• A Syrian Family Gives Back by Helping Ottawa Food Bank

    "When I first came to Canada [I had] a lot of stress because I changed my city, my country. But now I feel very comfortable, especially when I came to this church."” - Lodi Ghossen, recently arrived in Ottawa.

    elias ghusin lodi ghossen syrian refugees volunteers food bank1

    As seen in CBC news posted: Dec 01, 2017

    Every year at this time, the Ottawa Mennonite Church holds a fair trade Christmas market, with proceeds going to the Ottawa Food Bank. Volunteers make it all happen.

    This year, one group of volunteers has a special reason for wanting to give back.

  • A Syrian Family Starts Over

    “Everybody wants a safe and happy life. That’s all I wish for my family, too.” - Kevork Eleyjian, 28-year-old Syrian recently arrived in Montreal.

    ss Montreal

    Written By:  Marc-André Cossette Based in Ottawa, Canada

    Wearing earplugs and protective gloves, Kevork Eleyjian hauls glued-wood veneers to a large machine on a noisy factory floor, shaping thin composite sheets into curved seats.

  • Edy

    Country of Origin: Syrian Arab Republic

    ss edyEdy and his family were on the first flight from Beirut to Toronto, as part of the Canadian government’s tremendous commitment to resettle 25,000 refugees from Syria.

    “The day I heard I had permission to move to Canada, I applied to three universities. I wasn’t able to go to university in Syria because of the war."

  • 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."

  • Life as a Newcomer

    Starting over again in a new country is difficult enough without the trauma of having to flee your home because of war or persecution. So many of these recent newcomers have had to leave family behind. They have suffered untold injustices and have been faced with unthinkable choices. These are some of their stories as they begin a new life here in Canada.

  • Refugee Sponsorship Reinvigorates Churches

    efc lynn scurfieldThe EFC (Evangelical Fellowship of Canada) has published an article written by Joel Arndt in Faith Today, Nov/Dec 2017 that recounts the impact that churches have had on resettling refugees through both the Private Sponsorship Program and the Blended Visa Office Referral Program. 

    Looking back on what some churches have accomplished thus far, it doesn't seem to matter whether the communities are large or small, whether there are ample resources or no budget for sponsorship at all, God's people have stepped out in faith and prayer to help resettle more than 3,500 refugees in Canada. 

    And the consensus from those who have walked this journey is that the blessing of sponsorship goes both ways. Yes, the new-comers receive a new lease on living - the opportunities for education, and simply being able to live life without the fear of war and all its atrocities - but the churches have been blessed as well, even with the challenges.

    You can read the full article here.

  • Refugees Are a Blessing to Canada

    Refugees are a blessing to Canada

    "Citizens for Public Justice" is a Canadian national organization of members inspired by faith to act for justice in Canadian public policy. Based in Ottawa, CPJ is a Christian voice for social and environmental justice. 

    Martha Wiebe is a CPJ Board member and Ottawa Mennonite Church member. She wrote this article to describe the church's experience of sponsoring refugees from around the world for nearly 40 years. 

  • Syrian Refugees Respond to Fort McMurray Evacuation

    Syrian refugee response to Fort McMurray firesSyrian refugees know what it is like to lose everything and can identify with the evacuated citizens of Fort McMurray, Alberta. That is why many Syrian refugees in Alberta are helping in whatever way possible. This Montreal Gazette article tells the story of what one such group of resettled refugees is doing in Calgary.

  • Varsity Bible Church

    After 3 years of praying for peace in Syria, the Saturday night congregation at Varsity Bible Church wondered what else they might be able to do. By the winter of 2014, pastor Rinus Janson and some others in the congregation began conversations through a connection they had with the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada. By Spring of 2015, the Saturday night congregation chose to pursue refugee sponsorship.

    VBC FamilyOn February 11, 2016 they welcomed Walid and Kefayat along with their 3 children at Calgary International Airport. The family, originally from Aleppo, fled to Beirut in August of 2014. 

    We have had probably the best experience I could have imagined.

    The Sijarzi's (Walid, Kefaya and three kids) are a delightful family that have worked hard at settling into a new land and culture.

  • When You Want to Experience a Love Story

    av familiesAnn Voskamp has a gift of putting to words the expressions of our hearts. This link will take you to her website and this particular entry in which she describes the way living our faith, loving people simply because they need loving, "being the arms of the Savior," and doing what we can to "move heaven and earth to let the broken in," will change us, our communities, our hearts.

    "Now, now, is the time for the Church to be the Church."

    We have a Strong God. We have a high calling. By God's grace, we can be what our world needs today, if we will step up, step out, and be the people of grace and hope God is calling us to be.

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