Changes at Inasmuch - looking back, looking forward

Looking Back

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Easter Sunday nine years ago, we received a call from an Abbotsford police officer who knew us from church. He asked if we knew anything that could be done for a mother, father, and fifteen-month old little boy who had crossed the border in the cold rain the night before. They had been picked up by the police, taken to the Huntington border crossing then released by Canadian Border Services with nowhere to go.

Without hesitation we said bring them to our home. We had no idea who they were, or what was meant by “Refugee Claimant”. They lived with us for seven weeks and God revealed His plans for our future.

We learned who Refugee Claimants are, and God placed a vision in Dawn-Lynn’s heart for a “Big House” where we would provide Christ’s love and support to these vulnerable people while they worked through their claim process.

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We formed a board, registered inasmuch with the BC Government and later received charitable status from CRA.

We began renting apartments in Abbotsford and housing young men, and in February 2015, God gave us the first “Big House” which was a tear-down, but with 85 volunteers in five weeks, the house was gutted and re-purposed to provide transition housing for refugee claimants.

For the first 3 ½ years we lived in community with 30 of these precious people from the Middle East and Africa. Our fondest memories are of the weekly communal meals around the dining table talking about life and seeing these “family members” laugh with and support one another. We had continuous opportunities to talk with them about why we do what we do, that the love of Jesus compels us. Before their hearings with the Refugee Board, we would pray that God’s peace would cover them during the hearing. Our lives were intertwined with them.

In November of last year, we opened a second “Big House” right behind the first house where we are now housing families for the first time. As with the first house it was a tear-down, but with 80+ volunteers it was gutted and re-purposed for families.

Looking Forward

Eighteen months ago we began discussions with our board about transition and succession planning, as we wanted to ensure the continued heart of inasmuch would thrive and grow beyond us. For nine years we have put everything we have into this little ministry, and God has blessed us with wonderful Godly people that He has built into a team.

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On May 1, the board appointed Richard Belcham as Executive Director of Inasmuch Community Society. Richard served on our board for three years and last fall was hired as our Settlement Worker. Richard’s wife Angela is our Head of ESL and Adult Education.

The team also includes Tammy Johnson, the Housing and Community Engagement Manager, and our newly appointed Settlement Worker, Alissa Cook. Gary & Lori Schmidt are the Host Couple in one house and Lisa Larson is the host in the other. All are passionate about Jesus Christ and inasmuch.

We will continue to be engaged on the relationship level with former family members and with new families as they arrive. Dawn-Lynn is head gardener and a love-deeply-wraparound person. Peter has been appointed President and both of us are there for the team for wisdom if requested.

Thank you and a request

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We have been surrounded by support from so many of you in prayer, volunteering, and monthly financial support. When we put out the call for the re-purposing of the houses to Northview Church, Living Waters church, Trinity Western, UFV, and CANIL students we were overwhelmed. When you met the people God has brought into inasmuch you have been moved by their bravery, resilience, and gift they are becoming to Canada.

From our hearts to yours, we ask that you continue this support for this incredible ministry and to those facing trauma and uncertainty.

Inasmuch is growing and we would love you to grow with it.

Moving out and moving on

We are excited to let you know that some folks are preparing to move out of inasmuch house and into more permanent housing.

It's very exciting to watch as they begin their new lives in Canada. However, they came to Canada with nothing more than a couple of suitcases and so need your help to furnish their new homes.

We would really like your help to set them up with furniture because they're taking over an empty house.

Specifically, we are looking for:

  • Bunk beds

  • Single beds

  • Fridge

  • Microwave

  • Kitchen utensils

  • Pots and pans

  • Dishes, glasses and cutlery

  • Bedding

  • Towels

  • TVs

Do you have any of these used items that you'd like to donate to help these wonderful people as they start out on their own?

It would be amazing if you are able to help. Just let us know by sending an email to hello@inasmuch.ca with the a list and photos of items you have available and we'll be in touch. Please don't just drop them off at the house - we only have limited storage space and want to coordinate this move carefully!

Thank you for caring. We really appreciate your support.

Some have entertained angels unawares

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Since August last year, our team have given housing, settlement services, English language teaching and employment support to 25 refugee claimants. That might not seem like a huge amount, but each one of those 25 people has experienced the wraparound services that Inasmuch delivers. And in each one of those interactions, they’ve seen what it truly means to love your neighbour.

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In their own words ...

