Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Room for More
Tomorrow morning I will be interviewed on CBC radio's Ontario Morning with an update on our United Syrian Family Support Belleville sponsorship. The Al Mansour family of five (above) has been with us for nine months now. The collaboration of three United Church congregations, the Belleville mosque and other community partners has been a wonderful experience of faith in action. We have learned from the Al Mansours that other members of their family are living in camps and we agreed to at least endeavour to bring all eighteen of them to Canada.
We managed to apply for the whole fam damily after frantically pulling together the paperwork in 24 hours when the federal government provided a surprise one-day window to do so at the end of March. All were vetted and approved with an estimate that March 2017 would be the timeline for the first arrivals.
Since then St. Joseph's Roman Catholic parish has joined our sponsorship group after their prospective Syrian family was turned down in Turkey. While this was hugely disappointing for them --they fundraised and rented an apartment -- they feel that God has brought us together in this important initiative.
How true this has turned out to be. We have just learned that the first arrivals will be during the week following Thanksgiving, fittingly. After we recovered from the initial shock we realized that the St. Joe's folk are ready to go with the first family. The apartment they rented is down the hall in the same apartment building as the Al Mansours, which is, well, providential!
In addition, this week the Belleville 100 Men Who Care group chose our sponsorship out of twenty worthy causes to be the recipients of $11,000.
Please pray for us as we welcome these Syrians as new Canadians. We do feel that God was been at work in our undertaking, and we've really just begun.