammadi's landed at Terminal 4 and started their new lives. Their only English was "hello". They are from Afghanistan but had been living in Pakistan the previous 4 years. They lived with the family of the oldest daughter’s husband’s family. They still remain in Pakistan with their 2 small girls. In Afghanistan theirs was a simple life of farming and shepherding the animals they lived on. We learned that the kids really have never been to school- in Afghanistan there were animals to bring to the mountain sides to graze and for girls, education does not usually happen. Sometimes the oldest boy would attend school but with school fees it was not always possible to come up with the money.
Once they had hired a car to drive to Pakistan with their worldly possessions they became this word "refugee"- a people without a home. Not having documents and citizenship in Pakistan they were unable to work legally and the children could not attend school. It was in Pakistan that Zakia's husband was killed in a bombing. A slip of paper with a phone number on it was the ticket out of Pakistan and to the US for the family. The number on the piece of paper given to mom Zakia was to the UNHCR and she was able to register the family for possible resettlement. Less than 1% of the worlds refugees are resettled in the US, Canada, EU or Australia. The years in Pakistan were hard; the boys worked 10-12 hours a day at a restaurant, Zabi the youngest played soccer at the park with friends every day. Razia the daughter would watch the girls going to and from school every day and dream of a time that she too could attend school.
Today the family is doing amazingly well. The older boys Rohullah and Abdul are working at the Safeway at 48th St/Indian School Roads. Rohullah was recently promoted to the deli. Razia should start working here very soon at a neighborhood Starbucks. Mom Zakia takes a bus then light rail to their resettlement agency Lutheran Social Services and attends English classes 4 days a week. Zabi is a star student in his class and when we talk to all of the kid's teachers we only hear how great they are doing and how hard they are working.
All of the kids will take summer school this summer. Both sessions. There is much to make up, but their excitement about their new life and the ability to go to school is so amazing. Thank you to all of you who have helped to make this tradition for the family that much easier, Bill for helping to teach the kids to drive and to be a friend. Judy who not only helps with driving but is another person the family can count on when so much of their lives there was no foundation to stand upon.