We love our family. We love the amazing people who come to live in our houses and the people who we serve. Each of them has their own story and carry their own burdens. But their lives are often touched when they come to Inasmuch in ways they didn’t expect. We thought it would be wonderful if we shared some of their thoughts with you in this update – in their own words.

From the Middle East

Suddenly God sends someone to help you by providing a place to stay, three meals a day, transportation to follow your case for refugee claim. This is Inasmuch… I call it angel - the blessed place; taking care for you more than your family, booking a doctor’s appointment for you if you needed, every day watching you and asking: “How do you feel? Are you ok? Don’t need anything?” Getting your papers for work, finding you a job, helping you to get a place for rent, asking friends to furnish your home. All the people who lived there are all friends, because no one forgets what Inasmuch did for them.

From central Africa

The process of becoming a refugee in Canada is complex and overwhelming but Peter, Dawn-Lynn, and Inasmuch team tremendously reduced this burden by providing me the necessary spiritual, financial, and social support. Inasmuch provided me a house, food, clothing. They gave me useful information about other community and government resources that are available for refugee claimants. Inasmuch was home and a true blessing for me.

I came across some beautiful people from around the world. The love, food, fun, and warmth I experienced made Inasmuch a terrific home. The experience I had in Inasmuch was a perfect introduction to true Canadian hospitality and I will forever remain grateful.

From North East Africa

… after about twenty minutes, he came to the house and helped me with the bags. When I arrived by the car, a very beautiful and bright smile with a big hug welcomed me. That was Dawn-Lynn. I WILL NEVER EVER FORGET THAT FACE FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. Inasmuch helped us with a lot of things. Since our ID process was delayed, we were not able to receive any social assistance from the government.

We were almost out of money but we were not starved or become homeless because of these two incredible couples. We also got the chance to update our English language. We have been taking English language courses once in a week with our lovely, brilliant and innocent teacher, Angela and twice in a week at Seven Oaks Church.

I don’t feel that I am alone here, because now I have Canadian mother, father and family. Words are not enough to express my deep feeling about Inasmuch. All the people from Inasmuch have a big place in my heart. God bless you all.

From a war-torn country

When I met them, my past experience completely changed. I was shocked by the compassionate, caring, and warm assistance and help they provided to me. Inasmuch has tirelessly helped me with my application process, my medical needs, transportation, getting a BC driver's license and, most importantly, the certainty that Inasmuch will unequivocally help me and treat as a human being, rather than as a "client" or a number.

Also, I was very impressed by how professional, resourceful, and punctual the Inasmuch team are. Now, I no longer feel alone in Canada. In fact, I feel that Inasmuch cares about me and will help me with my settlement process in my new country, Canada. Thank you so very much Inasmuch.

From Central Africa

Before I came to Inasmuch, I was worried about funding a place to live. Inasmuch welcomed me very warmly. Inasmuch is very important and special to me because it’s my Home, where they showed me selfless and generous love.

Another from the Middle East

Inasmuch helped me and my husband to find love, hope, and family again, after leaving our families. We have an amazing family here which we feel deeply and that made us to be happy and feel secure with our new life.

"Sometimes", said Pooh, "the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."

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Forgive us quoting from Winnie The Pooh, but these simple few words have captured some of the extra special joy and generosity we've received from children over the last few months.

We were with with our grandchildren on Christmas Eve morning, opening gifts and celebrating, and you could tell they were itching to tell us something. They were so excited, but we didn't know why. It turns out they had a very special gift for us. They presented us with a specially wrapped box, and when we opened it we found $100 from each of them for Inasmuch.

But it wasn't the money that mattered in that moment.

We wish you could have seen the excitement in their faces as they presented the gift. They knew that their small gesture would make a big difference. And they could see the joy they had brought on our faces! It was such a special moment.

The kids also baked special Inasmuch cookies and sold them around their neighbourhoods too. They are passionate supporters of Inasmuch.

And there are many more stories like these. For example, through our work at the Abbotsford Community Hub Centre, others have seen what we do and have been moved to get involved. The six year old son of the pharmacist at the Hub asked that he didn't receive any birthday presents this year, but that his friends and family would donate to Inasmuch to celebrate. He raised a lot of money for Inasmuch, as well as spreading the word of our work throughout his own little network. So humbling.

Finally, after we spoke at Northview recently, we were talking to folks in the lobby and a little girl, with whispy blonde curls, crept up to us, tugged on my sleeve and gave me a small bag with all her change in it. She simply said: "this is for your people."

These simple things just melt our hearts.

Thank you just doesn't seem enough! We couldn't do any of the work we do, this without your support, encouragement or prayers. It makes a huge difference. Thank you.

