Meet Mukandama

Meet Mukandama

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“I am a Congolese by nationality. When the war started in 1996, I ran. I got myself up to Kenya. I was there more than 18 years; I had a whole life there as a refugee. By that time, we started our life with my wife. We had five children [of our own] and 2 daughters that we adopted. So we had 7. Life in Kenya as a refugee had many challenges; [it was difficult] to afford that family, so we had to work harder. I was a teacher, a French teacher in Nairobi, Kenya, at a primary school, for almost 14 years. I also did my theology classes; I was a pastor at a Baptist church for almost 7 years. The challenge with most of the churches is that we work by faith—no salary. The salary for my teaching French class… was able to pay the rent and to buy some stuff. The rest was my wife. She was also contributing to afford to raise the family. So, the life in Kenya, we thank God for that. [Then] we started our process to ask for resettlement from the UN; around 3 years ago, we were accepted for resettlement by the U.S. Embassy. The process [was long]: interview, come, going, come, going, year after year. [Eventually] we were called. They said, “Your time has come now.” And we came to the USA. It was our first time to use an airplane. We went from Nairobi to Dubai, Dubai to California, California to Dallas, and Dallas to Arkansas. I have been here for 2 months and 14 days. Most of the time [at OLC] we are discussing to improve our English speaking. It’s really important [to learn English]. I have to work. When you are working, you have to meet people. And the language they use there, it is only English. So that is why I have to polish my English. In the future some years ahead, I’m going to start my ministry. My ministry is for spreading the word of God, preaching, and that job needs a lot of English.”

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