The News on TV that night was all about the Kosovo War, showing Kosovar Albanian families being herded onto trains...trains that would take them to refugee camps. An idea was contemplated that night by a WUMC member...why don't we DO something?
Within a few days, WUMC, under the leadership of Pastor John Chadsey, agreed to sponsor two families, the Krasniqis and the Salihus, composed of five adults and seven children. They came to America two months later, in June, from the refugee camp to Warrenton, Virginia. The good people of WUMC contributed to the well being of the two families by providing food, clothing, shelter and love.
The eldest son of the Salihu family, Jayla, attended church regularly, learned English very quickly, and within the year had requested baptism and membership. Later I would learn, when he addressed the whole congregation, that he felt the
"Spirit" interpreting Pastor John's weekly messages. This young man was indeed special.
The WUMC Youth Group embraced Jayla. They offered friendship, arranged subway rides to Washington, D.C. to tour the City, fun trips to Six Flags, and they kept him company and sat with him in the lunchroom at Fauquier High School.
Jayla went on to graduate from Fauquier High School, Lord Fairfax Community College and George Mason University. He secured a job in Raleigh, N.C. with an engineering firm. He is married and has two children. His twin brothers, their families, and his parents also live in Raleigh. The other family, the Krasniqis, continue to live in Fauquier County. All are doing well.
Many thanks to Pastor John, the McClanahan-Ellis families, the Robertsons, the Gravattes, and so many who made a difference in the lives of these refugees..most of whom are now US citizens. They are forever grateful to WUMC and the USA.