There's a story in the Bible about a widow who cried out to a prophet for help. The prophet asked her what she already had in her possession. Instinctively she replied, “Nothing!” Then she remembered: “Oh yes, I have a little oil—that’s all.”
Sometimes we don't think we have anything to offer - except maybe a little oil. But it's always amazing to watch when God takes the little oil we have and turns it into something wonderful.
And that's how it feels at Inasmuch right now.
Just last year we had one part-time member of staff and one house. Now, we have two houses, a full-time settlement worker, a full-time Executive Director and, thanks to our friends at MOSAIC, extended hours for our Community Engagement and Housing Manager.
More importantly, since last summer, we've hosted and helped 26 refugee claimants at our houses (plus a baby on the way) and another 17 outside of Inasmuch. To put that in perspective, the year before were able to help 10 folks. Plus, since last year we've delivered over 220 hours of English education with seven teachers, and helped four families find permanent housing.
All we had to offer was "a little oil".
What a difference a year makes! We've been overjoyed this year to welcome families with children to both houses at Inasmuch. We reconfigured the first house to make space for a family of four downstairs - as well as having space for families in the second house.
We've had a Nigerian family of five who came at Christmas time, who have now moved out and are beginning to establish their new lives in Canada. After they left another family of five - originally from Afghanistan, but latterly Ecuador, moved in. Downstairs in the second house is a family of four from Mexico.
When the two Iranian women, and their teenage children moved out of our first house, we changed the rooms around and included bunk beds downstairs for the first time. There's a great need for accommodation for families right now - and it was an easy switch for us to make. So we welcomed a Palestinian family of four a couple of months ago.
In the remaining room, we said goodbye to an older Afghan woman who moved to more permanent housing and welcomed a woman from India, who had a six week old baby. They came straight from detention to Inasmuch and it was so amazing to watch them settle. Sadly, they moved to Toronto last month, so we gave them an emotional send off.
But, we are so glad to have welcomed a woman from Cote D'Ivoire in West Africa to our home. She's just days away from giving birth so everyone is so excited to have another baby in the house.
It's certainly changed things at Inasmuch having families. The kids in the two houses run backwards and forwards and can often be found playing soccer in the shared backyard. In fact, this week four of the kids are playing at a full-week soccer camp, with over 100 other children, thanks to our friends at Northview Community Church.
There's lots of noise, lots of laughter, a few tears and a few challenges.
But we wouldn't swap our messy, chaotic, noisy, happy Inasmuch family for anything.
World Refugee Day
This year, World Refugee Day was kind of a big deal at Inasmuch! Instead of just marking the day internally, we actually held three events.
The first was at the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce, where we held a lunch and learn with a presentation entitled: "Why Hire Refugees?" The folks in attendance were very engaged and three companies have already contacted us to see if they can form partnerships with Inasmuch.
In the evening we held a movie night at the Matsqui Auditorium for over 150 people. The movie Inside My Heart, was thought provoking and powerful and left people with a lot to think about. We also launched our Welcome Homes initiative, which we'll send a separate email out about soon. It was a great team event - as the picture above shows!
And then the following weekend we were with MCC to celebrate in Mill Lake Park at a "Choose Welcome" event celebrating 40 years since the first privately sponsored refugees arrived in Canada. It was awesome to be with so many people in the community.
So much more to share ...
We have so much more to share with you, which we will do over coming weeks. As our big family grows and changes, we so appreciate your prayers and support.
Just last week we sent out a request for diapers and your response was incredible! We have been so blessed to receive donations of both money and diapers to help the new mom and families at Inasmuch. Thank you!
So, enjoy your summer and we'll be in touch with updates about our new Welcome Homeshousing initiative, as well as a special campaign called "Wheels 4 Wheels", where you can help us turn pedal power into gas power - so check your inbox again soon!
Thank you for caring about refugee claimants and for not walking by on the other side. Our whole team appreciates your care and commitment and we don't take it for granted!