Feature / Field Personnel / Missions / refugees

The Impact of Abundant Life: Rosalie’s Story

By CBF Communications

“God has sent so many people into my life. That’s how I’ve experienced God’s love.”

Rosalie

These are the words of Rosalie, a refugee from Zaire who now lives in Fort Worth, Texas. Nearly 25 years ago, when 9-year-old Rosalie and her family fled violence in Zaire in 1996, God sent United Nations workers to provide a tent shelter at a refugee camp in Tanzania. During her 12-plus years in that same refugee camp, God sent aid workers to provide food, dishes and blankets for her parents and siblings. When the family finally resettled in Fort Worth, God sent Catholic Charities and a Methodist congregation to help them find jobs, learn English and get driver’s licenses. And in 2012, as Rosalie was starting her own family and applying to college, God sent Karen Morrow, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel serving among refugees in Fort Worth. 

“Karen shows Christ’s love through her humility and her willingness to help those in need,” Rosalie said. “She is a phenomenal person. If I have a question, I ask her and so do most of the people in my apartment community. That’s what we need to do as people in Christ Jesus. We need to be willing to help other people.”

Morrow continues to empower refugees with early-childhood and adult education as well as resources for housing, health care and cultural transition with the support of the CBF Offering for Global Missions. When she met Rosalie eight years ago, however, Rosalie had already overcome many of the toughest obstacles immigrants face in the United States—learning English, finding employment and acquiring transportation and housing. But Rosalie wanted more than mere survival for her family. She desired an abundant life and that meant investing in education.

CBF field personnel Karen Morrow (left) shares Christ’s love with refugees in Worth, Texas, like Rosalie and her three sons.

Rosalie began by applying to the University of Texas at Arlington, where she planned to study social work. Morrow accompanied her to campus, where the two met with admissions officers as well as financial aid advisers to obtain grants and scholarships. For six years, Rosalie poured herself into completing school and, in 2018, graduated with a Bachelor’s in Social Work degree. Today, she’s completing a Master of Social Work degree, which will allow her to transform fellow refugees’ lives as Morrow and so many others have hers.

“It’s amazing to see where I came from and where I am now, and all the people who helped me get here,” Rosalie said. “They showed me ways to navigate all the milestones. That’s why I want to be a social worker, because I know how valuable it is to have support. My focus is health and hospital social work. I want to help people get the resources they need to succeed in life and overcome all the obstacles they’re facing.”

Amid her studies, Rosalie also focused on empowering her three sons, Norbert Emmanuel, Gilbert and John Emmanuel. Morrow had already helped her find affordable booster seats and baby clothes throughout their infancy, she said. As they approached kindergarten, Morrow’s flagship ministry—Ready for School—became vital to their academic development.

Through Morrow’s Ready for School ministry, local church volunteers spend Monday evenings reading books to the children of refugees at Hope Library.

Each Monday night, her three boys attend Hope Library, a free library that Morrow and local church partners developed for children of refugees. There, they read independently or with an adult reading partner from Broadway Baptist Church, Bear Valley Community Church or Kingdom Manifestors Church, Morrow’s partners in the Ready for School program. As school and work increasingly demand her time, Hope Library has become critical in boosting her sons’ reading levels and test scores, Rosalie said. A big positive factor, she added, is that Hope Library is located right across the street from their apartment community.

“Hope Library has transformed my life and my family,” Rosalie explained. “It’s helping my boys a lot. I don’t have unlimited time to sit and teach them how to read every day. But Karen and others are there every Monday, reading with them and helping the kids learn. I can see a very big change in their reading level and especially their test scores at school.”

The CBF Offering for Global Missions continues to support Karen Morrow as she forms together with refugees like Rosalie, helping them discover an abundant life. When you give to the Offering, you become a partner in restoring that abundance and empowering the work of Ready for School and Hope Library.

Watch videos about Rosalie and others impacted by Karen Morrow’s ministry in Fort Worth at www.cbf.net/abundantlife.

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