Pure religion: Success in a new land

A woman and her husband fled their country as political refugees and ended up in the United States looking for a new start and a new life. But where do you go when you're half a world away from home, with few job skills, approaching retirement age and struggling to communicate in a foreign language?

After death threats and being in constant danger in their home country, she believed that anything would be better than living in perpetual fear. And although she was grateful for this new opportunity to live in a land of relative security, she still felt afraid.

How would they live? Who would employ them? How would they pay their bills?

After she struggled to find employment, her bishop suggested she work at Deseret Industries. And it was at Deseret Industries where she found the answers to the haunting questions about how she would survive in a new land. She went to work as a cashier and immediately enrolled in an English as a second language class Deseret Industries offers to employees

While there, she learned about the literacy, math, job-search, and values and ethics classes that Deseret Industries also offers.

Day by day, she became more proficient in English as well as in her work. She participated in a cashier certification course that included class work, practical application that demonstrated understanding and a comprehensive final exam.

The political refugee excelled in her work so much that her supervisor began to encourage her to start looking for another employment opportunity in a business where she would have the ability to progress further. But this she did not want to do. She did not want to leave the place that had nurtured her and offered her encouragement and hope.

But her supervisor gently insisted, and she enrolled in an intensive 40-hour class in job search taught by LDS Employment. She began to interview. It hurt when she was passed over and not offered positions and that made her want more than ever to stay at Deseret Industries. But her supervisors and trainer had confidence in her and insisted she continue.

Eventually, a major retailer offered her a position as a cashier and she accepted it — hesitantly. But her fears soon disappeared. She sailed though the cashier training program, finishing with a 97 percent, the top score in her class.

Her husband is now working at Deseret Industries, enrolled in the English classes, and pursuing his own dreams of self-reliance in the land of the free.

Another in the series "Pure Religion," showing the principles of welfare at work.