Church Reunites Iraqi Family

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Emad Hussain was a member of the Iraqi Olympic committee in 2006 and his life was threatened by militants. When he fled the country, he was not sure he would ever see his family again. But some new friends stepped in and changed his future. Reed Galin reports.

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(Locator: Denver, Colorado)

A long journey brought Emad Hussain’s family from Baghdad to Denver. Now, they spend Sundays at University Park United Methodist Church—as committed Muslims—with no desire to convert.

Emad Hussain: “When you have people who love you and behave as if you are a human being, that makes sense.”

(Sermon): “Take care of the stranger in our midst.”

Emad was targeted by Iraqi militants who kidnapped and killed colleagues. He escaped to the U.S. but had to leave his wife Rasha and their two boys.

Lois Nelson: “Helping other people, that’s what we get the most satisfaction out of.”

Lois and Ray Nelson met Emad through a refugee organization, and as they worked to reunite his family…

Lois Nelson: “…a lot of papers, a lot of anxiety…”

...their church rallied around Emad, too. After a year and a half, finally the boys and Rasha were granted asylum.

Emad Hussain: “Give me five—good, very good! We teach them some American attitude!”

The Hussains and Nelsons have become more than friends.

Emad Hussain: “It’s like dad and mom. I mean thank God, my mom is dead and my dad is dead and he give me another mom and dad.”

Ray Nelson was surprised when Emad wanted to regularly attend his church.

Ray Nelson: “He could see the common core values of Islam in our church. He also saw in the children’s program something he wanted for his children.”

Emad Hussain is sure everyone prays to the same God.

Emad Hussein: “All we believe in love or peace, so what is the difference between Islam or Christian or Jewish—is the same source.”

It took more than a year of paperwork and negotiations by members of University Park United Methodist to bring Emad’s family to the U.S.

You can contact the Hussains through University Park United Methodist Church at (303) 722-5736.

Also, see: Iraqi family reunited at Denver church

Posted: June 17, 2009