The first week of Dec I received a special message from Agnes who was in Grade 10 when we sponsored her family of 8 to come to Canada from a refugee camp in Zimbabwe in 2016.
“Hello Maryanne, Yesterday marked 5 years of us being in Saskatchewan! I still remember the day at the airport when you guys came to pick us up with Dana from MCC. With the weather freezing us, haha! We are forever grateful for everything you and the church did. I still remember when you took us to your house to bake cookies, they were delicious. We have come so far. “ – Agnes
I too have memories of that bitterly cold winter day when I got a surprise phone call letting me know that our sponsored family had arrived AND they were waiting at the airport for us to pick them up!! What a shock, as we had not received any notice of travel and had no home prepared for their arrival. I quickly gathered any warm clothing, mitts and boots I had around and sent a frantic email to our resettlement team before driving to the airport to meet this large family who had just landed in their new country and home.
The following weeks were a blur of appointments, paperwork, house hunting, school registration, meal prep and time spent getting to know Agnes and her family. They were so brave and optimistic and our resettlement team was amazing. The team worked so hard to provide a welcome place for them to settle and build a new life, and you as a church responded with gifts of clothing, furniture and helping hands. God provided in tangible ways as we worked together.
As I hear about their family now, I am reminded of how Agnes and her family are a living testimony of resiliency and faith in God. We have much to learn from them and families like them who are newcomers to Canada who have overcome great adversity and suffering at times.
I think of the years that Agnes and her family must have been waiting and hoping to one day find a country where they could rebuild their lives. Agnes graduated from high school in 2020 and has been pursuing her dream of becoming a pilot. One of her sisters is in University and another is applying for nursing, a brother has moved to another city to work as a mechanic, and the youngest is in grade 10 now!
Thank you Forest Grove for your generous gift of finances, time, love and welcome for this family and the 7 other families whom we have had the privilege to know through sponsorship over the past 10 years. May you be encouraged that God is present in the waiting in your life too, however big or small the challenge seems to be.
Thank you for your worship through giving to this years advent project to sponsor another family in 2022.
If you are interested in our next resettlement team to welcome a family sometime later in 2022 send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) for info!.