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As part of the condition of living in the U.S., each refugee has to get a checkup with a local doctor. So Ralte ferries them to the appointment.

When pregnant members of the congregation needed to see an obstetrician, Ralte made sure they made it to their appointment on time.

He has arranged with employers throughout central Indiana to hire the Mizo into entry-level jobs. Members of the congregation work for companies such as Fed Ex and Ingram Micro. If they need proper clothes for a job interview or a ride to work, Ralte is the one to make arrangements.

“Every day I am helping them,” he said. “Yesterday, I drove more than 100 miles to drive people around.”

Peebles was able to meet many of the Mizo gathered in central Indiana. One was a group of four men and their children who were living together.

When one got a job, they made sure the others were supported with food and clothing until the others could find work at a meatpacking plant in Logansport.

“They were wearing the same clothes all the time; they didn’t have very much. But they made sure their clothes were cleaned all the time,” Peebles said.

Because the men didn’t have cars, Ralte would drive up to Logansport every Friday to pick them up. The group would live with Ralte over the weekend, go to church services on Sunday, and then he’d drive them back north on Sunday evening.

The Mizo will remain refugees for up to five years. After a year, they can apply for permanent residence in the country. By five years, they have the opportunity to apply for full citizenship.

But Ralte’s unification of the Mizo has not stopped just in Greenwood. Working with the church, he hosted a meeting for all of the Mizo in the U.S. to gather and discuss their situations.

They also wanted to celebrate their new homes and new freedoms. More than 300 Mizo came from Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Texas and Iowa.

“There are pockets of 10, 20, 30 people living in those areas. But the Greenwood one has become the largest one,” Ralte said.

Ralte also opened up to Mizo of all faiths. Congregations from the Presbyterian, Seventh-day Adventist and United Pentecostal churches attended to share in their common culture.

“He has shown an amazing leadership. He’s a leader to a lot of folks; it doesn’t matter what church they go to. He looks over them,” Peebles said.

With the growing Mizo congregation now established, church leaders are working to ensure they are better prepared for day-to-day life in Greenwood.

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