On February 28, 2016 our church family (Many Rooms Church Community) gathered at the Winnipeg airport to meet the Syrian refugee couple that we had sponsored through MCC. Though we had not met before, our church family had spent much time praying about, preparing for and anticipating this day. In this way, we felt like we already knew each other.
I will never forget the frightened look on the wife’s face as she tried to be brave and put a smile on her travel-weary face. I remember feeling struck by her fear and thinking how afraid I would feel, if in her situation.
There were tears of gratitude and words of thanks shared.
Fast forward one year and it’s hard to believe that this successful, confident couple once showed any signs of uncertainty. Jamal and Waad have taken every opportunity to fast track themselves into productive Canadian life: volunteering, getting a job at the local halal butcher shop, studying English, navigating the driver’s licensing process, and, most recently, purchasing their own home. Their success can only be attributed to their own motivation and willingness to act on the small opportunities that we were able to provide them due to the generosity and openness of our church family.
Now, after a process of prayer and discernment, our church family has decided to move forward with sponsoring Waad’s immediate family to join us in Canada. Three more churches have graciously accepted our invitation to partner in this larger sponsorship venture of six people. I await the day of Waad’s family’s arrival with great anticipation, knowing that my joy will not come close to that of Jamal and Waad, who will be reunited with their family in a place of security and hope for the future.
But the joy extends to us, too, as we are blessed to include Jamal and Waad in our own family.