Saint Paul Reformation has provided sanctuary to Dorcas and her three children, Daniel (11), Elizabeth (8) and Deborah (6) since September, 2017. They came from the Southwestern Nigerian city of Ibadan, Oyo State, where Dorcas served as a teacher in a Christian school. They arrived in Houston, Texas, in March of 2017 and petitioned for asylum. After a period of detention, as well as living in a homeless shelter, the family was referred to our congregation by immigration lawyers who had learned of our willingness to host a family. We provide them with secure and comfortable housing and a supportive community in meeting their health, educational, and legal representation needs while they pursue a just resolution of their immigration status. This mission brings us many challenges, but we have received more than we have given through their gratitude and faith witness, and through the rediscovery of the life-enhancing power of human community. We accompanied the family recently to an initial immigration court hearing where they were assigned a formal asylum hearing in July of 2020.
Dorcas and her children are actively involved in our congregation’s worship and activities, serving as ushers, participating in weekly Bible study gatherings, and, in the case of the children, being baptized in a special Sunday service. We have been blessed by their presence among us and by the opportunity to express our faith active in love. Dorcas will become eligible to obtain a permit to work in September, 2018. She is presently pursuing employment training opportunities through an organization called Daily Work. The children are enrolled at Maxfield Elementary school and have risen to the challenge of adapting to a new world with courage and relative ease. In a recent school newsletter, Daniel expressed gratitude for the peace and security he now feels here.