Life as a Refugee

  • A Displaced Life

    refugee life

    My name is Rayan Masih*. I am Pakistani but living in Thailand as a refugee for almost 8 years. We are a family of 3 – myself, my wife and my daughter.

    In Pakistan, life was good for us as long as we didn’t catch the attention of Islamic extremists. Christians are often persecuted, and many unjustified blasphemy cases are made against us. Muslims consider Christians to be a low class, and we don’t have the same rights as other citizens in our country.

  • A Gift Shared

    Nayyer kids2I've often wondered what I would do if I were a refugee... How would I survive? How would I provide for my family? Would my faith in God grow or shrivel? What would I do with gifts given to me? 

    This month a refugee who received a gift via another believer in the Body of Christ sent the most wonderful story of what happened as a result of that gift. A gift that was received with thanks, and then used to provide more for others. It is a classic God story!

    Sister, you might remember that you sent me some money for my family's food. 

    Sister when you sent me that money we had nothing to eat. Our baby son had been out of milk for many months and he was slowly starving, so we bought milk for our son and with the rest of the money we bought food. But we didn't eat that food. We sold it to get some profit. Our first day was not so good to earn from the food, but the next day more customers bought our food, and the next day even more customers came.

  • A Letter of Hope

    Another noteburundi flag heart 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.

  • A Prayer Journey

    hands prayer 1

    Guest post by Dolores M. from Westside Bible Church in Victoria, BC.

    I am an elderly believer who has served my Lord in various ways for many, many years. With increasing limitations on my physical and mental abilities, there is still an important area of ministry the Lord has for me: prayer.

    From the comfort of my Canadian Christianity, God called me to pray for the persecuted church. Many of the persecuted church have had to flee for their lives from their home countries, becoming refugees.

    For quite a number of years I have been part of a weekly Bible study with a treasured group of women. When it comes to application of Biblical truths, we are often challenged to obey in new areas of life.

  • A Refugee Journey

    woman asian“Please, if something happens to us, take care of my children.”

    I stared at Amira’s* tearful face on the monitor and knew we could not respond to that plea.

    Having received the initial contact with Ahmad* via an emailed appeal for help over three years before, we, and Faith Community Church in Blackfalds Alberta, had been working to bring this Pakistani family to Canada, guiding them through the refugee application process.

    We were encouraged to see how our small congregation embraced the idea, though raising the required $30,000 seemed daunting at first. The church family became more enthused as we broadcast skype calls with the family on Sunday mornings and a shipping container began to fill up with donations.

    We rejoiced when we heard that an interview had finally been granted, but now all hope seemed dashed. Their application had been rejected. As Ahmad recounted how the immigration official dismissed the documents he presented to verify his story, we felt helpless.

  • ADS-Up

    refugees 2Australian Diaspora Steps Up

    Ads-Up Canada is a group of Australians and Canadians working to sponsor Manus and Nauru refugees who have been detained indefinitely by the Australian government.  They are looking for partners in Canada after refugee resettlement was cut so drastically by the USA.

    I first heard about Manus Island after receiving an email several months ago from a refugee who had been stranded there. It was a disturbing note as he described living conditions on what was essentially a prison island. I had never heard of such a place, and it didn't sound like something the Australian government would allow, so I went looking to see what I could learn. The facts are more painful than I could have imagined.

  • Aerial Shot of Lifejackets

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

  • Ahmad was a soul, and he became a number.

    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 ***

  • Antecessor Refugee Crisis Response

    Our thanks to Antecessor Rapid Response ( 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.

  • Asylum Crackdown in Thailand

    This documentary published by the BBC in 2016 describes living conditions and the situation that many  Pakistani Christians have encountered as they looked for refuge in Thailand after being falsely accused of blasphemy at home.

    Although it was created several years ago, the situation has not improved. In fact, many refugees in other countries find themselves in similar situations. Having been forcibly displaced by violence or persecution from their homeland, they have sought asylum in another country - often nearby, and often inhospitable.

  • Asylum Seekers Flee to Quebec

    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.

  • Bible Studies, Books and Media Links

    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

    Far From Home BSWomen of Welcome: Whether we’ve noticed it before or not, God’s redemptive story is one of migration. Sometimes it was a journey to a promised land, other times an exodus or an exile. This six-week study will help you reconnect to God’s faithfulness through the history of his people’s migration. The hope of this Women of Welcome Bible study is that each of us will look into these stories with fresh eyes and open hearts because so many of God’s people are still very far from home.

    This six-week study explores some of the most beloved stories of the Bible, taking to heart their connection to present-day migratio narratives and realities. Comes with a leadership resource for hosts that includes a week-by-week discussion guide! 

    Download here.

  • Christian Tailor - Mehmood's Story

    tailorMehmood 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 

  • Connect with Pakistani Believers

    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).

  • Conversations

    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 …

  • Disappointment

    It is often in the arts that we can see, hear and touch something outside our sphere of experience. Genesis 1:27 is clear:

    So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

    May the words of this poem written by a fellow image bearer of God help us to see, to hear, and to be touched by one who lives a very different life - only because of where he is in the world. To be a refugee since 2013 takes a toll.


    man youngAre you here.......?
    Do you see me when I see you
    I see you look like me only when I look at myself in the mirror
    I see you get away from me
    Stand on the other side of this world
    come closer to me .....I want to talk to you and see you
    Come close to me to share all my defeats
    Let's share tears, tobacco and betrayal together
    Come closer, let's share the disappointment together
    Let's learn more lessons from disappointment
    When.. I see the signs of shock on your face
    Is it the first time you see me talking about myself and looking for it
    Don't worry I'm not hallucinating and I'm not sick
    I'm still me... as you promised me before
    And my artery still has some damage and the memory is strong

  • Drone footage shows total devastation in Homs, Syria

    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.

  • Embracing a New Life in Canada

    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."

  • Europe's Refugees Wash Ashore in Greece

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

  • Fair Havens Community Church

    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.

Join Our Newsletter

New to the world of Refugee Sponsorship? Become informed. Join the conversation.