A Life in Service
Ehsan (left) works with Mount Paran Church’s mission department. Ehsan always makes sure to remember his fellow refugees when donation drives come around.
If you ask Ehsan, he’ll tell you that life is about service – no matter where you are.
A part of the persecuted Christian minority in Iran, Ehsan never let the turmoil of his home country stop him from a life of service.
“My goal is to be useful for humans in my life,” Ehsan says. “When I’m doing something useful, it makes me so happy.”
Ehsan had big goals early in life. He planned to come to the U.S. to study but could not due to the lack of connection between his homeland and the U.S. He soon realized his true calling was closer to home.
In 2005, he fled to Turkey due to religious persecution, where he worked as a missionary for eight years. He also spent that time volunteering with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees serving other refugees in Turkey and across the Middle East.
While serving in Turkey, Ehsan made some important connections with other missionaries that would be critical to his success after arriving in Georgia.
Ehsan’s arrival to the U.S. was anything but smooth. Originally scheduled to set-down at the end of January 2014, the late winter ice storm had his arrival delayed in Miami for four days. But once he arrived and was resettled by New American Pathways, Ehsan got started on achieving his American dream.
Ehsan immediately re-connected with contacts he made during mission work in Turkey from Atlanta’s Mount Paran Church, who had been working to help other persecuted Christians fleeing Iran. Ehsan met with church leaders and discussed his professional and personal goals – and was quickly hired to work in their Mission department.
Now, Ehsan works with international students in Atlanta, and assists the church with outreach activities, including donation drives and drop-offs. He has kept New American Pathways in his heart, too. During the past year, he and the members of Mount Paran have donated over 200 backpacks and 150 boxes full of non-perishable food for newly arrived families.
But Eshan’s work doesn’t stop with the church. In his free time, he continues to work with new arrivals, especially his fellow Iranians, to help them get resettled in Atlanta. He helps them apply for Social Security cards, settle their living arrangements, and find donated furniture so they can save more of their hard-earned money.
In all his service, Ehsan can see many similarities between serving refugees overseas and working with new arrivals here – with a few key differences.
“Both are hard, but here we have more resources, more people who are willing to give,” he says. “We have more financial resources to support refugees [here].”