Joy to the world - right here in Abbotsford!

2018 has been an amazing year for Inasmuch.

Not only were we able to restore and open a second house for refugee claimant families, we also opened a new centrally-located office in Abbotsford and employed a full-time settlement worker to provide settlement services and employment counselling to refugee claimants across the Fraser Valley.

From far and wide...

This year, we have been able to help folks who have been fleeing from persecution and threats to their lives from places as diverse as Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Iran, Kurdistan and beyond.

They have become much-loved members of the Inasmuch family and continue to build their lives in safety here in beautiful British Columbia. To date we have helped nearly 40 people become engaged, employed and active members of the community in the Fraser Valley.

Leading the way

We’re only a small non-profit, but the wraparound services we provide refugee claimants has been recognized as pioneering in its approach.

Our work has been commended by large settlement organizations such as MOSAIC in Vancouver, as well as the BC Provincial Government. Indeed, we were recently awarded Non-Profit Organization of the Year by Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. We don’t need the recognition – but it sure is nice to receive!

Extending our reach

Members of the Inasmuch team are actively involved in MAP the Multi-Agency Partnership of about 40 agencies (Government, NGO and non-profits) that work with refugee claimants.

They also work closely with the Abbotsford City Homelessness Action Advisory Committee, the Abbotsford Community Hub Centre, Trinity Refugee Awareness Campaign at Trinity Western University, the University of the Fraser Valley and Sevenoaks Alliance Church.

We are also really excited to let you know that VanCity Bank has seen our ESL program in action and has subsequently agreed to fund our Education Program, led by Dr. Angela, for one year.

A second home for Inasmuch

Our second home – which seems to have collectively become known as Inasmuch 2 – has been dedicated and viewed by over 70 people in a special open house. The doors are now open and we expect our first family this week.

The transformation of this tired old tear-down has been spectacular with a new roof, new kitchens, new appliances, furnace, water tank, and more. You wouldn’t believe the difference. Plus, thanks to an amazing team of volunteers the yard has been transformed into a child friendly paradise. 

There are so many people to thank, it would take most of this newsletter update, but we would love to recognize our friend and project manager Chad Becher from MEC Developments. Without Chad and his family, we would never have been able to complete this incredible home.

Thank you just doesn’t seem enough.

Looking back…

2018 has been a wonderful year and we thank God for all his abundant blessings and provisions.  We took some big steps in faith and we have amazed at how He has provided for us.

The second home project was an $85,000 project and we have been so blessed to have received $70,000 already and we hope to close the gap between now and the end of the year. If you would like to help with the remaining costs of Inasmuch 2, you can do so here:

… Looking forward

It looks like 2019 is going to keep building on this momentum.

We ask that you would prayerfully consider partnering with us via a monthly donation. A regular monthly commitment helps us to budget and plan for the future, as well as being able to deliver the ground-breaking wraparound services that we have become know for. 

As we’re fond of saying: “Sometimes the best wraparound service is just a hug!”

And finally a big thank you!

Seriously, we couldn’t achieve any of this without your support, encouragement or prayers. It makes all the difference. All of us on the Inasmuch team are very aware that we are supported by wonderful people whose hearts are for refugee claimants. Thank you.

This weekend we have our annual tradition of cutting the inasmuch Christmas tree. Family members from across the years and all over Vancouver and the Fraser Valley come home to choose the tree and celebrate with decorations, hot chilli and a wonderful family atmosphere. It really is the most wonderful time of the year.

A second home for Inasmuch - exciting times...

About six weeks ago the City of Abbotsford called us to let us know about the possibility of a home for rent right behind our existing home.  Long story short, we’ve been able to negotiate a great deal and have signed the final papers giving us this amazing home for at least five years.

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A first for families

And the best news of all is that this home will enable us to house refugee claimant families for the first time. We can house a family of up to 8 people upstairs and a family of 4 downstairs, plus we’ll have room for a host person who will help them navigate those early days in their new lives in Canada. It’s awesome.

Saved from demolition!

However, the house was scheduled for demolition and is in need of restoration – with everything from a new roof and windows, to appliances and paint. The yard – which is perfect for children – also needs clearing, brush cutting, fencing, turfing and more! (Read on to find out how you can help!)

Project management in place

We already have been blessed by extraordinary people to drive this new project forward. Chad Becher from MEC Developments and his team are going to head up the project management and coordination of the trades and the construction side of the project. He and his team are incredibly talented and have long experience in home restoration – we’re thrilled that they are involved.

