How a refugee eager to be in the U.S. found help from the Miami faithful

Tuesday, 14 November 2017, 01:16:39 PM. St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Coconut Grove helped sponsor the resettlement of a refugee from Iran who spent nearly three years in Turkey waiting to come to the United States. He’s thriving and the church couldn’t be happier.
Nima Masoumi left the city of Esfahan in Iran because he wanted to be free to choose his religion — even if that meant choosing no religion at all. Masoumi left behind his parents, two sisters and a brother, hoping to reach the United States. He spent nearly three years in Turkey while being vetted by the U.S. State Department and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Unable to work legally in Turkey, he toiled in the Turkish “underground,” washing dishes, working construction and doing whatever he could to survive. “It was really tough,” said Masoumi, now 33. “You don’t know anybody. You don’t know the language. You have to pay rent. You have to eat.” While that was happening, Pope Francis had asked Catholic parishes around the world to take in refugees, especially from war-torn countries. That call to action also inspired congregations outside the Roman Catholic Church such as St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Coconut Grove. On sabbatical, the Rev. Wilifred Allen-Faiella, the rector at St. Stephen’s, had traveled to Greece andthe former Yugoslavia. While there, she witnessed Syrian refugees living in camps. “I was pretty shaken up by this experience,” she said. “When I got back to St. Stephen’s, one of our parishioners asked what we were doing to help refugees.” Allen-Faiella got in touch with the Episcopal Migration Ministries to set up a partnership between the group and the church. At the third and final meeting of St. Stephen’s parishioners regarding refugees,...Read more
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