After three of his friends were violently murdered for having the same beliefs, Masa went into hiding for two years. Eventually, his family and others from his village were able to raise enough money for Masa to travel to Mexico. Once he reached the U.S. border in Hildalgo, Texas, Masa pleaded with Immigration officials for political asylum. He served four months in detention before he was released to La Posada. Masa quickly immersed himself in the shelter’s language assistance and life-skills program, where he achieved his English reading proficiency with the help of his tutor, Margie Myers. Margie and her husband, Michael, legally adopted Masa last spring, but their story doesn’t end there. In fact, it marks a new beginning for the Myers’ family.
“When Masa had the courage to leave Ghana, his brother, Taufic, began studying as much as he could. He knew the only way out of Ghana would be to seek a scholarship in the United States or Canada,” explains Margie, who considers Taufic her other son. “He has been working diligently on that goal and I am happy to report he has been accepted to the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada.”
Taufic was awarded a 70% scholarship and, with the Myers’ assistance, will be arriving in August 2013 to begin his studies. Michael and Margie will be traveling with Masa from Texas to Canada to help Taufic settle in on campus.
“Their sister, Zana, like Taufic and Masa, are all devout Muslims and live a close relationship with God. Zana had been praying and praying for Taufic to get this scholarship,” says Margie. “When Taufic told her, ‘I got a 70% scholarship and Mom and Dad are going to help me with the rest,’ she was so excited, as we all were!”
Zana, who sells porridge by the side of the road each day to support her family, then asked her brother if the family could help her get an education, too.
“Zana has three children and a husband who cannot work,” says Margie. “They live in the direst poverty that we cannot even begin to imagine. It is her dream to go to school and work in the medical field. We are going to do what we can to bring her, and the rest of our family, to the United States eventually.”
Once Taufic is settled in Canada, Margie will also be working on getting his wife, Tani, and his young daughter, Charice, out of Africa. Margie is especially excited about one day holding her grandbaby, Charice.
“I told Taufic that Charice should not have to go through what he, Masa and Zana have,” explains Margie. “Here, she will have the freedom, education and opportunities she never would have had in Ghana.”
Margie isn’t certain how long it will take to bring the eight remaining members of her family from Africa to the United States. However, she is determined that one day, they will all be together. She feels especially blessed to have two sons, a daughter and grandbaby at this point in her life.
“Masa is my son is every sense of the word. We were in Mexico the other day and decided to go to a restaurant across the street. I stepped out to cross the street and held my hand up so this car would stop. Masa was about two to three feet behind me. As I started to walk across, the car sped up,” recalls Margie. “In an instant, Masa jumped between me and the car and put his hands out. It all but brought me to my knees knowing this child – my child – loves me so much he would throw himself in front of a car just to protect me. I can’t even express in words what that means to me.”
La Posada may have brought the Myers family together, but the shelter’s mission to help those in crisis seeking legal refuge in the United States continues to send ripples of compassion and hope to the neediest among us. Truly, the ripples make God’s Providence more visible in the world.
“I wrote a book about 30 years ago, but never published it. Recently, I found someone here in Texas that is interested in publishing it. The proceeds will give me far more resources to help bring the rest of my family out of Africa,” says Margie. “Masa, who works at Walmart, also saves a portion of each paycheck to help friends still in Ghana. It really is a ripple effect as we continue to reach out and help as many lives as we can.”