Donations already coming in

We’re excited that our friends at The Home Depot Canada Foundation have already come on board with a donation of $5,000 to get us underway! Plus, we’ve already had a Garage Sale (which brought in another $1,000) and people lining up to volunteer. What’s more, we’ve also been given lots of furniture too. So we really can make this happen – and aim to open our new home to asylum seeking families in under six weeks.

We really need your help!

A project of this size can’t be done alone and we need help to get to the finish line. There are five ways you can get involved:

Join our Yard Clearing Work Party – Saturday October 13, 2018 from 9:00am

We need lots of willing volunteers with clippers, weed-whackers, loppers, etc. All you’ll need is a willing heart and hands and a good pair of gardening gloves. We’ll provide the rest! Please sign up to let us know you’re coming by clicking this link: Yard Clearing Work Party

Are you a skilled tradesperson?

The house needs restoration from top to toe. So we need the professionals to help us. We can provide tax donation receipts if you’d like to donate your time or services along with any materials. Specifically, we need plumbers, electricians, roofers, kitchen cabinet restorers, painters, carpenters / joiners to name but a few.

If you fit the bill and can provide your services, then please email us to tell us what you can do, and what you are able to provide as a donation. Please email dawn-lynn@inasmuch.ca

Household furnishing and supplies

We can’t turn the house into a home, without stocking it properly. There are two kitchens, along with the bedrooms, bathrooms and living areas. So we are asking if you can help us with any of the following items:

  • Plates and mugs, cutlery, teapots, drinking glasses and serving dishes

  • Pots, pans, baking sheets and small kitchen appliances (mixers, kettles, toasters etc)

  • Kitchen knives and utensils

  • Flat screen TVs for the living areas

  • 4 sets of adult size bunk beds and mattresses

  • A Queen size Murphy bed

  • Towels, face cloths etc

  • 4 sets of queen size sheets – including pillows, sheets, cotton blankets and mattress covers

  • 8 sets of single bedding – including pillows, sheets, cotton blankets and mattress covers

  • Comforters for the beds

  • Kids play equipment for the yard

  • Two large area rugs

Please email dawn-lynn@inasmuch.ca with a list and photographs of what you are able to donate. We would ask that any item that you wish to donate is clean, in excellent condition and full working order.

Due to the limited space we have available, please DO NOT drop off anything unless you’ve emailed us first.

Donations

There are a couple of ways you can help – either donate on our website by clicking this link: https://www.inasmuch.ca/donate-now  or dropping off gift cards for home furnishing stores such as Walmart, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Costco, IKEA.

Please pray

Please pray for the smooth running of this project, for safety for workers, and that God will bless each and every person who comes through this new house – whether a volunteer, a contractor or one of the new families who move in. As our name indicates, whatever we do for the least of these, we do for Him.

Everyone on the Inasmuch team is excited to get this project underway and we are all so very grateful to our supporters, donors, volunteers and family members.

Thank you for whatever you can do to help us deliver the unique family approach of inasmuch to even more people who are fleeing from terrible circumstances to find refuge in Canada. You are making a big difference in the lives of very vulnerable people.

It's time to get on your bike!

Yes, it’s that time of year again!

Ride for Refuge – 29 September, 2018 Fort Langley
 

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The Ride for Refuge takes place all across Canada the last Saturday in September. Hundreds of organizations that assist Refugees and Refugee Claimants ride bicycles and walk to raise awareness and support.  

Inasmuch will be building a team and asking others to pull a team together to raise money to support our work.  This will be our fourth year participating and it’s a whole ton of fun!

You can sign up to join us here: Ride for Refuge

Home, hope and happiness

We know it’s a cliché, but life at inasmuch can really be a rollercoaster of emotions. It’s sometimes hard to put into words how it feels to watch our family members come from places of fear into a place of hope. 

We cannot take their pain away, but we can walk a small part of their journeys with them. 

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And sometimes, like one of those beautiful Fraser Valley skies - when the sun shines through storm clouds - we see them begin to build a bright future in Canada.

So it is with our last three couples.

All had experienced severe trauma as they were in flight for their lives before arriving, but the peace, Christian love and fellowship of inasmuch has been a great healer. Over the last seven months, the couples from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Ethiopia have blended well into a new family, growing to love and respect each other.

All attended Northview Community Church with us every Sunday, as well as biweekly small church meetings at the house. Those from the church that came alongside them opened their hearts to the love of Christ and brought a deep peace to their lives.  

