Love one another…by Lorie

Isaiah 21:14-15 (NLT) Bring water to these thirsty people, food to these weary refugees. They have fled from the terrors of battle.

Four years ago, Calvary answered the call to help address the plight of Syrian refugees.  We have seen God’s provision throughout our journey with them.  He is SO good!  I know it’s a long list but take a minute to read through just how much God has worked in all of this!

  1. God provided a settlement team to welcome our first Syrian family – a diverse team with many talents and connections and a heart for helping refugees. 
  2. God provided the resources and guidance to understand how to apply for a refugee family. God turned the darkness of the Syrian regime into light in us and through us. Isaiah 42:16 (NIV) I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.  These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.
  3. God provided us with the requisite intermediaries with the Canadian government – MCC (for 3 families) and World Renew (for 1 family) – who blessed us with their expertise.
  4. When we applied, we left it open-ended as to what type of family we would sponsor.  God blessed us with a warm, loving, hospitable family – Alia, and her youngest sons Diyaa & Ibrahim who arrived in Canada on December 31, 2015.
  5. God provided an Arabic interpreter who joined our team and has been invaluable.
  6. God moved the hearts of people to provide generous financial donations.
  7. God highlighted the opportunity for us to apply for funding from the United Church of Canada.
  8. God provided the donations of household goods.
  9. God provided safety for all of our refugees in the waiting.  We pray that none of them ever experience the horrors of war again.
  10. God provided the first home for Alia, Diyaa & Ibrahim and the opportunity to live in community with the Stretch family, becoming extended family.  This also helped to build their trust in our settlement team.
  11. God provided the English language instruction & tutoring.
  12. God provided the job opportunities for Diyaa & Ibrahim.
  13. God provided connections to the local Syrian community for the family.
  14. Through the Al Othman family, God has helped others in the community.
  15. God made the connection between the high school WCI’s desire to sponsor a refugee family and Calvary’s willingness to help, which resulted in a family of 6 being settled in Waterloo.
  16. God made the connection between Highview Community Church in Kitchener and Calvary resulting in the sponsorship of Mahmoud (Alia’s son), his wife Nour, and daughters Jinan and Haifaa.  After a wait of almost 2 years, they arrived in Canada on April 23, 2018 amid many happy tears!
  17. God has blessed all of us to get a taste (literally) of Syrian culture through Al Othman lunches at church with a traditional dance performance.
  18. Diyaa is blessed by marrying Salwa and expecting their first child in December – who will be Canadian!
  19. Jinan is blessed by the opportunity to start school this month because she came to Canada (and have Mrs. Maxwell as her teacher!).
  20. God provided Diyaa and Mahmoud with their own barbershop business and they have been able to hire others to work for them.  Definitely a success story!
  21. God moved the government to reduce the time living in Canada before applying for citizenship to 3 years.  We pray for Alia, Diyaa & Ibrahim’s applications to be processed.
  22. We are blessed to witness the Al Othman’s becoming more independent, with the settlement committee playing more of a friend and mentor role.
  23. God moved us to sponsor Alia’s daughter Douaa, husband Ahmad, daughter Kholoud, Jod & Maria and newborn son Omar, again in partnership with Highview Church.
  24. Only God could bring a missionary family to Calvary that actually knows Douaa’s family!  Out of the millions of refugees in Jordan!  They are walking alongside them which opens up another line of communication / assistance.
  25. God has answered our prayers for an expedited application due to Jod’s severe hearing impairment.  We expect them to come to Canada in a matter of months instead of years.
  26. Through us, God provided Mahmoud and Douaa with funds for medical care overseas.

We have been changed by the experience of settling the Al Othmans and our lives have been enriched. 

Luke 6:38 (TPT) Give generously and generous gifts will be given back to you, shaken down to make room for more. Abundant gifts will pour out upon you with such an overflowing measure that it will run over the top! Your measurement of generosity becomes the measurement of your return. 

When we love one another, we realize there is no “other”.  We are all part of God’s family.