Two and a half years after taking our first steps into refugee ministry, we are pleased to announce that we have taken on an additional sponsorship. Much like our first sponsorship, this is something that we did not anticipate getting involved in but when we heard about this case, the urgency behind it, and the willingness of key volunteers to get involved, we were quickly convinced that this was something we needed to commit to.
About a month ago the agency that we used for our previous sponsorship, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC)—an agency with a 90 year track record of resettling refugees—contacted us with the request that we sponsor a 20 year old, single, male refugee originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo. MCC informed us that Immigration Canada had deemed this case as highly urgent for two reasons: the young man has epilepsy and he has no family to assist him when he has seizures or otherwise help him with his medical care. Our agency also reminded us that in his region epilepsy is still often seen as the work of witchcraft or an unclean spirit meaning that the young man is likely treated as a social pariah. A life in Canada will allow him to receive both the medical treatment he needs and the community he needs to experience a much higher quality of life.
Before committing to sponsorship, we wanted to be confident that we were well suited to help this young man find success in Canada. For that reason we laid out 3 criteria that we needed to be met before we said yes: we needed a volunteer willing to oversee his medical care, we needed a person or family willing to take him in under a room and board scenario, and we needed to find a doctor willing to take him on as a patient. Remarkably, within 2 hours of setting these criteria each one was met. A lady from the church, who has a 20 year old grandson with epilepsy, committed to overseeing his medical care, a couple from a different church in town generously offered to provide room and board, and a doctor—originally from South Africa where the young man is currently living—agreed to take him on as a patient.
With our major criteria met we decided to proceed with a sponsorship. We have now filed the requisite paperwork and expect his arrival in the next 4-10 weeks. The next key step along the way is to fundraise. Our fundraising objectives include raising money for: room and board, medical costs—including uncovered portions of medicine and travel for out of town specialists, travel loan, and other monthly costs (bus pass, etc). Fortunately the generosity from our previous sponsorship means that we have already raised a significant portion of these costs. The portion that remains for our 12-month sponsorship is $7,000.
How to Donate:
If you would like to donate there are several different ways you can do so. If you are in Nanaimo, you can come to our building with cash or cheque or you can donate by debit. If you are out of town and would still like to contribute you can mail us a cheque or send an e-transfer to Neighbourhoodchurch@gmail.com. However you are donating please ensure that you specify that this is for our refugee project (write on the memo line on cheques or make a note on your e-transfer). A donation can also be made through Canada Helps (select the donate tab on the homepage of our website)—however we would ask that this option be used as a last resort as Canada Helps takes a percentage of donations for administrative costs. If donating via Canada Helps please leave a note in the message section indicating that the donation is for refugee sponsorship. All donations over $20 are eligible for a tax receipt. We will be providing regular updates in order to let you know how close we are to our financial goal. If we exceed our goal, the additional funds will be put towards helping additional refugees.
More Sponsorship News:
We continue to delight in our friendship with our first sponsored family that celebrated 2 years of life in Canada in January. While they have received the gift of a new life of freedom and peace in Canada, they have blessed us with hospitality, warm friendship, and a reminder of what really matters most in life. 14 months ago
we filed paperwork for a sponsorship that will reunite the husband/father with our sponsored family. The chaos and violence of their home country caused the family to become separated for approximately 5 years. For much of that time the family that is here and the husband/father did not even know if the other(s) were still alive. We are grateful for his safety and the ability to help reunite this family. We ask for your prayers that the reunification will happen soon as they have lived apart for too long.