Bible study for non-literate women
Some were fast-tracked for medical reasons and arrived with disabilities or injuries requiring extra medical attention. Some have experienced additional family trauma since arriving above the challenges of adjusting to Canadian culture and weather.
Through all this, sponsorship teams are rising to the challenge! Even now, some churches are ready to reach out again. We haven’t resolved major issues of conflict or made much headway towards world peace, but this is us modelling Jesus right now in a torn-up world and turbulent culture.
Resettlement in Canada: EMC survey responses
In a few words, what was your biggest surprise or greatest challenge in sponsoring a refugee family?
"Lovely family, requires very committed team. We are delighted at how much fun we can have together despite the language barrier. We have been taken off guard a few times at the vastness of the cultural divide when communicating."
"Understanding the culture."
"The biggest surprise—the willingness to come to church and openness to talking about Christianity."
"Greatest challenge has been in navigating some differing views and opinions of people involved in the process on our side. Some of the harder questions have been around cultural sensitivity, how to best help the family, limited resources available where we are in a rural location."
"The greatest challenge was to get a family here."
"I think that the language barrier has been our greatest challenge although are working hard and progressing in English."
"Our greatest challenge was the domestic abuse and government agency involvement."
"The amount of time/people needed for adequate support."
"We are still waiting for our family even though our application was accepted a year ago."
"We were surprised by how well this couple is adjusting and how open they are to friendship. The language barrier presents a challenge at times."
"That more people didn’t get involved."
"A huge challenge was mental health issues related to the stress of their refugee experience, including bombing deaths of family members. Trying to help a family who has experienced trauma and separation from family members and we do not have the language nor an interpreter with lots of time or connection."
"So many unknowns in regards to the situation we entered. Pleasantly surprised by our government worker being a Christian!"
"Knowing when we have done enough!"
"The cost of living in Canada."
*identifying details have been removed.
Note: To see more of our "Special Focus on Refugees" go to our 2017 Annual Report.
As churches in Canada, we have helped to welcome many immigrants into our communities, just as we were also welcomed many years before. We want to extend friendship and hospitality to all those who come to Canada. Please know that you are loved and welcomed.
- The Churches of the EMC
To get more from The Messenger, use both the print/online and website editions, all free to EMCers.
There are six print issues and six website-format editions in 2017. Together, they provide more information than last year; separately, they provide less.
The Messenger is free of charge in an enhanced electronic version at the electronic magazine database service Issuu. at https://issuu.com/emcmessenger. On Android or IOS, search the app store for the free Issuu app (Issuu: A World of Magazines). Once downloaded, open the app and search for “The EMC Messenger.”
The Messenger will begin a six issue print cycle with increased quality in January, March, May, July, September, and November.
The Messenger has launched a new website at www.emcmessenger.ca. Content is made available weekly (editorials, lead articles, church news updates, missions news, job listings, and more). The website will be optimized for desktop, mobile and tablet viewing, and will be integrated with the EMC’s social media.
Much is changing here during 2017. Join us in this next stage in the life of The Messenger.
The fifth annual Polar Bear Marathon in Churchill, Man., was once again an exciting experience.
Twenty-four runners were trying to figure out how they would manage in the cold. The atmosphere was full of suspense. It was hard to get their attention and communicate the importance of staying in a group of two or three runners near the accompanying vehicle. The excitement mounted. Will there be bears? The road was sleek with ice.
Two highlights for me were the awards dinner and the race’s documentary. It is always great to see runners share about their experiences at the dinner table. To introduce 24 runners and present them with awards, medals, and gifts (T-shirts, a soapstone bear carving, books and certificates) is a great pleasure. The Run the North documentary captures stories of runners, especially those of Tadoule Lake as it relates to their history with Churchill. At a premiere screening in the Churchill school, with about 110 viewers, the feedback was positive. One lady remarked to me, “The marathon is way more than just a marathon.”
What is the purpose of this crazy Polar Bear Marathon?It is a charity marathon in support of the Athletes in Action (AIA) work done in the Sayisi Dene First Nations community of Tadoule Lake, 250 kms west of Churchill. This work is dependent on volunteers and donations.
The Marathon has other “spin-off” effects like the networking of international runners and attracting many media producers. The real purpose is that of a Christian ministry. As an AIA/Power to Change staff member I am conscious of my calling to help other runners spiritually. Our mission statement reads, “Helping people know Jesus and experience His Power to Change the world.” Our faith statement includes, “The Lord Jesus Christ commanded all believers to proclaim the gospel throughout the world and to disciple men and women of every nation.”
How do we as Christians live out that directive? I found myself standing in the midst of 45 running crew and runners at the dinner table. I had prayed about this opportunity and prepared my notes. The Lord granted me peace and calm because I was obeying His voice and I sensed a lot of people were praying for me.
I shared what Jesus means to me and how my faith helps me and directs my life. I handed out my Christian book about running—Sand in my Shoes.
I want to speak up for Jesus at the opportune time and love, care, and pray for people. The Lord will take it from there. He is the One who gives life, who came to seek and save that which is lost.
- Albert Martens
Albert Martens (Steinbach EMC) is an EMC missionary serving with Athletes in Action.