Congrats to Aluet and family!

Fr. Herb DeWees writes about a refugee’s journey to citizenship.

Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come;
‘Tis grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.

This week we celebrate God’s grace in the lives of Aluet Deng and her daughters Anok, Awel, and Khamis. The family is well known to St. John’s. Aluet came to Dallas January 2012 from Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. She was eight when she South Sudan after her village was attacked by soldiers from north. Aluet first lived in Uganda where her father was killed while serving in the army. She and her mother then walked to the camp in Kenya where her girls would be born.

Refugees are able to apply for citizenship after living in the U.S. for five years, provided they can prove their ability to speak, read, and write in English, and pass a civics test. In August 2018, Aluet applied. St. John’s parishioners Kathleen Compton, Charity Cornelius, and Emily DeWees worked tirelessly with Aluet to help her prepare, usually after her long day of work at the Dallas Athletic Club.

Aluet had never had the opportunity for education, even before her arrival in America. So it was an enormous challenge for her to learn to read and write sentences from the word lists provided by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. At the same time, her girls Khamis, Awel, and Anok have thrived in school. On the road to citizenship, they, too, became part of their mother’s tutoring team!

On August 26, 2019, Aluet took the citizenship exam. She passed the English speaking test, the civics test, and the reading test, but not the writing test. She would be given only one chance to take the test again. October 25 would be the day!

Thank you, St. John’s, for praying! Many parishioners and ministry groups prayed for the family: the Cantate Deo choir, the intercessory prayer team, the Daughters of the King, the church clergy and staff. We prayed like we pray for our kids: “Please, Lord, help Aluet remember what she learned. Please give her your peace. Let her know you are with her. Let her have a compassionate officer. And please let her questions ask for answers in the words she knows best!”

After 30 minutes of testing, Aluet emerged with her kind, understanding, encouraging officer. She wrote “Citizens can vote” on her paper. She passed!

Aluet could not wait to get outside the USCIS Center to express her joy and to praise Jesus for his mercy and grace. She lifted her hands to heaven, praising and thanking God for the love he showed her through her sisters and brothers in Christ, and for the freedom she has been given in this country. She jumped for joy and she hugged and kissed the flagpole!

Aluet will become a U.S. citizen at the Naturalization Oath Ceremony on November 14 at noon. Her daughters will become citizens automatically at the same time. Thanks be to God! Glory to you, Lord Christ!

Thank you, St. John’s family, for your help and prayers! You got in the Game!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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