But now it’s time for them to move on.

Hugs of welcome and hugs goodbye.

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Over the last two weeks all the family members have moved out and on to begin their new lives in Canada. The pain of leaving children behind in their home countries goes with them, but they are slowly beginning to settle.

The two from Ethiopia are both working and have found a wonderful apartment in Abbotsford – and will see their first baby arrive in July. It’s always such a joy to welcome babies at inasmuch, because it really does help everyone focus on the future.

We waved the couple from Afghanistan goodbye at Vancouver airport last week as they head to join family in Toronto. And the other couple have also moved to a lovely suite in Abbotsford.

It’s a bit like when children leave home. They take a piece of our hearts with them, but we long for them to fly. 

And thanks to the amazing work of the team at inasmuch we know they will fly.

Language, learning and love

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Our heart and purpose is to prepare inasmuch family members to integrate into Canadian culture and society.  

A solid foundation of English training focused on Canadian culture and integration continues to be provided by our skilled and loving Angela Belcham and two other volunteers, as well as the wonderful ESL classes provided by Seven Oaks Alliance Church.  

We have also partnered with VanCity Abbotsford who have conducted workshops for current and former family members at inasmuch house to deliver financial training to help them navigate the Canadian banking system and financial planning.

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When you think about inasmuch, we ask that you pray for the family members. 

You may not know their names, or their stories, or their hopes and dreams, but we ask you to pray anyway. The peace that comes to them knowing that folks around Abbotsford, Canada, and across the world have them in their prayers is immense. 

Thank you always for your support - it means so much to us all.

Stories of hope in tough times

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There's not a day goes by without the news of troubles and terrorism across the world. It's easy to forget that there are individual stories and tragedies that are changing the lives of people forever.

At inasmuch we see right into the heart of those very personal stories and it's often impossible to find the right words to say.

Take two of our couples at inasmuch right now. They've fled their homes in Iraq and Afghanistan because of very clear and definite threats to their lives. Imagine for a moment how it must be to run halfway across the globe in fear for your life - but have to leave your children behind.

And if that wasn't bad enough, imagine how it feels when you've found a place of safety to have your refugee claim hearing postponed indefinitely. It's like trauma upon trauma.

Yet these are the realities we deal with every day at inasmuch.
 
But despite the tough days, where we feel helpless and powerless to comfort those in real pain and suffering immense loss, we have hope.  And it's that hope that lets us walk alongside out family members.

Simple words that mean so much.

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Recently we received a letter from a couple that have been at inasmuch for a few months. It was written in Farsi and translated for us.  We wanted to share this extract so you can see how your support makes a very real difference to refugee claimants when they first come to Canada.

"From the very beginning moments Mrs. Dawn-Lynn and Mr. Peter approached and treated us in a way that we really felt like God has sent us angels to help us cope easier with our many hardships and difficulties we have been facing over the past several months. We have been experiencing a very warm welcome. 

"There has been lots of humanitarian, emotional, and financial support from Inasmuch.  In here we are four families each from different backgrounds and nationalities who live happily together like a single family.  We are very grateful to Mr. Peter and his wife Mrs. Dawn-Lynn and their friends for their support.  Their good behavior and support helped us cope easier with homesickness, trauma, and separation from our children. 

"We hope that in the future in return of all care and support that Canada provided us, we try our best to contribute in our community in this beautiful country.”

 
These words touched our hearts. We are so grateful for who God brings to inasmuch.

Canada’s new wave of asylum seekers

It has been three years since we moved into Inasmuch and there have been 34 people who have lived in the house. We've shared in the lives of people from 11 nationalities, but the need continues to increase dramatically.  

We have been attending meetings in Vancouver with the 22 agencies who provide shelter and assistance to refugee claimants (asylum seekers).  In the past two years there has been a 200% increase in asylum seekers in the Lower Mainland which is overwhelming all services. 

Inasmuch is a part of a planning and response forum that will take place with government and service providers in early May.  If you have a few minutes, click on the link below and you will be amazed at the situation being faced here in Canada. 

http://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/rngs/TRUMP-EFFECT-CANADA-IMMIGRATION/0100617F2J1/index.html

Family Update!

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There's been so much happening at the house since our last newsletter. Here are some highlights...

Our young Ethiopian couple are doing well. He's got a job at a local manufacturing company and she is working at the local Christian bookshop and coffeehouse. Their English is excellent and they're planning on moving to their own apartment in the next month. It's been a joy to have them with us.

