Citizenship ceremony ends long wait for missionary family - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Citizenship ceremony ends long wait for missionary family


After years of hard work, and study, 15 people are now U.S. citizens.

Friday afternoon, those people, who hail a dozen different countries around the world, became naturalized citizens at the Federal Courthouse in Sioux City.

Western Iowa Congressman Steve King, who spoke at today's ceremony in Sioux City, is a third generation American. His grandmother came to America, from Germany. King says he's proud to see so many people who dreamt of American citizenship, and followed their dreams. Rep, Steve King, (R) Iowa said, "I often talk about, think about, and pray about think about what makes America great... and, this is a component of it."

Friday's ceremony also showed the power of faith for a missionary couple with western Iowa ties.

Leo Escalante is a big guy, who towers over the others around him. Still, he stood a bit taller as he became a U.S. citizen. Leo Escalante, Naturalized Citizen said, "Feels good."

After the hoopla, and the handshakes, his wife, Elizabeth, was waiting. She's gotten used to it. Elizabeth Escalante, Wife said, "About two-and-a-half years ago Leo started his residency process." For Leo, who was born in the Dominican Republic, the wait could have longer. Elizabeth Escalante, Wife said, "Because we are serving as missionaries in the Dominican Republic, we were able to apply for citizenship before having to wait for three years, which was definitely a blessing."

Faith is what got them through. Faith in themselves, and in their family. Leo Escalante, Naturalized Citizen said, "My wife is from here. My daughter is American, too. So, I want to be part of my family here."

With the stars and stripes at his side, Leo Escalante celebrated his citizenship.

The Escalantes will head back to the Dominican Republic. Elizabeth says their mission, there, may last another five years. When asked what they'll do after that, Elizabeth said the family will go wherever the Lord leads them.

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