Hanna Galo has been creating handcrafted beaded crosses for more than a decade. He says that it is not his hobby, it's his mission. When people look at the crosses he makes, he wants them to remember that there is a God who is with them, even in the toughest of circumstances.
Hanna knows about hard times from personal experience. He had to flee his home in Iraq during the reign of Saddam Hussein more than 15 years ago because he was persecuted for his Christian name and beliefs. He settled in Jordan and established a life there. After connecting with The Bible Society in Jordan, he began creating and selling his beaded crosses in order to earn a living. He would later find out that his son, who was still living in Iraq, was killed at 24 years of age because of his Christian faith. It was then that he decided to flee the Middle East and begin a new life in the United States.
In November 2009, Hanna, his wife, Afaf, and teenage daughter, Jakleen, arrived in Austin. It has been quite a struggle for the family financially as they search for full-time work and adjust to life in America. Materials and supplies (it takes 90 beads for one small beaded cross) are more expensive in the States. Hanna says he'll continue his work in spite of the challenges. Afaf and Hanna say they are committed to their mission, no matter where they may live. "With everything that goes on in life, people forget God and begin to depend on themselves," said Afaf. "We want everyone to remember and know that Jesus is our protector and Savior."
Hanna's beautiful beaded crosses can be used as keychains, wall hangings or Christmas ornaments. Prices range from $8 to $18 for intricate pieces of handmade craftsmanship.