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laptop manMy first email from a refugee family seeking help came to my inbox in 2019.

At first, I had no idea why they would be contacting me - some random pastor in Canada - so I suspected it was some kind of scam. However, in the email they mentioned that they had been in contact with Susan Davis so I contacted her to confirm the legitimacy of the email I had received. When Susan confirmed the reality of their situation, I replied to the family - promising to share their story with my church board and congregation. I didn’t know if we could do anything tangible to help them, but I felt we should at least try to do something!

Over the next several months, I ended up emailing back and forth with this family on a fairly regular basis and even spoke with them in person on the phone. We exchanged photos of our families and we now email and pray for each other on a regular basis - we enjoy a great friendship!

Although our church has not yet gotten to the point of being able to sponsor them (or any other family) to come to Canada, this has spurred us to have many conversations on this topic. It is my hope and prayer, that as God works in the hearts of our congregants, that we will soon be able to move forward with sponsorship in some way.

Since that first email three years ago, I have received emails from more than 20 other refugee families from around the world - and I have tried to respond to each one. One of the things that struck me the most in these emails is how each of them had emailed so many churches looking for help - hundreds of churches even - but yet most families receive no more than two or three replies. This was so disheartening for me and I can only imagine how discouraging this would be to those families in such desperate need! This is why I do my best to reply to each family that emails the church looking for help. We certainly cannot sponsor each family - indeed, our church does not yet feel prepared to sponsor even one - but we can at least show the love of Christ by responding with a friendly email - offering our friendship and prayers.

One of the unexpected blessings that has come out of all this has been the impact on my own family! I love how my 14 year old son regularly prays for that first family that emailed us - without any prompting from me! My 16 year old daughter has also struck up a close friendship with the family’s 14 year daughter and they connect on social media almost daily. It’s such a joy to see the compassion of God displayed in my own kids!

- Pastor Dave, Penhold Church of Hope

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"I cannot do everything, but I must not do nothing."

- Baronness Caroline Cox

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