Milad and Nuria’s strong faith has carried them through many struggles, some of which include keeping their family safe as conflicts were arising in Egypt, immigrating to the United States to freely practice their Christianity, finding their church (Tree of Life) and the beginning of their journey to their Habitat home where they look forward to raising their children in a welcoming and violence-free environment.
Milad Yassa, originally from Egypt, left his life of being a lawyer and working in a 5 star hotel in Cairo for a new life in the United States with one bag in his hand and $1,000 in his pocket.
Milad’s journey to the U.S. began after filling out an American Immigration Visa application in March of 2007. Eight months later he met his wife Nuria.
“Nuria encouraged me to finish all the process (of the visa application) to have the change to travel abroad and have freedom like her,” Milad said.
Milad received the news that his visa application had been approved at the same time that he married Nuria. With his new American Immigration Visa, Milad traveled to the U.S. on September 13th, 2009.
“My start was with one bag and $1,000 in my pocket. After a week I had $400,” said Milad.
Milad needed his social security number to obtain a job in the U.S.
“I prayed to God asking for help because I (had) almost run out of the money… On September 23rd I started my first job as a meat cutter in New York City with no paperwork. They didn’t pay me until I got my green card and (social security) number.”
Milad received his first paycheck on October 15th – the same day that he ran out of the money he had arrived with to the U.S.
“God is good. Always beside us,” said Milad.
It was at this time that Nuria didn’t have a permanent resident card and could not stay in the U.S. with Milad for more than 90 days at a time. For that reason, Milad and Nuria’s first son, Lucas, was born in Nuria’s home country of Spain.
“One of my friends called me offering me an opportunity of work in Canyon Lake as a housekeeping supervisor,” Milad said, “I moved to New Braunfels and Nuria (moved) to Barcelona because she wasn’t allowed to deliver Lucas in the States.”
Milad did not meet his son until they had him baptized in Cairo three months later.
“My wife and I always wanted to be together as a normal family but because of the immigration law she had to travel every 90 days... it was very hard for my wife Nuria and I to spend only maximum 90 days as a normal family.”
In 2010, Milad started work at Olive Garden in addition to his other job. It was four years until Nuria and Lucas were able to obtain their green cards. Throughout those four years, Milad worked in three or four different places and volunteered at the Tree of Life church in New Braunfels to escape the loneliness of missing his wife and son.
“We thought many times to go back to Egypt, but it isn’t easy for a Christian family, especially with foreign members, to live safe there because of the Muslim faith. We asked God to show us His will in our life… when the protest(s) started in Egypt in 2011 and Muslim Brotherhood ran the country it was a sign from God to continue in the U.S.A.,” Milad said.
“We welcomed our son Jacob on October 28th, 2014. After my son (was) born and Nuria started with health problems, I kept only one job because I wanted to enjoy my family… I think that a man (who) is not spending time with his family is not a good man,” Milad said.
Milad and Nuria were volunteering at the Tree of Life Church when someone told them about the Habitat Homebuyer program. They filed an application, and as of April 2015, were selected to partner with Comal County Habitat for Humanity to buy their home.
“Nuria… cried because for her (that) means that our kids will never (be) scared about their faith to be Christian,” Milad said. “She always thanks God… our kids will grow in a (safe) country and never (be) worried because they are Christian. Lucas and Jacob are sharing a room (now). Soon each one will have his own room.”