ICC Note: Christian refugees Stephen and Ester Kiim fled Myanmar from religious persecution in 2011 to move to Des Moines, Iowa. Last April, Stephen was shot and killed in an attempted robbery in front of his three boys. No one has been arrested. The community in Des Moines have since rallied to support the family. This Christmas, they blessed the Christian widow with a house for the holidays.
12/24/2017 Des Moines (Des Moines Register) – Much has been taken from this mother of three boys.
Her homeland: She and her husband were Christian refugees who suffered religious persecution in western Myanmar and moved to Des Moines in 2011.
Her name: U.S. immigration officials wrote it down wrong, so Ester Kim instead officially became Ester Kiim.
Her husband: Stephen Kim was gunned down execution-style in front of his boys April 22 while parked at University Terrace Apartments in Des Moines. No one has been arrested.
But during this Christmas season, the people of Iowa have tried to give Ester Kiim and her 3 sons something back — a home for the holidays.
Helped by an outpouring of community donations that reached $300,000, Ester and her boys moved from an apartment into the first home the family has ever owned.
After the Dec. 15 closing, 9-year-old Suan, 7-year-old David and 5-year-old Martin excitedly raced from room to room of their Clive brick ranch home.
Lights and a “Merry Christmas” sign were quickly strung up outside. Inside, a large portrait of her husband hung on the wall.
To Ester, 30, this home means a stable life.
“This is where our hearts and minds will be,” she said. “Every time we go out, we have a place to go home.
“I’m glad that we have this house before Christmastime. It’s the happy season for Christians. My husband was a very devoted Christian and he liked to celebrate Christmas, so we will be missing him.”
When Stephen Kim was killed, a shocked community rallied.