by Alison Goldhor and Jennifer Asp
From the moment that the Church of the Cross welcome team met “F” and her family at the airport on June 24, we felt a deep bond of friendship and mutual affection. As different team members spent time with her we learned bits and pieces about the family’s background but language was a limitation. So I asked a Somali-speaking friend, Sue, to visit F with me. She was able to piece together a heart-breaking story. A sick husband in Somalia who urged the family to leave for safety’s sake. F, as a single mom with a baby and three young boys, had many months of moving from country to country (Ethiopia, Turkey, Syria) looking for a safe haven and a way to provide for them all. They eventually found their way to a refugee camp in Jordan. F served as a translator for the United Nations as she’s fluent in Arabic having grown up in Kuwait. After four years the family was accepted by the US for resettling in Minnesota where she has relatives. At that point she had not had any word of her husband since leaving Somalia.
Sue was touched that F was willing to share all this with us and asked if we could pray for her. She prayed blessings over F and her children, and she also asked the Lord to put F back in touch with her husband. That felt like a very bold prayer to me after five years of silence, not knowing if he’s even still alive. But then I thought, if I were F that’s what I’d want so of course we should pray for news of him – and I encouraged others on the welcome team to pray the same way.
Fast forward to Thursday September 15 (coincidentally designated a Global Day of Prayer for Somalis) and Jen Asp picks up the story…
I’ve taken my kids, Caroline and Joshua, to visit F and her kids every time we’ve gone. It has been such a joy and it’s also been the catalyst of a few difficult conversations. One of them was why F didn’t have a husband with her. We were privileged to hear F’s story on our first visit, but as English was a tricky medium, I repeated everything she said to see if I understood her correctly. Consequently, my kids were very aware of her broken heart.
We went to visit F on Thursday, September 15, and we were struggling to keep it together—not really expecting a miracle. The Arrive Ministry worker was with her and wanted to introduce F to newly arrived neighbors, so we all ventured into the apartment complex hall—not an obvious venue for a miracle. Then, F stopped and told me her husband called her on Monday. We screamed, cried, hugged, cried, and I peppered her with questions while also offering cake (because what else can a person do when witnessing a direct answer to prayer?) And between sobs, she thought cake was a good idea.
The details are rough, but apparently she still has family in Kuwait and one of them stumbled into her husband and gave him F’s information. So her husband called her out of the blue. She was so stunned, she said she’d cried all week and hadn’t been able to tell her own family here. I told her we’d prayed that God would give her word of her husband—and that He’d answered that prayer! She said to tell the team as soon as possible.
When we got to the car, Josh said, “Mom, God heard those prayers and answered them. He really does hear us when we pray, doesn’t he?!” Honestly, I felt just as shocked. I joined in the prayer because Alison suggested it (and she is VERY wise). The other part of our prayer was that F would know Jesus was the One who brought her news of her husband. Please join us in praying– and we can all celebrate together with more cake!