Hello everyone! I hope you all are doing well. I have been having a blast here in San Antonio, learning lots while having great fun. My work at the immigration law firm RAICES has been going well. Since my last blog post, I have become more involved in working with refugees, and I may start participating in naturalization ceremonies for these refugees and other immigrants. In my experience, the refugees typically come from African, Asian, and Middle Eastern countries such as Bhutan, Eritrea, and Iran. Sometimes one member of a family comes as a refugee to the United States and, after receiving his or her legal permanent resident status (or green card) here, petitions the rest of his or her family so they can immigrate to the U.S. Often, however, an entire (nuclear) family will come to the U.S. as refugees. Regardless, after the refugees have been in the U.S. for one year, they are eligible to apply for green cards, so that is where I come in, wading through the mountains of paperwork and deciphering often-complex legal jargon.
Naturally, I get to learn something about the refugees’ stories and what circumstances compelled them to leave their homes. Here in America, they rebuild their lives from scratch—learning English, starting jobs in unfamiliar fields, attending schools where they may be the odd ones out, making new friends. Some may be lucky enough to have relatives already living in the U.S., perhaps nearby, but many more are here without their extended families, forging new futures in a land far away from their original homes. Yet many of the refugees I have met have made it clear that the U.S. is their new home and that they would rather stay here than in their countries of origin. The refugees, while perhaps sad to leave their homelands, are grateful for the opportunity to restart their lives in peace and stability, and to do so here in the United States.
Recently, the other YAVs and I went on a church retreat to the Texas Hill Country, at a retreat center about 120 miles northwest of San Antonio. (For those of you who are addicted to your electronic devices, we had to drive about fifteen miles away from camp to get a cellphone signal.) At the retreat center, we relished in the beauty of God: rising rock cliffs, the Frio River, picturesque forests, abundant wildlife, and the innumerable stars and bands of the Milky Way in the heavens. In the stillness and peace, we had a great opportunity to reflect on the glory of God and how He shows up in our everyday lives. The writer of Psalm 19 explains that whether we are immersed in the hustle and bustle of our lives, or we have retreated from it all and are in isolation, God is with us and is watching over us, leading us along a path He has chosen for us. How do you see God in your life, and how do you and God meet each other everyday?
I appreciate your prayers and support for me. For more information on how you can get involved, please click here. Go with God until we meet again!