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  • Reaching New Cultures

    May 01, 2017
                        
    In the past two years about half of our EMC churches have been involved in supporting a refugee family. Many families arrived having experienced trauma (some as a result of being captured or having family members killed).

    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."

    "Communication."

    "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.

    - EMC

    Note: To see more of our "Special Focus on Refugees" go to our 2017 Annual Report.