(Abwe writes this letter to Congress, from March 12th 2019)
To Our Esteemed Representatives and Senators,
On behalf of the recently resettled refugees in Northwest Arkansas, I would like to present to you, our distinguished Members of Congress, our deep and sincere thanks for having facilitated our resettlement in your good and beautiful country.
Your good will is a direct representation of God who had compassion on the children of Israel, who were in the extreme miseries of slavery, and helped them leave Egypt and brought them to a good and vast country, flowing with milk and honey (Exodus 3:7-8), and of His son Jesus who drew near to those who were weary and heavy burdened and promised them rest (Matthew 11:28).
I beg of you to continue this good will and allow for the refugee resettlement program to once again resettle refugees at the historic average volume of 80,000 per year, showing them the same compassion you showed me. Your country is not just flowing with milk and honey, but with incredible opportunity, perfect peace, security, rights, comforts and even the chance for leisure and fun. It is as close as we come to heaven on earth.
We have so much gratitude for our resettlement agency, Canopy NWA, for their generosity, empathy and kindness, as well as that of our co-sponsors and the whole community in Northwest Arkansas. Our community truly is an incredible representation of the best characteristics of all Americans, and so we extend our sincere thanks to the American people for making it possible for us to resettle here. May God bless you richly.
We know that we are ignorant about a lot of things and that sometimes we unwittingly commit cultural mistakes that can be upsetting or frustrating to our receiving community. For that, we apologize and promise to continue learning and becoming the best Americans we can. It is certainly a big challenge for us to adapt and conform, but it is nothing like the challenges we fled.
We come to you having fled from all-out war: massacres, genocide (even if it hasn’t received that title, I believe it is fitting as more than 6 million souls have been murdered in the Democratic Republic of Congo since the conflict began), rape of our women and girls and the resulting spread of auto-immune disease among our people, stalled education, lack of healthcare or hygiene—all of these things taking the lives of innocent people every day. We have witnessed the violation of human rights, democracy and independence, the oppression and suppression of voters. And we have watched all these things repeat themselves over and over again as our country lives and relives the cycle of war and massacre.
Then there were the refugee camps where we suffered from malnutrition, depending on rations that were always fluctuating and never enough, insufficient drinking water, and perpetual outbreaks of diseases, such as malaria.
Arriving here in the US was like being raised from the dead!
As I mentioned previously, we have certainly struggled to adapt in the very short resettlement period of 90 days as we overcome language barriers and computer literacy, learn the expectations of our employers, take our drivers’ tests and navigate the public transportation system. But, dear representatives and senators, your country took us in when were in need and continues to take in the needy and for that, we are grateful.
Thank you for the grace you have shown us and for listening to these requests. We trust that they will be well received. God bless the United States, the House and Senate and the entire US government, and God bless our co-sponsors and our community.
Pastor Abwe Abedi