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Dessert in the Desert

January 18, 2018
Celebrate with us at our free Dessert in the Desert, Sat, Oct 20, 2018, 6:00-8:15pm
We’ll move from Fear to the Transforming Power of Relationships
We’re at a time in America when we all need to truly understand refugees’ issues, needs, and personal potential.
Abounding Service has brought more than 1,000 refugees and Americans together in relationships and dignity for over nine years.
Be our guest at the Dessert in the Desert, meet refugees and advocates, and be inspired by personal stories!
Phoenix Airport Marriott
1101 N. 44th St.
Phoenix, AZ 85008

Saturday, October 20, 2018
Doors open at 6:00pm for this free event, but seating is limited —
Reserve your seats now!
6:00 – 7:00pm Dessert, Connecting, Music
7:00 – 8:15pm Presentation of the refugee ministry of Abounding Service
Register or ask questions about the Dessert in the Desert. This is a no-obligation Friends and Funds Raiser for the programs of Abounding Service. Please be our guest!
2. Celebrate
Celebrate and be inspired! Hear stories, meet refugees and advocates, enjoy delicious desserts, coffee, and a harp serenade
3. Live
Live your values, making a difference in your own life, the lives of others, and your community
Abounding Service is a non-profit organization. All contributions are tax-deductible.

Meet Peter Lian & Pen Pen

January 18, 2018

Left to right, Derek DeVelder, Peter Lian, Pen Pen, Gary De Velder

Peter Lian and his wife Pen Pen are faithful, determined English students at Abounding Service. Peter boisterously greets every class and Pen Pen, quieter, often helps others.

When war broke out in Burma the military shut down the schools, took control of the family farms, and forced citizens into labor. One member from each family was told to work at various times for no money (slavery), even children. Peter Lian was 12 years old when he began and at 18 had to build a railroad, as did Pen Pen. “Very heavy,” she says.

On the farms the military demanded families plant trees instead of their own food crops. Peter Lian – “No more farm.” There was little to eat, no money, no food.

Recently married, with a baby, Peter Lian and Pen Pen fled to Malaysia. Peter went first. A year later, Pen Pen and the oldest son, James, fled the war on a harrowing journey through Thailand to Malaysia.

After a long series of security background checks through the UN and several U.S. federal agencies, Pen Pen and Peter Lian were cleared to be resettled in the United States, which prioritizes the most vulnerable refugees.
They were joyfully greeted at the airport in Phoenix by Pen Pen’s cousin, Khua Uk, also a refugee, and by their resettlement agency case manager.

Pen Pen recalled, “First weekend in the US, but I am not scared. I am not worried.”

As with many refugees, Peter Lian needed to work right away to be able to pay rent and expenses, so he had no opportunity to take English classes. But Pen Pen could.
Pen Pen said, “My father cried when he heard I went to school. In Burma students needed to pay each month. Now we go to Abounding Service for free. I come to class all the time. We need to speak, learn, write.”

“Some people are different. Some say, ‘You don’t need to go to school, why do you go to school?’ They can’t get a driver’s license. They would like to become U.S. citizens, but they can’t pass the test or interview.”

“But we can go to the (medical) clinic, DES (Refugee Resettlement Program, Department of Economic Security), or shopping without calling a translator. If I bought something and need to return it, I can.”

Peter Lian was promoted from groundskeeper to operator at the golf course where he works.

He enthusiastically says, “If you want a promotion you need to speak English!”

Peter Lian and Pen Pen are now proud U.S. citizens, having passed the difficult test, interview, and additional background checks.

They bought a home with a large garden and their children are on scholarships at preparatory academies. They all work very hard. But importantly, they all give back. They serve their neighbors, students at school, coworkers, and their church.

Their pastor says, “Peter Lian helps with accounting at our church, and is faithful to our church. Not because he is an accountant, but because of his integrity.”

Meet Moi and Je Je

January 18, 2018
L to R, Thang Moi, Je Je Moe

Growing up in Burma, Moi said, “I thought everybody in the world did forced labor. I thought it was a civil responsibility. When I was boy, we didn’t have free media so I didn’t know any better.”

Later, away from his home in rural Chin State, he found opportunity in the capital city of Rangoon. He became a successful employment agent and supported his parents, sent two sisters to Bible college, and a brother to a private boarding school. At that time, Je Je, (who later became his wife) was still in school.

But then Thang Moi had to flee Burma because of danger and persecution. It was very hard for him to leave his promising career, comforts, family, and the lush beauty of the land.

In 2007 the government killed nonviolent protesting Buddhist monks and began to arrest in large number students they believed were supporting the monks. There was great fear when people just “disappeared.” Moi knew he had to flee to Malaysia with Je Je to save her from arrest.

As a refugee in Malaysia he began to help other people who needed jobs. He became well known for his service. “I started working for the community and represented over 4,000 people to the UNHCR. So many people needed help, I had to stand and speak up on behalf of them.”

Moi, Je Je, and their daughter, Phoebe, were resettled in Columbia, Missouri and later moved to Indianapolis. After rising through the ranks and earning a top employee award at Amazon, he accepted the position as an employee specialist at a refugee resettlement agency where he could better serve others.

“When people get something, I see the joy on their faces. I’m so happy!”

But, there was more on his heart to do. He knew he was being called to preach the Gospel. Moi prayed about it for a year and the doors finally opened for him to be a pastor in Phoenix.

He and his family moved to Serrano Village Apartments at 27th Ave and Camelback Rd where they lived directly above the Abounding Service English school. What amazing neighbors Pastor Moi, Je Je, and their two daughters were!

“When I got there, I didn’t feel I would lead only certain people, but whenever it was needed, I was ready to give my hand to anybody, including refugees.”

Pastor Moi indeed served his neighbors, native US-born and other nationalities, helping them in their lives, funerals, and traumatic events, even grieving suicide and murder with them.

He also attended Abounding Service English classes, but was already so proficient that he often helped other students.

We were thrilled to have his wife Je Je attend our school as well. She greatly improved her English skills. And we had the privilege of helping them both prepare for the test and interview when they became U.S. citizens!

Pastor Moi is a dedicated member of the Abounding Service Board of Directors, founded the Arizona Chin Community, and is a leader in Project Cure, a relief effort, bringing urgently needed medical supplies to rural Burmese hospitals.