The couple from Afghanistan are doing well, despite the pain of being away from their children. He had no English when he arrived but is now able to have simple conversations. She is working as a support assistant at a local school - where all the children love her!

Our Iraqi couple are also doing well - both of them have undergone training and background checks to enable them to work with adults with learning difficulties at a local organization. They too are finding it incredibly difficult to be separated from their children back home in Iraq.
 

Introducing Tammy...

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Hi, I’m Tammy and I had the privilege of joining the Inasmuch team at the end of October as a part-time Administrator. I can’t say enough how excited I am to be serving alongside Dawn-Lynn and Peter.
 
My family and I received Sponsorship to move to Canada from South Africa in 1990 and although we didn’t face the same difficulties as a Refugee Claimant or Asylum Seeker, we completely understand the stress and challenge of resettlement. That’s why I’m especially passionate about working in this particular area.
 
One of the most important elements in a successful resettlement is a sense of community and belonging and that’s exactly what I felt when I visited with the Inasmuch family for the first time – a tangible, authentic, deep sense of belonging and connectedness.

Inasmuch doesn’t just provide shelter and services for Refugee families, it provides a warm, welcoming home where family members are loved and cherished. That’s what makes this organization so special!
 
This is a vibrant, diverse family of resilient men and women who have faced the kind of tragedies most of us will only ever read about. It’s a very humbling experience to walk through the Refugee Claimant process with them and I am truly thankful that I get to be a part of this chapter in their lives - to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those who are hurting and have had their worlds broken apart.
 
I love being a part of whatever we can to help them rebuild and thrive in their new country… it’s a privilege and a blessing.

Bringing hope at Christmas

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With all the media coverage about refugees crossing illegally into Canada, it’s all too easy to forget that these people are literally running for their lives – taking risks by crossing continents to find safety in a county that will listen to their story.
 
But each and every one of them has a history of what life was like before they fled. And each one of them wants a future for themselves and their families of safety, peace and a meaningful life.
 
That’s where inasmuch makes a difference. And that’s why we need your continued support – especially at Christmas time.

Moving out and moving on! Hope in action.

It would be very easy to let the traumatic stories of family members overwhelm us. But their pasts don’t define who they are, and as the Bible says in Hebrews 6: “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” And that’s so evident in the stories of the folks who’ve moved out from inasmuch recently.

Our Kurdish/Iranian couple were at inasmuch almost 8 months.  It was so neat to be able to celebrate with them when he secured a position as an IT Systems Administrator at a local high tech company.  With a secure job and a brilliant future ahead of them, they moved into their own two-bedroom apartment in late October.  They have a modest, cozy home thanks to the wonderful donations of good, quality furniture.  

Our 64-year-old Kurdish couple, also at inasmuch for 8 months, are grabbing their new life in Canada with both hands!  He’s working as a forklift operator at a local manufacturer and they’ve also moved to their own apartment. They were incredibly touched by the donations they received for their first home in Canada.  

During their move he shared: “no one has ever helped and loved us the way you Christians have.”

Much of the success for both of these couples, and all previous family members, is the focused English teaching by Dr. Angela. We are so thankful for her!

Tough stories, told through tears

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We don’t ask family members their stories. They are often too painful and too traumatic to talk about - especially when the folks are new to the country, new to inasmuch and still learning to trust.
 
But as family members start to settle, we get a glimpse into their lives.
 
Just this month we received a couple in their late 40s, both physicians from Iraq/Kurdistan.   He is an orthopedic surgeon and worked for several months at a battlefield hospital north of Mosul with an American Christian organization. All we know about their journey is that they received death threats because the husband had accepted Jesus. 
 
We can only imagine how it must feel to leave their three young children behind, while they pursue safety for their family.

Also joining the family this month is a couple from Afghanistan.  They have little English but were able to communicate that they too fled in fear for their lives. 

We have former Farsi-speaking family members returning to the house to help this new couple with interpretation and settling into our home.

And finally we welcomed a young couple from Ethiopia.  They are the sweetest people – with smiles that light up a room! Among the few possessions they brought with them was an Amharic Bible.  On the first evening together he started sharing their story of why they had to flee, but broke down in the telling.
 
It’s tough to see such trauma.
 
But even through these huge transitions in their lives, there is hope. All three couples have started coming to church with us on Sunday mornings.  Two have begun attending an ESL Alpha Bible study at a local church.
 
They all have a long process before them. Refugee Protection hearings are now on a 5-6 month timeline due to three times the amount of asylum seekers arriving in Canada this year.