Meet Emil. Like Job of the Old Testament, he has been tested and blessed by a God of grace and unconditional love.
our paths should meet at all reflects God’s creative genius—and a
divine sense of humor. Imagine a God who weaves together the stories
and hearts of a small Lutheran church (of Scandinavian descent) in the
Seattle area and the story and heart of Emil, a stranger from Tanzania.
Tragedy and redemption, loss and blessing, faith and restoration.
That’s Emil’s story—and now it’s ours too.
Augustine (center) found refuge and hope among the primarily
Scandinavian Lutherans of All Saints Lutheran Church, Auburn, Wash.,
when he arrived from Tanzania in 2002. He calls them his “tribe.” |
Augustine was a well-educated 36-year-old who held a prestigious
position in the Tanzanian government. He had a nice home, two growing
boys and a wife who worked as a nurse. He was respected in his tribe
and traveled the country using his ability to speak five languages.
his life began to unravel.When a new political party took control, he
was instructed not to give visas to any of the opposition’s leaders. A
Christian, Emil chose to uphold the Tanzanian constitution, which
allowed any citizen of good standing to leave the country. After one
warning, he was arrested and thrown in jail without trial. His wife and
children were left to fend for themselves, but his tribe rallied around
them. Emil’s future looked bleak.
Then tragedy struck again. His
youngest son died of malaria. Escorted by a guard, Emil returned to his
home to attend the funeral. Emil’s escape was arranged after his tribe
bribed the guard. Safely across the border to Kenya, he obtained a visa
and was instructed to flee to America, where a friend in Seattle had a
relative he could stay with.
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