We all have to start somewhere! And this is how it all began for inasmuch. It was a humble start, but God had big plans for us. Here's how it happened.
Missionaries in Africa - Peter & Dawn-Lynn Prediger and family served in Africa for five years. They became involved in a refugee camp in Swaziland and their hearts were moved by the plight of tens of thousands of displaced people.
When they returned to Canada they raised sponsorship for a family of 6 who survived the genocide in Rwanda. It took two years working through the UNHCR and Canadian government agencies for the family to finally be approved and make the move to Canada.
Return to Canada - Peter began work as an engineer again, but there was a deep sense in both Peter and Dawn-Lynn that there must be more than going back to a “normal” Canadian life. Their experiences in Africa left them longing to know what the Lord had next for them.
Easter Sunday - At noon on Easter Sunday the Predigers received a call from the Abbotsford Police about a young couple and 15 month-old who had jumped the border from the US and had been taken to Canadian Border Services where they had been processed and were being released onto the street.
The policeman was concerned as they only had the clothes they were wearing, no money, and no place to go. The Predigers readied the spare bedroom and the young Guatemalan family was welcomed into their home. They were seeking refugee protection in Canada and over the next two years the Predigers learned a great deal about Canada’s refugee protection process as they walked it with this young family.
Unfortunately, after two years they were returned to Guatemala as they were not deemed “Convention Refugees.”
The birth of inasmuch - God gave the Predigers a strong word that they were to be involved in working with refugee claimants, and as a result sold their home and moved into a basement suite to be ready for the next step.
Inasmuch Community Society was born, and a Board of like-minded people was formed. The Society was registered as a non-profit with the province of British Columbia. They joined a multi-agency partnership in Vancouver that worked with refugee claimants.
For a year they prayed, raised some funds, then made a recommendation to the Board that they rent an apartment to be ready for the call for the first refugee claimant. The apartment was rented and furnished ready for the phone call.
The first of many – It began when a young man from Iran arrived at inasmuch. Afraid and uncertain he walked through the Refugee Protection process being supported emotionally and physically. After a long process he was deemed a Convention Refugee and there was great celebration. Then came two young men from Cameroon and Kuwait, both being housed in rented apartments. They were both also granted refugee protection in Canada.
The House – Renting apartments was not ideal for the refugee family members because of the loneliness and isolation felt when being left alone with their thoughts and fears.
Dawn-Lynn had been searching for over two years when she learned that the City of Abbotsford had rental housing available. There was a 3,500 sq ft house in tear-down condition, but she saw its potential.
After review with the inasmuch Board, it was decided to rent the house and begin work to prepare it to house refugee claimants.
One Sunday the Predigers were given four minutes at each of the services at Northview Community Church to raise support for renovations. The response was overwhelming and 75 volunteer contractors and tradesmen gutted and totally rebuilt the interior in a period of one month.
On March 26, 2015, the Predigers moved into their suite in the house, along with a young man from Cameroon, and one from Kuwait.
Since that time, family members from Afghanistan, Nigeria, Burundi, India, two couples from Kurdistan, and two Kurdish women have found home at inasmuch.
House number 2 - in a unique partnership with the City of Abbotsford, we secured a second house - allowing us to provide transition housing and settlement services to families of refugee claimants. This house has doubled our capacity!
Since 2017 we’ve also employed two full time members of staff - a Community Engagement and Housing Manager, along with a Settlement Worker. As the need for our services has increased, so has our ability to provide for refugee claimants. It’s been a whirlwind few years!
We’ve looked after nearly 40 asylum seekers since we started all those years ago … and we’re looking forward to serving many more in the future…