U.S. citizen Aumonae Johnson met her fiancé, Siafa, in 2016 during one of her annual mission trips to Liberia, where she was born. She describes how their "souls connnected" when they met. Aumonae and Siafa quickly entered into a relationship and have been together in their "journey of love and faith." They stay connected through technology, especially Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, but cherish their time together during Aumonae's annual trips to Liberia. Two years ago, on July 26, 2019, Siafa asked Aumonae to marry him while she was visiting LIberia and she said yes! After returning to the United States, she filed a fiancé visa petition for Siafa that was approved in April 2020. Aumonae was hoping that the processing at the U.S. Embassy would happen quickly, as is typical with fiancé visa cases, and she would be able to return to the United States from Liberia with Siafa in August 2020. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, Siafa's visa has been delayed indefinitely, causing the couple emotional, mental, and financial strain:
"Being apart has no way been easy. Our strong communication and our faith have kept us going...a process that usually takes nine months has taken almost two years from start to finish. It has been very stressful and it has taken a serious toll on us mentally, financially, and health wise. Families are supposed to be together, not apart. We cannot even plan a wedding because we do not know what to expect. My prayer and hope is that all families are reconnected. (The separation) is very frustrating and I hope something is done soon. I want to continue to make beautiful and lasting memories with my husband-to-be. We have been patiently waiting. I know that it is God's will for me and Siafa to be together."
Aumonae is a client with our Immigration Legal Services Clinic. Her story is one that illustrates the but one of the challenges immigrants can face when trying to reunify with family and loved ones. Your support of World Relief Durham has made our clinic's work possible, even during a time of reduced refugee arrivals and massive challenges to visas and citizenship pathways. Thank you for helping us keep the faith with clients like Aumonae and Siafa.