Life as a Refugee

  • The garbage dump in Lesbos contains a powerful symbol of the number of refugees risking their lives by sea.

  • Syrian refugees are not only fleeing ISIS.

    Human Rights Watch has investigated some of the stories of leaked photos of detainees killed while in custody of the Syrian government and produced this video.

    *** contains mature content ***

  • Our thanks to Antecessor Rapid Response (www.antecessor.org/) for allowing us to share this video which shows how the church is reaching out and caring for refugees passing through the the Balkans: an example of love for churches everywhere to emulate in their local response to the worldwide refugee crisis.

    This is the Gospel sharing love for others that Jesus has called His church to live out in their communities and around the world.

  • Haitian refugees at Quebec borderIn recent weeks, the number of new asylum seekers, mainly from Haiti, crossing the US border into Quebec has risen dramatically. On Friday, August 11, as many as 1,200 people were waiting to file refugee claims in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec.

    UNHCR Representative Jean-Nicolas Beuze was interviewed on CTV News to address the situation. Watch the 4 minute video below to find out: why so many asylum seekers are heading to Quebec, why they are leaving the US, if there is any substance to the fear that the province of Quebec will be overloaded by the sheer number of refugees, and what determines if an asylum seeker can stay in Canada.

  • bibleFor those who want to inform and position themselves to be a voice for truth in refugee crisis conversations, there are Bible studies, books and documentaries available.

    This listing will be updated as new material is discovered. If you are aware of something that may be useful to others, please let us know and we will add it to the site.

    Bible Studies

    Refugee Highway Partnership has made available a 3-lesson Bible study by Marike Blok simply called "Refugees" available for downloadby anyone who would like to use it. A guide for facilitators is available here.

  • flag pakistanIn our world today (2019), Pakistan is ranked by World Watch List at #5 of the top 50 nations where "it is most dangerous to follow Jesus," ahead of Sudan (#6), Eritrea (#7), and Yemen (#8).

  • computer mouseOne of the blessings and the challenges in this work are the conversations with people who have been forcibly displaced. Most of those ‘conversations’ happen by way of email, but having been at this for 3 years now, there are more happening via Skype, Facebook Messenger and phone.

    I would like to share 2 of those conversations with you here. English is not their first language. In order to protect their identity I have changed their names, but I have preserved their words, their message to us …

  • This aerial footage shows the total devastation of the city of Homs, once Syria's third largest city and a major industrial hub.  Close to 1 million people no longer live here; those not killed are seeking refuge somewhere.

  • hany unhcrAs we get further and further along in this humanitarian crisis of displacement and people forced to flee for their lives, more and more have come to Canada and are resettling into a new life here.

    This month, we would like to high-light the story of 22-year-old Hany Al Moulia who fled Homs, Syria a year after his youngest brother was born in March of 2011. After graduating high school he knew "he would be conscripted into the army. And then his cousins were murdered in their homes. It was time to get out."

  • A Samaritan's Purse video showing some Syrian refugees arriving on the shores of Greece.

  • silhouette 3Written by Ann Sparrow

    In October 2016 Fahad* contacted us - he said he found our name on a site of sponsoring churches. We were surprised because we didn't even realize that our names were on any list, so it was something definitely not on our radar at that time.

    We checked his story out through some missionaries to make sure that his story was true. Having found that out and feeling that this was perhaps a direction God was leading us in, we brought it to the church. There was full support from the board, and many of our church folk immediately showed a lot of interest.

  • Faith Community Church begins a sponsorship of a refugee family.At this point, it is still a waiting game but way more so for Ruth and Joseph* and their three children.

    We first began the process of sharing the vision for this with the congregation of Faith Community Church in January 2017. It was formally agreed to by the congregation in February.

    We worked closely with our SAH (the Alliance Church) and their representative Hannatu as she helped us work through the thorough template they have crafted for sponsorship. That process took us about two months as we emailed back and forth with Ruth & Joseph getting them to fill in their documentation even as we did ours. After the initial review of all our paperwork, our SAH then sent the file on to Immigration Canada. This was an invaluable time saver as it virtually eliminated all the mistakes we might have made and saved the time of resending.

