Just over one year ago we all witnessed a two decades long war come to an end with the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan. We also watched in horror as Kabul was taken by the Taliban, and the heart wrenching images of yet more death of American soldiers. We witnessed Afghans begging to leave, chasing and hanging from planes, desperately handing their babies over to American troops begging them to create a better life for what was the imminent return of Taliban rule. It is hard to imagine the sure panic and fear that Afghans who had sided with American forces began to feel.
It was well know that anyone who had fought against the Taliban during the last two decades would be persecuted, likely tortured or murdered, their families targeted and left to live without the support of a father. Women and girls began to realize their recent freedoms of working, education, and healthcare were about to come to an end, and many parents of young girls were terrified their daughter might be taken and sold as a child bride. The war was ending for American’s, but starting all over again for the millions of Afghan men, women, and children.
An ounce of gold
It was at this time that our friend David Pham texted us to ask for prayers. He has served in multiple tours in Afghanistan and has fought side by side with Afghan forces against the Taliban. He had forged close relationships with many of these men and their families, and was in close contact with many of them during this time. With America withdrawing in what seemed like a few weeks, David knew his friends were in great danger, and this is when he and others in his ranks sprang to action.
They worked underground to move three of his brother’s in arms and their entire immediate families from Afghanistan to Qatar, literally in the dead of night- through multiple check points- each one praying they would make it out alive. It was also during this time that David came on the HHH podcast and told us his story of growing up the son of a Vietnamese refugee.
The inspiring story of his mother’s escape from Vietnam after the withdrawal of American troops and her eventual love and gratitude for America, led David to become a marine. His grandmother saved an ounce of gold all those many years ago to give her daughter the chance to leave war torn Vietnam. During this time, it almost seemed as if David’s mother was leading him, reminding him of why it was essential to fight and protect, and to heed the call when others were suffering. An ounce of gold decades ago has now paid it forward through David’s love and meaning of family.
Your support changed lives
When we released that profound podcast ( HHH #140– and his follow up HHH #150) with David in August 2021 we had no idea what would happen, but our hope was to help David with what he was hoping would be a new home in America for these families. The life of a refugee is not easy, leaving your homeland with literally nothing, not speaking the language or understanding the culture… David knew it was going to be a long road if we could even get them here. But with the love and giving of the HHH community we raised over 40K dollars, and with the kind donations of single donors David was able to raise above and beyond that.
David continued to give me daily updates on where the families had landed on each step of their journey and each time we asked for help for either funds, school supplies, a sewing machine – our community answered without hesitation. This was also a profound moment for us where we felt humbled at the generosity of this community. To give to those you have never, and will never, meet says a lot about why we love this community of kind and faith centered folks.
To conclude, let’s catch up on our three families and the blessings happening in their lives. If you feel drawn to donate to the Phamily fund you can still do so! All donations go directly to helping cover costs as needed. It has been a tough year, but the smiles on these children’s faces say it all. Thank you again to everyone who made their new lives in America a better reality.
The names have been changed to protect the men and their families. They are still considered enemies by the Taliban, and we in no way want to jeopardize their safety. Phamily is the reference made to David and his Vietnamese sunarmet Pham- pronounced “fam”. He refers to all of these families as Phamily, in respect to his mother and grandmother who taught him the true meaning of sacrificing for those you care about.
- Harry’s Phamily – Settled in Houston, TX. He was an interpreter on deployment in 2012, and was educated in America. He escaped with his wife, daughter, and son. The kiddos love their elementary school and their teachers and friends. His wife has found a small community of friends and is currently in English night classes. David recently bought a condo in Houston to get them out of a bad area in which government hoisting was located. Harry is working at a warehouse running, but seeking his commercial driver’s license.
- Lee’s Phamily – Settled in Fort Worth, TX. he escaped with his wife, three daughters, and a son. Lee has become the community leader in his small population of resettled Afghan refugees. Lee is working as a security guard for a commercial building in downtown Fort Worth. The kids love their school, teachers, and friends. His wife has found a community of women and is starting to learn English.
- Henry’s Phamily – Settled in Jacksonville, FL. Escaped with his mother, wife, three sons, and daughter. His mother since passed away and her life was celebrated by the community of Afghan Americans. With one loss of life, they were blessed with another. His wife gave birth to their third son, the first American in the family. All the kiddos are in school. His wife just passed her written test and received her Driving Learner’s Permit. Henry is currently working, but seeking his commercial driver’s license.
All of our Phamilies are continually thankful for all of our support this past year. Your donations have helped them feel at home, purchase a family vehicle, and give them a new lease on life!