Profile: A Sri Lankan family. The father is in Australia; his wife and children are still in Sri Lanka.
Risk: If returned to Sri Lanka, persecution to the point of making life intolerable is the best outcome. The more likely outcome is being "disappeared" by the Sri Lankan military &/or death. If he remains in Australia, any hope of being reunited with his family is lost.
Advantages: He was recognized as a refugee by the UNHCR in 2011. A church in Australia is prepared to raise all the required settlement support.
Seeking: A congregation willing to help a Christian family of 5 resettle in their community.
Philip lived on a small island in Sri Lanka with his wife and children. Due to the civil war, his island was under navy control. A few times each week, Philip would travel to the mainland to attend church and church meetings. The navy questioned Philip about his routine and accused him of being associated with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam – which was untrue.
Pastor Adeel received his preaching call from God in 2006 and began sharing the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ with all those in darkness in his home country of Pakistan. When he attracted the attention of a group of fanatic Muslims, he started receiving threats against his life and was even attacked physically. He fled his homeland to keep his wife and children safe and the family has been living in Thailand since December 2013. Even in his exile, Pastor Adeel continues to pastor, often distributing food and essentials to other refugees he knows in Thailand. A US church has started to raise the funds to contribute to Pastor Adeel's family's sponsorship in Canada. This is an opportunity for a Canadian church to collaborate financially with our brothers and sisters in the USA.
Profile: A Pakistani family who have sought asylum in Thailand
Risk: Death if they return home; arrest for overstaying their visitor visas in Thailand.
Advantages: Opportunity to collaborate with a US church already working to raise settlement support for this family
Seeking: A church willing to sponsor this family of four knowing some of the financial responsibilities will be shared with others.
Another note by Alex, telling us a little about himself:
‘’ Am writing this letter from exile in hope of getting a sponsor in Canada for my resettlement.’’
War, political violence and persecution led me to flee my home country, Burundi leaving behind my family and everything I knew to save my life.
I was just like any normal teenager of my age (19) out of high school waiting to enrol for college. I had a job in a local bookstore working part time(4 hours in the morning). Most of my evenings were spent volunteering with the Red Cross and if not there, I'd head to the basketball court as basketball is my second best hobby after Chess. (I am a huge fan of the Toronto Raptors by the way.) A few months later, the school break was over and I went for college.
It was there at college when I was a volunteer in a humanitarian organization in 2015 that demonstrations against the 3rd mandate of President Nkurunziza were getting violent. I decided to step in and help vulnerable ones in need of medical attention.
Mehmood and one of his sons ran a successful tailor business in a predominantly Muslim area in Lahore, Pakistan. An escalating series of physical attacks and threats on their lives by local Muslims forced the whole family to flee their home in 2013, leaving behind all their precious possessions and finances. With the help of others they managed to arrive in Malaysia where they are seeking asylum and praying for sponsorship to Canada.
Profile: An extended Pakistani family of 8
Risk: Death or imprisonment if they return to Pakistan
Advantages: Relatives in Kitchener, Ontario willing to help with some funds and
some settlement support; adults have transferable skills
Seeking: A church willing to sponsor this family, providing the needed financial and settlement support
Samir,* from a country known for its high incidence of Christian persecution, has sought asylum in Asia. Very aware of the danger, he and his friend started carefully approaching members of their nationality and the Arab community to share the gospel. Late last year, someone exposed them and they have both been threatened with death by a radical group for being apostates and trying to convert people away from Islam. They’ve been reported to the authorities who work with their Embassy. If they are caught, as he says, the best case scenario is that they be deported back "home" where they will be sure to receive capital punishment. But Samir is familiar with Canada!