Refugee Sponsorship Ministry

Update from the Refugee Sponsorship Committee 

 

 

Our second sponsored family – July 2020

Since November 2019 West Vancouver Baptist Church has been supporting a second Refugee Claimant family introduced to us by Journey Home, a Christian organization that assists Refugee Claimants in BC. The family of four fled their home country in South America and arriving in Canada in October.

Through the grace of God we were able to find them a furnished suite on the North Shore close to shops, transit, and neighbourhood schools.  It was gratifying to witness the generosity of our congregation – and the family’s landlords – as we equipped the family with winter clothing and additional household items, including toys and a bicycle for the children. A food drive was held to supply them with staples, other groceries were provided as needed, and family outings were arranged. The family loves the home we have provided for them and enjoys living on the North Shore.

The family has settled in well considering the impact of COVID-19. The Refugee Committee members continue to meet with them in a safe manner. All ESL classes have been cancelled due to the Coronavirus; however, the parents and children continue to improve their English as much as possible. The 11-year old began attending school and the family joined us for Sunday worship – until the Coronavirus put a stop to both school and our Sunday services in March. Nevertheless, on June 14, Refugee Sunday, the family spoke to the congregation during the worship service on Zoom. They told why they left their homeland and their feelings of lostness until receiving a welcome from Journey Home and West Vancouver Baptist Church.

Refugee Claimants usually have a long road ahead of them before they know whether they will be allowed to stay in Canada or not. After making a formal claim to stay in Canada in January 2020 the family is waiting for their Refugee Claimant hearing which we hope will occur within the next twelve months. The family is receiving financial assistance from the BC provincial government and West Vancouver Baptist Church.

The goals for the family for this year are to improve their English, to gain employment skills, and to find work.

We are grateful to God for the opportunity to walk alongside this family in friendship and love as they gradually adapt to life in Canada. Please pray for them, that they will feel supported, and that ultimately their claim to stay in Canada will be approved.


Update on our first family – June 2019

We continue to maintain contact with our first family although our formal sponsorship has ended. The family is coping very well considering the impact of the Coronavirus. The father is currently looking for employment which is hard to find at present. On July 1, 2020 the family celebrated their second Canada Day; they are grateful for the support provided by West Vancouver Baptist Church and for our great country.

Our first sponsored family

West Vancouver Baptist Church has been blessed to sponsor a Refugee Claimant family through our partnership with Journey Home, a Christian organization that assists Refugee Claimants in BC. Inspired by God’s love, Journey Home welcomes Refugee Claimants into our community by partnering with churches who provide housing, settlement support, and relational care to needy families.

Our family was being persecuted in their home country and arrived in Vancouver in Fall of 2018. The identity of our family is being protected to ensure the safety of their family back home. We helped the family by providing them with food, transportation and groceries. We have found them an apartment to live in (which is a huge challenge in the current real estate market), and have helped them move in with the furnishings donated by the church. Most important, we have been able to provide them with friendship, love and guidance.   The family is now settled in the Lower Mainland and is doing well. The children are attending school and the mother is learning English. The family is healthy and they truly appreciate the help and love they have received.

What are refugee claimants?
Refugee Claimants (aka Asylum Seekers) are, by definition, already in Canada, having fled their homes often with only a plastic bag of belongings or the clothes they are wearing. Such families do not come here by choice; they are escaping persecution and are in desperate need of help.

Because Refugee Claimants are processed through a different immigration stream from refugees who apply from abroad, claimants are not queue jumpers and are not taking the place of refugees who are coming to Canada from abroad for resettlement.

What can you do to help?
Please pray for our family, that the father will find work as they seek to be contributing members of our society, and that they will thrive, be happy and live in safety.
Please pray for the thousands of refugees who arrive in BC every year.
Please pray that the Refugee Committee members will continue to have strength and wisdom and be guided by God’s love.
Please pray our church will continue to love our neighbour and glorify Christ.

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Matthew 25:35)


September 2018:
We were notified Aug 31, 2018 that the family we had hoped to sponsor from Syria have been relocated to Norway.  We are disappointed they are not coming to Vancouver but rejoice that they will live in freedom and peace.  Therefore, WVBC is pleased to announce that we shall be sponsoring a Refugee Claimant family. For this we are excited to be working with Journey Home Community, a Christian organization that assists Refugee Claimants in BC. Inspired by God’s love and in partnership with churches Journey Home welcomes Refugee Claimants into community by offering housing, settlement support, and relational care.

Journey Home believes that all people are made in the image of God and respects and affirms the value of each individual irrespective of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.

Refugee Claimants (aka Asylum Seekers) are, by definition, already in Canada, having fled their homes often with only a plastic bag of belongings or the clothes they are wearing. Such families are in desperate need of help.

Because Refugee Claimants are processed through a different immigration stream from refugees who apply from abroad Claimants are not queue jumpers and are not taking the place of refugees who are coming to Canada from abroad for resettlement.

WVBC looks forward to welcoming and supporting a family in need.

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Matthew 25:35).


