Heval says he first met some Saints when he was seventeen years old.
In this old picture at Ed and Martha Daughterty’s Heval is with his family and the African refugee family in the back right is the Muhumuza family from Rwanda and our very own and dear Marie Louise, who has been for many years All Saints’ gracious and stalwart receptionist! And of course, there are a bunch of All Saintsers!. Do you recognize anybody? Do you see you? This picture makes me cry for it is a picture of new heaven, new earth. What would it be like to lose everything and then find love all around you?
Barbara Thompson was our first Refugee Guru. She had traveled to Bosnia and Serbia and written a renowned book called Children of War. She has lived the gospel out of that brutal experience ever since. Barbara and Martha D and other Saints could see that Heval was carrying his family on his back, and she and the Saints’ got determined and when that happens, WATCH OUT!!
Here’s a recent TED Peachtree article about that time.
“Mohamed Kelli and his family depended on others’ kindness and assistance when they immigrated as Kurdish Muslim refugees to Clarkston, Ga., in the 1990s. His father was in poor health, so Mohamed Kelli, who was 17 at the time, became the primary wage-earner even though he didn’t speak English and they had no car.
He says that despite the fact that his family was of a different faith, the members of a local Episcopal church (THAT’S US, Y’ALL!) were the most crucial part of helping his family find their footing.
‘My mother was wearing a headscarf. You couldn’t ignore the fact that we were Muslim,” he recalls. ‘And still, the church members were the biggest part. And that is how the world should function. If a Christian family takes refuge in a Muslim country, it should be the first thing for the religious group of that country to help them out, which is what happened. And it’s still so.’
People connected him to a job washing dishes; they introduced him to mentors in the medical field; one even provided transportation so he could get an in-state tuition waiver for college.” (That person was Martha D, the party hostess !)
This is Martha D playing with my dog Flash all these years later, in the same rooms where the Refugees and Saints first connected
So isn’t that beautiful? A simple ride, an act of kindness. And you end up with:
Dishwasher to Doctor
Serving Health, Education and Mentorship to our World
“Dr. Heval Mohamed Kelli came to the US as a teenage Kurdish refugee from Syria and worked as dishwasher to support his family and education for several years. He is currently named the prestigious Katz foundation Fellow in Preventive Cardiology at Emory University. He graduated Cum Laude from Morehouse School of Medicine. He finished his internal medicine residency training with resident of the year award and honorable distinctions in social and inpatient medicine at Emory University.
He has co-founded and operates several non-profit organizations focused on mentorship (U-Beyond), healthcare outreach (You4Prevent) and medical education (Young Physician Initiative and You4Education).
Heval’s remarkable journey and story were featured on national and international news including the Emory University magazine, Creative Loafing, Associated Press, Emory News, Atlanta Journal Constitution, NY times, Washington Post and more. We will send you more info about the TED talk when it becomes available.
Dr. Kelli, may the One who is known by many names bless him and keep him, passes skilled love forward all day long.
And All Saints’ Refugee Ministries is still being blessed by being blessed homemakers for refugees and is currently working with twenty families. Louisa Merchant is our current fabulous Refugee Guru.
One hundred Saints have cared for refugees this year. Martha D and Heval and that first group are glad. Generation to generation. Holy, holy, holy. Really.