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"This is what I do to make the time go faster," Juana says quietly as she crochets a length of soft green yarn. "It takes away the stress."

Juana sits at a plastic table in St Barnabas' Episcopal Church in North Carolina. She wears an ankle monitor and is confined to the church grounds.

Here she sleeps in a room outfitted with basic amenities, away from family, and worships with a small congregation committed to protecting Juana, who faces the threat of deportation.

In 1992, Juana came to the United States from Guatemala seeking asylum.

We ask God for patience and to help us find a way out. This is sanctuary.

Juana Tobar Ortega

Every year, she checked in with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and usually received a stay of deportation.

In April 2017, however, she was told she had 30 days to leave the country or she would be deported.

She refused to leave her four children and two nine-year-old granddaughters, and instead sought sanctuary in an unfamiliar church.

Her family visits her in her new home, delivering groceries and helping pass the time. They also lobby for her stay with politicians, conscious that Juana's is not the only sanctuary case.

But as weeks stretch into months, the wait begins to take a toll on Juana and her family.

"As the days go by, you feel sadder," Juana says. "But it makes makes me really sad when I hear that more people are going through the same thing."

Still, as the family's frustration grows, so does their faith that in the house of God, their prayers will be answered.

Santuario offers a story of hope, family, and faith.

Juana stands with her granddaughter, Bridguette, her son, Carlitos, and her husband, Carlos [Pilar Timpane/Al Jazeera]

Source: Al Jazeera