Working with local refugees is an illuminating and rewarding experience in so many ways! I have an Afghan friend that I’ll call “Tasha”, which, of course isn’t her real name. Tasha and her husband and 2 year old son moved to America from Kabul, Afghanistan in July, 2021. Thus, this is the first July 4th they will celebrate in America! They came because the situation in Afghanistan was growing worse, and while they hated to leave their family, Tasha’s husband had US military connections which made it easier for them to leave. Little did they know their country would fall to the Taliban within the next two months.
I was assigned to work with Tasha through an organization that helps refugees primarily from Afghanistan to settle into their new communities. When I first met her in September, Tasha had just learned that they were expecting their 2nd child. She told me that in Afghanistan, she had a degree in teaching. All of her brothers and sisters had degrees, because, at that time, women were still allowed to attend college. Her older parents owned their home, had a garden, and walked around the streets of Kabul for two miles each day in order to “stay in shape”. But now things have changed dramatically: Tasha’s brothers and sisters have mostly fled to Turkey, except for two still at home. Neither the sister (a former police officer) nor her parents can leave their house, although they try to have their garden inside their compound. Her brother, who worked for the government, still has his job and helps care for his parents, but he is not allowed to drive his car. The Taliban keeps a close eye on him. They took his car, and pick him up in the morning and return him to his home each evening. Somehow, he can buy a few groceries.
Meanwhile, in America, Tasha and her husband just welcomed their baby girl in June, and, yes, the baby has loads of dark hair and is simply precious! Tasha is learning to drive. Their little boy, now 3, loves dinosaurs and trucks and playing on the playground at their apartment complex which Tasha is free to walk outside to and from. Her husband works as a delivery driver and hopes to get a better paying job soon. They are saving up to buy a home. I’ve helped them learn to pay bills online, acquire used appliances, snag some great deals on baby items, and send in the paperwork for their little girl’s birth certificate. Mostly, I help Tasha practice English. They have fed us delicious Afghani food! Today, when I visited, I looked online for the nearest place for them to watch fireworks, and I just happened to bring a small American flag for Tasha and her family. Frankly, I only spent 99 cents on it, but when I gave it to her, the light in her eyes was worth a million dollars! She gently stroked our flag, then looked me in the eye and said, “Oh! This is SO special!! I do not have a flag! This is SO special!” As we honor America this weekend, please remember to keep praying for the people of Afghanistan and other closed nations in the world. Also, please pray that I will have opportunities to share the love of Christ with Tasha and her family.