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Heart of Texas: Dallas Churches Welcome Refugees

Dallas is a key destination for refugees, especially for Iraqi refugees. Several area churches have been rolling out the welcome mat to those who are making America their new home. Read Transcript


Reporter: THIS SCENE OF

U.S. TROOPS TOPPLING IRAQI

DICTATOR SADDAM HUSSEIN MADE

NEWS AROUND THE WORLD.

IT ALSO GAVE ABNER ABRAHAM

THE FEELING OF FREEDOM FOR

THE FIRST TIME.

I'M SO THANKFUL FOR THE

U.S. TROOPS, ALL OUR HEROS,

AND SUCH A GREAT JOB.

Reporter: AND AMERICA'S

MILITARY PUT HIM TO WORK AS

A TRANSLATOR FOR U.S. AND

COALITION FORCES.

IT WAS A SAFE HOUSE FOR

SADDAM'S COUSIN IN OUR

NEIGHBORHOOD.

THE U.S. ARMY TOOK OVER THAT

SAFE HOUSE.

THE NEXT DAY I WELCOMED

THEM.

I SAID I LIVE HERE AND KNOW

THE AREA, AND I SPEAK 50%

ENGLISH AND I'M READY TO

HELP YOU GUYS.

THEY SAID, SURE.

Reporter: THAT HELP

ALSO MADE HIM A TARGET OF

THE TALIBAN.

I DIDN'T WANT TO PUT MY

FAMILY AT RISK.

I FELT IT WAS A TIME FOR ME

TO LEAVE COUNTRY.

Reporter: BUT GETTING

OUT WAS NOT EASY.

I GOT BLOWN UP IN 2007.

A ROOF-SIDE BOMB.

THEY TOLD ME YOU CAN'T WALK

ANYMORE.

Reporter: MIRACULOUSLY,

ABNER RECOVERED AND MOVED TO

THE U.S. UNDER A SPECIAL

GOVERNMENT VISA PROGRAM.

HE SETTLED IN DALLAS,

TEXAS.

ABNER JOINED A GROANING

GROWING NUMBER OF REFUGEES

IN THIS AREA, MANY COME FROM

IRAQ, BURMA, AND BITON.

MANY ARE DRAWN HERE BECAUSE

OF FAMILY TIES.

THE STATE DEPARTMENT ASSIGNS

REFUGEES TO PLACES WHERE

THEY HAVE RELATIVES, JOB

OPPORTUNITIES, AND A

COMMUNITY.

MANY OF THE REFUGEES IN THE

DALLAS AREA ARE HOUSED IN

THIS APARTMENT COMPLEX,

WHICH IS MADE UP OF VARIOUS

ETHNIC GROUPS FROM DIFFERENT

COUNTRIES.

REFUGEES FROM MORE THAN 31

LANGUAGE GROUPS LIVE HERE IN

VICTORY MEADOW, JUST EAST OF

INTERSTATE 75.

LEADERS FROM NORTHWEST BIBLE

CHURCH SAW THE MANY NEEDS OF

REFUGEES, FROM LEARNING

ENGLISH TO HOW TO INSTALL A

CHILD'S CAR SEAT.

HERE, YOU KNOW, YOU HAVE

TO GO GET YOUR SOCIAL

SECURITY AND TRAVEL LICENSE,

GET A CAR AND AN APARTMENT.

Reporter: NORTHWEST

CHURCH HAS ESTABLISHED A

NUMBER OF PROGRAMS WHERE

REFUGEES LEARN MARKETABLE

SKILLS, SUCH AS SEWING.

WOMEN FROM IRAQ, BURMA, AND

ELSEWHERE MEET ONCE A WEEK

TO FILL PURSES THEY CAN SELL

TO MAKE MONEY FOR THEIR

FAMILIES.

IF I GO SOMEWHERE IN

SOUTHEAST ASIA, THAT IS

MISSIONS.

BUT WHAT GOD HAS CALLED US

TO DO IS LIVE TRANS

TRANSFORMATIONAL BONDS.

Reporter: WAR FORCED

JALIL TO LEAVE IRAQ IN

1982.

I STARTED WITH NOTHING.

WITH TWO BROTHERS AHEAD OF

ME AND ALSO ALMOST NOTHING.

BUT THE LORD IS GRACIOUS,

AND I LEARNED MORE ENGLISH

AND LEARNED ABOUT LIFE.

Reporter: TODAY HE

PASTORS DALLAS' ONLY ARABIC

BIBLE CHURCH.

THERE ARE PEOPLE LIKE ABNER

WHO CONVERTED FROM ISLAM TO

CHRISTIANITY.

HE CREDITS JALIL FOR HELPING

HIM GROW IN HIS FAITH.

JALIL WAS ALWAYS THERE TO

ANSWER MY QUESTIONS AND

COUNSEL ME.

Reporter: JALIL POINTS

OUT THAT GOVERNMENT

ASSISTANCE FOR REFUGEES ENDS

AFTER ABOUT SIX MONTHS.

THAT'S WHY HE STEPS IN AND

TRIES TO HELP THEM FIND

HOMES AND JOBS.

HE ALSO BELIEVES THE CHURCH

CAN DO MORE.

WE NEED TO LOVE THOSE

PEOPLE.

WE NEED TO SERVE THEM, AND

WE NEED TO GET ALL OF THE

CHURCHES INVOLVED IN HAVING

PROGRAMS TO EDUCATE THE

CHURCH ABOUT THE LIVING OF

THESE PEOPLE, THE BACKGROUND

OF THESE PEOPLE, AND HOW TO

REACH THEM FOR CHRIST.

I FELL IN LOVE WITH JESUS

BECAUSE OF THE WAY HOW HE

IS, LOVE, GRACE, FREEDOM,

HAPPINESS, JOY.

EVERYTHING.

I CALL JESUS A PACKAGE, BY

THE WAY.

WHEN YOU OPEN IT, YOU FIND

EVERYTHING IN THAT PACKAGE.

Reporter: CHARLENE

ISRAEL, CBN NEWS, DALLAS,

TEXAS.

EMBED THIS VIDEO


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