Friday, April 30, 2010

Safe From Persecution, a refugee group finds a home church in Albany NY

There's an "amazing grace" Methodist church in Albany, NY called Emmaus--it has taken in and resettled many refugees including survivors of a 2004 massacre in a United Nations refugee camp called Gatumba, which lies in Burundi near the border with Congo.
    "After decades of ethnic oppression, the Banyamulenge, third-generation Christians, identify strongly with the tribulations of Old Testament Jews. In their gospel songs, the survivors seek solace from the violence at Gatumba, which echoed the Rwandan genocide of the 1990s, and still threatens those they left behind.

    Albany might seem an unlikely place for resettlement of refugees like Christine Nyabatware, a widow with five small children, and Butoto Ndbarishe, 13, whose twin sister was killed at his side during the massacre, along with his father, a pastor, and two brothers. But since the first family arrived here in March, coatless and stunned to find what appeared to be a cold desert of leafless trees, the city has become a beacon to other Gatumba survivors around the country. . . “The Americans show us love,” said Mr. Mandevu after a potluck meal in the basement of the church, where a congregation that includes members from Pakistan, Iran and the Philippines traded hugs. “People are so nice. Here no one can throw stones on you."

Safe From Persecution, Still Bearing Its Scars - New York Times

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