Sial Khup was jailed for preaching the gospel in his native Burma. His home was then raided and watched by the police, and his wife, Esther, was forced to flee the country with their children. After living in a refugee camp in Malaysia, Esther was able to immigrate to the United States. Five years later, Sial reunited with his family here in Georgia.
Last Saturday, Habitat for Humanity-North Central Georgia held a Dedication Ceremony for the Khup family’s new Habitat home on Arliss Drive in Canton, thus completing a long journey for the family-from jail, to refugee camp, to a rat-infested apartment, to a beautiful new house.
Habitat was able to build the home through an ecumenical collaboration of congregations and businesses which included:
“This ecumenical build offered an opportunity for people of all walks of like to come together for one common purpose, building a safe and affordable home for a family in need,” stated Sabrina Kirkland, Manager of Faith Relations and Community Investment for Habitat-North Central Georgia. “It was truly a blessing for this family to have local churches, a synagogue and a business come together to provide their forever home.”
Sial and Esther worked along-side the volunteers for five months to help build their home. The couple has three young children. Esther is employed at a local auto parts manufacturing company. It was a beautiful morning to celebrate the completion of the home, and volunteers, family members and Habitat staff and board members were present to celebrate with the Khup family.
Sial and Esther were overwhelmed at the support they received during the construction of their home. In accepting the keys to his new residence, Sial said: “We prayed to get a permanent home. ... God answered our praying through the body of God. ... When I saw all the different people that I don’t know building our new home, I thought why are they doing this. What can I do for them? The one thought that was clear to me was that you were showing God’s love by helping us. I heard this like God had told me this.”
PHOTO: Sial and Esther Khup and two of their three children are with Cheryl Mosley, Habitat Coordinator for Canton First United Methodist Church. Sial Khup is holding the keys to his new home that he has just received. (Habitat for Humanity, North Central Georgia)