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A Citizen at Last: Mod's Story

GoTEN Staff


GoTEN's greatest hope for its staff, volunteers and students is that while learning and teaching English, they would be able to develop lasting friendships that grow into experiencing true community together. This is exactly what GoTEN staff member Will has been able to do through English class in Phoenix, where he met Mod. Mod grew up in Myanmar. Born to a minority Muslim people group known as the Rohingya, Mod was never granted Burmese citizenship and was often denied opportunities to work. This forced him to migrate to Saudi Arabia in search of a way to provide for his wife and young children, whom he was forced to leave behind. For years, he'd work and send money home to his family. Eventually his children, then young adults, would be able to join him in Malaysia along with his wife Jasmine. Around 6 years ago, Mod and Jasmine made their way to the United States. Fast forward back to English class in Phoenix, where Will had been placed with Mod as his encourager for the class. Will quickly realized that Mod was already conversational in English, and began to ask questions, hoping to learn as much as he could about his new friend. Soon after they met, Mod invited Will to his home to help him study for his upcoming citizenship test. Although they have spent plenty of time studying since then, they ended up mostly just getting to know each other that day. Mod told Will of his experiences growing up belonging to a persecuted people group and going years without seeing his family. He teared up as he shared that he felt like his life amounted to “zero”. He said that he was human just like Will, but the world had treated him like an animal and now, in his 60's, he had nothing to show for his life and that he feared his children would view him as a worthless man. It was during that visit that Will shared with him the story of Joseph, detailing how Joseph had been betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery and how he was then falsely accused and sent to prison for years. Will ended the story by explaining Joseph's elevation by pharaoh and how he had saved Egypt and the surrounding nations from famine as well as being reunited with his family. He explained how Joseph had seen God's hand in his entire life and how God had taken what the world meant for evil and used it to not only bless Joseph but to bless countless others as well. The story brought hope to Mod when there seemed to be very little. In July of this year, Mod passed his civics test, and for the first time in his life, became a citizen of a country. He is very proud of his new identity as an American citizen and has great goals for the coming years. He plans to advocate for his children to be able to join him, and hopes to buy a home where his family would be able to live together. In the meantime, he is now able to get a passport, allowing him to visit his children again. God is all about providing hope where it doesn't seem like hope exists. We are so grateful for Mod, and all of our new refugee neighbors that now call our cities home and find their hope in new beginnings here in the U.S.