On Tuesday, November 8, 2016 while most were glued to their TV sets watching the U.S. election, six members of our Refugee Committee from Central Baptist Church and Kings Community Church were anxiously awaiting the arrival of our sponsored refugee family of six. It was 6:30 p.m. when their plane landed but it was past 10:00 p.m. by the time they cleared customs.
From the airport, we all made our way back to pastor Michel's home to settle in for their first night in Canada. Since then there has been a whirlwind of activity. On Wednesday we took them shopping for groceries. On Thursday it was meetings with settlement workers. Friday we took the family to the DAR Foundation for Friday Prayers, and then to an evening celebration at Pastor Michel's home (catered by Shamyat Middle East Cuisine) with members of the Refugee Committee along with our dedicated translators Amne, Ruba and Shireene. Saturday, it was doctor's appointments for the family and vaccines for the kids followed by an afternoon of playing in the leaves. Sunday was a day of rest. Monday was a dentist appointment for dad and eldest daughter. Tuesday was spent at the audiologist with dad and eldest son. Wednesday the family visited the temporary accommodations in Oakville where they will stay starting next week until the end of December; in January they will move into their own home in Oakville. On the Wednesday they also received their cell phone and together we managed to set it up for Arabic and downloaded the IMO video app. The excitement on their faces and in their voices as they connected via video link with their family and friends back at the Za'atari Refugee Camp in Jordan was priceless. A wonderful moment of joy amidst a traumatic week of disorientation and instability.
Thank you all for your continued generous support through prayers, donations and the investment of time into this incredibly resilient family that we now call friends. A special word of appreciation to our committee members, drivers, translators, and volunteers who have participated in this whirlwind journey of the past week. Please continue to pray for the family as they deal with the trauma of resettlement.
- Michel Belisle, Lead Pastor Central Baptist Church, Oakville, ON