“I’m from Kuala Lumpur, a city of 7 million in Malaysia. So when I came to NorthWest Arkansas in 2001, those cows and chicken houses really scared me. I landed at XNA and, at the time, there was only one departure gate and one arrival gate. I just chose a university online without visiting, and I really thought I had made the biggest mistake.
Soon after that, 9/11 happened and, though not a Muslim, coming from a Muslim country, I had to grow up really quickly. During the first few years in America, I went through the process of assimilating, and I ended up doing it so well that I really didn’t stand out at all. A few years down the road, I felt like I had lost part of myself. So, I went through the process of trying to recover what I had lost. That’s actually what started my racial reconciliation and cultural identity journey.
My role at New Heights is Director of Compassion Ministry. In this role, I am over Intersection, racial reconciliation, and aiding refugees and immigrants in their transition here. Intersection is a ministry a few friends and I created to reach marginalized people. Racial Reconciliation takes many forms including Healing Conversations, a ministry created to promote unity and healing within the body of Christ. I am also a liaison with Canopy, an organization that helps welcome and equip refugees to live and thrive in NorthWest Arkansas.
My passion is for compassion in all areas. Once you’ve stepped into this work, your eyes don't see the world the same anymore. That is my hope for people that I come in contact with. Whether it’s people of color, immigrants, low socioeconomic families, or just marginalized people in general - my hope is that everyone will be seen and loved.
Over the years, I have seen God moving by bringing local churches and individuals together to reach common goals. Instead of churches doing outreach for the marginalized and speaking about racial reconciliation individually, I’ve seen them come together and rely on each other. For example, on a regular basis there are 7 or 8 local churches at Intersection. It’s been so cool to see the body of Christ support each other and share resources so that we can further the Kingdom."
– Nellie Beall, Director, Compassion Ministry at New Heights.