Frequently Asked Questions
Why are we sponsoring a refugee family?
After much prayer, the church has decided to come together to sponsor a family in desperate need of our assistance. It is possible that some people in our community are sceptical or afraid of inviting refugees into our community. Whether this describes you, or someone you know, or you just want to look into the justification of this sponsorship, then this is the sheet for you!
Question. What exactly are we doing?
Answer. Our initial task is to raise enough money to support the family for roughly one year - this is estimated to be $28,000. Once the family arrives, we are responsible for all of their basic needs, including language learning, education, and transportation. We will need to find somewhere for them to live and furnish their home, as well as provide weather-appropriate clothing. We will provide the family with a monthly allowance for food and living expenses to help them adjust to their new life in Canada. It is important that we are in tune to what they need every step of the way, whether we need to draw closer or give them more space, arrange accommodations, or support them in their personal endeavours.
Question. Why are we helping a refugee family when there are so many local issues such as homelessness?
Answer. As Christians we have a heart for all homeless and marginalized people. Many of our church have served at the Salvation Army and served our local homeless. At Burnett we make over 1500 sandwiches every month and hand out food and clothing to the homeless in Vancouver, as well Maple Ridge. Everyone and anyone can help with this. You are welcome to come and help us make sandwiches on the first Saturday of each month right after our church service at 6:30pm. However, our obligation to serve others does not end at the borders of Maple Ridge or Metro Vancouver - Jesus taught us to teach the Good News to all nations, and to show the love of God to everyone, both friend and enemy.
Deuteronomy 10:18-19 (NLT) “He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing. So you, too, must show love to foreigners, for you yourselves were once foreigners.”
Question. Why are we helping a Muslim family?
Answer. As Christians we believe that we should assist everyone who needs help, regardless of their beliefs. As we met and prayed about the family God wanted us to sponsor we decided to refrain from specifying what kind of family we wanted and let the leadership at Mennonite Central Committee match us with a family that they feel would be best. That led them to this family with special needs that came out of intense hardship. They have no past of violence and genuinely seek to live at peace. There have been over four million people displaced by the war in The Middle East. There are an additional three million people displaced by other wars around the world. This family of four has been persecuted since 2003. They had to flee their home in Iraq and are currently living under UN protection in Jordan. Resettlement in Canada is their best option, as they are unable to return home and they can’t stay where they are.
Matthew 25:35-40 (NLT) For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
Question. How do we know these people can be trusted?
Answer. All families applying for assistance are very carefully screened. Due to Canada’s physical distance from the camps, we have plenty of opportunity to check and re-check the legitimacy of their story, and to verify their true and immediate need. This is the screening process, as outlined by the Government of Canada:
- Immigration and security interviews are done by experienced visa officers
- Documents are verified and biometric and biographic information collected
- Health screening
- Identities confirmed on arrival
This is a process that all refugee families go through, whether they are publicly or privately sponsored. They have also been screened by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC).
If you have any other questions or concerns, or if you’d like to support the fundraising initiative in some way, please don’t hesitate to contact anyone on the Refugee Committee. We are all very excited that God is using us to make such a big impact in the lives of this family.
Todd Gallahar, Iris Robinson, Julie Meadows, Blair Garbutt, Virginia Kuran, Mike Wong, Taylor Robinson, Barry Waterman