October 2017:
We are pleased to announce that through contacts in our own congregation, together with help from Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, we have found a Syrian family of four whom we hope to sponsor. The family currently lives in Lebanon after fleeing from their home in northern Syria, and they are now applying to the Canadian government for refugee status. We hope a decision will be made by June 2018. We pray for the family’s well-being, that their application for immigration will be approved by the Canadian Government, and that we will be able to welcome them here in 2018.


May 12, 2017:
Syrian Family update: Although no longer in the headlines the Syrian civil war continues, innocents are being killed, families are still fleeing, and the need is still acute. Since 2011 more than 5 million Syrians have fled their country – a further 6 million are internally displaced. Canadian Baptists of Western Canada (CBWC) has allocated a family of four to WVBC for sponsorship and is currently looking for a Christian family in Lebanon who are refugees from Syria. We hope to receive details about a possible family within the next month. Please pray that a family may soon be found for us to bless.


February 2017:
We were very sad to learn recently that the Syrian family we had expected to welcome to Canada had their refugee application rejected by the Canadian government. We continue to pray for them, that they will find a place to call home very soon and we trust that God is even now preparing this for them.

We also continue to believe that God has called us to sponsor a Syrian refugee family. To this end we have applied to Canadian Baptists of Western Canada (our Sponsorship Agreement Holder) for a new family to support; we hope to receive a positive response by March 31, 2017.

We have much to be thankful for. During the past year:

  • we formed a committee which is passionate and enthusiastic in its desire to support a refugee family
  • we have received enough donations of gifts-in-kind to furnish a two-bedroom apartment
  • we have been blessed by the very generous donation from BigSteelBox of a container in which we are storing all the household goods
  • we reached out to the congregation and community with appeals and fund-raising events which means we have very nearly reached our goal of $50,000 to support a family for a year

November 26, 2016:
Please join us at West Vancouver Baptist Church on Saturday November 26, 7-9pm for a wonderful evening of Christmas-themed comedy and music. Hosted by our Syrian Family Fundraising Committee, Laugh Again Christmas features award-winning Canadian author and speaker, Phil Callaway, known for his humorous yet perceptive look at life. Through his gift of storytelling Phil will share a message of hope, healing, and encouragement and remind us of the true meaning of Christmas. He will be joined by acoustic guitarist Jay Calder. Phil’s weekly radio program Laugh Again is broadcast across North America and the UK (and can be heard locally on KARI radio at AM550). Back to the Bible and Compassion Canada have teamed up to bring Phil’s Christmas show to audiences across Canada. Tickets are $20 and available at West Van Baptist Church (604 922 0911) or the Eventbrite link below. A portion of the ticket price will help support the Syrian Family sponsored by West Van Baptist. In addition, this event will feature a presentation by Compassion Canada, highlighting the ways that people can help release children from poverty around the world. Come yourself – and bring your friends. Please note that the show is most suitable for an adult audience of 18 and over.

July  6, 2016:
Thank you to the many people who have donated money and gifts-in-kind, or who have volunteered their time.  We are now just over halfway to our goal of $50,000.Like many other Canadians we were deeply moved by the predicament of people fleeing from the Syrian civil war and felt called to action. Our inspiration has been Christʼs example of compassion, mercy and grace, and the Biblical injunction to “Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy.” (Psalm 82:3-4)In addition, we would welcome and encourage our church neighbours and the public to partner with us.Our goal is to raise $50,000 – and we are grateful to be almost half-way there!We look forward to welcoming the family and partnering with them as they transition into Canadian life. We recognize that leaving their home country requires an enormous amount of courage and a huge adjustment on their part. In turn we pledge to be loving, patient, supportive, flexible, and sensitive to the cultural differences and to their needs as unique human beings, made in God’s image.We believe we are following Christ’s teaching to love our neighbour by helping this family to a better life.

  • The Lord God has told us what is right and what he demands: “See that justice is done, let mercy be your first concern, and humbly obey your God” (Micah 6:8)
  • Before 2011 Syria had a population of about 23 million. Since then more than 10 million people have fled their homes. Two thirds are internally displaced and the rest have sought refuge elsewhere.
  • Please get in touch with the church office (wvbc@westvanbaptist.com) if you would like to volunteer or have any questions. Your inquiry will be directed to the appropriate committee member. You may help us reach our financial goal by donating on-line: click on the Donate link above and choose Refugee Sponsorship Fund in the Donation Option.
  • Currently we are looking for volunteers to assist in fundraising, to help us pick up donated furniture, and to serve on the sub-committee which will help the family integrate into the community on their arrival. (The timing of their arrival is not yet known.) We are also accepting donations of money, furniture, and household goods.
  • We envision this endeavour engaging our whole congregation. Many of us attended the first meeting called by the Syrian Sponsorship Committee and were excited about working together on this great endeavour. Dozens of people put up their hands and committed their time and/or their money.

April, 2016:
West Vancouver Baptist Church is pleased to be sponsoring a Syrian Family. We are partnering with Canadian Baptists of Western Canada (which is a government Sponsorship Agreement Holder) under a Private Sponsorship arrangement. We have undertaken to support a family of four for one year: they are a young Christian couple with an 11-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son.