  • Psychologist Arthur Aron said that four minutes of eye contact brings people closer to each other better than everything else. In this video Amnesty International experiments with that idea by pairing up Europeans and refugees who have never met before.

  • dadaab camp kenyaDadaab, Kenya, is an area of 5 refugee camps that was home to 329,811 people as of October 2015. Laura Secorun Palet has written an excellent article on this refugee camp that has become a city - a reminder to us all that the worldwide refugee crisis extends far beyond the current Syrian conflict.  

    You can read her article here.

  • When the unlikeliest of people are helping others it's an opportunity for self-reflection by those who should be the likeliest. Regardless of your politics and prejudice, "none of that matters here on the beach."

  • The CBC interviews former citizenship judge Aris Babikian and newly arrived Syrian refugee Shant Momjian.  What they share gives insight into challenges the Canadian Government faces both here and overseas in trying to increase the numbers of Syrian refugees brought to Canada.

    cbc refugee interview

  • Kitala first contact AGC RSI in November 2017. We have emailed back and forth several times over these past two years. In my efforts to better understand what life is like for refugees, I asked Kitala if he would take some photos and write to explain for us who are so far removed from his experience what life is like for them in a refugee camp. Kitala lives in Kakuma, a refugee camp in Kenya that hosts over 186,000 refugees. These are his words and his photos.

    Kitala MichelleFirst and foremost, Kakuma refugee camp has a semi-arid climate with temperature reaching 40 degrees Celsius. The area is always full of dust storms, poisonous spiders, snakes, and scorpions. Outbreaks of malaria, pneumonia, and cholera do not spare refugees, and 3 months ago, one of my neighbors died with cholera.

  • wilderness flowerA poem by Pastor Farshid Fathi

    Born in 1979, Farshid has been working in ministry since 1997. In the years 2001 – 2005, he was instrumental in planting 48 underground house churches in his native Iran.

    On 25 December 2010, Farshid was arrested along with a number of other church leaders. He was kept 361 days in solitary confinement in Evin Prison, often enduring severe interrogation. In March 2011 Farshid was sentenced to six years in prison for acting against national security through evangelism and promoting Christianity. In 2014 prison guards broke Farshid’s foot and thumb during a prison search. Farshid was later transferred to Rajaei Shahr Prison and released on 21 December 2015. While Farshid was in prison, his wife took their two children to Canada, where they have applied for citizenship. 

    Today, he remains in Turkey registered as an asylum seeker, but still not recognised as a refugee. Toronto area churches, this is an opportunity for you!


    My wilderness is painful, but lovely.
    Some parts of my wilderness are covered with thorns and hurt my feet,
    but I love it, and that's why I call it 'lovely pain'.

    My wilderness is so hot that my tears disappear before falling on the ground,
    but it is cool under Your shadows.

  • Refugee Highway MapThe International Association for Refugees has designed a striking and informative poster to raise awareness about the realities of the Refugee Highway and our mandate to love the alien as we love ourselves.

    Perfect for churches, class rooms, dorm rooms and the office.

    Go to the IAFR toolbox to download file for professional printing (36" x 27")

  • fence flowersJosephine first contacted AGC RSI in October 2017. Their family of 4 had arrived in Bangkok in September 2012, but by the time she contacted us, she was caring for her 2 teenaged children alone. Her husband was in the Immigration Detention Centre... again. William had previously been arrested for overstaying his visa and incarcerated for 18 months before being released in May 2015. In May 2016 he was arrested again. His visa was still expired and he was not willing to return with his family to their native Pakistan. He remains in the IDC today.

    I have been emailing with Josephine semi-regularly since that first contact a year and a half ago. I have long admired her resilience, strength of character and love for Jesus.

    Last week her daughter Yashap wrote to tell me she had written an essay that had been published in an American on-line magazine. I was certain you would want to hear her words.

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