MOBILE, Ala. (BP) — Abid Hussain was once a Hindu and a millionaire, living in a 19-bedroom house. Then he was a persecuted Christian living with his family in an attic storeroom on a concrete floor.
Now Hussain is a refugee living in a rough neighborhood in Mobile, Ala., struggling to find work and afraid for his family to go out at night. But he and his family say that God has a plan for them, so they are grateful.
“They are nervous about their life here, and they are still struggling a lot,” said Buddy Brents, a church planter for the North American Mission Board working in partnership with Mobile Baptist Association. “But he [Hussain] often says, ‘God has brought me here, and I’m going to trust Him.'”
When Hussain’s family was granted refugee status in May, a three-bedroom home was provided for them for free for five months, Brents said. It took Hussain almost all of that time to find a job.
The former millionaire is working the evening shift at a gas station, and now the family must start paying its own bills.
“It’s been a real struggle for him, because he’s a highly educated man with a degree in the medical field. He owned his own textile factory back in his country,” Brents said. “He’s tried to get jobs anywhere — he tells them he’ll do anything, he just needs a job.”
But employers say Hussain’s English isn’t good enough yet. “He’s doing this job now just as a test job — the gas station is giving him a shot at being a clerk, and it’s only part-time with no benefits,” Brents said.
And Hussain walks there every night. The family doesn’t have a car. The church that Brents started — Hope of the Nations — gave Hussain’s family three bikes, but two were stolen. He was afraid to ride the one they had left, thinking it would get stolen too, until the church gave him a lock for it.
“But his attitude is so good,” Brents said. “He experienced some serious persecution back in his home country — people physically hurt him, and his eye was damaged. But here he got health care and is able to see again. He’s praising the Lord for that.”
And Hussain’s children, who have to walk nearly two miles to school each way, thank God for their little house and for the God who takes care of them, Brents said. “They’re doing well, and they have such a great attitude. It’s so encouraging to go over there — every time I see them, the children say that God has brought them here and has a good plan for them.”
And He’s been providing for their needs, Brents said.
People from Hope of the Nations have brought food regularly to the family, and one church member spends Tuesday afternoons with the kids helping them with their homework.
“They are just so happy, and they feel like the people have been so nice to them,” said David Johnson, a Southern Baptist representative who met Hussain when he was still in Asia. “Baptists are really good at that in Alabama, in reaching out and taking care of people who need it.”
But Hussain’s family is just one of many, many refugee families who need this kind of help, Johnson said. “They’re just a drop in the bucket — there are so many like them.”
Brents asked for prayer for the Hussain family as they continue to walk in God’s plan for them.
“They still have many needs — a job with benefits and insurance to provide for their family, a steady income, help with their utilities, a couple of bikes,” Brents said. “It’s a heartbreaking situation in many ways, but it is such an encouraging testimony of how the Lord is taking care of them and how they still have the joy of the Lord.”
This article appeared in The Alabama Baptist (thealabamabaptist.org), newsjournal of the Alabama Baptist Convention. Grace Thornton is a correspondent for The Alabama Baptist.