In contrast, the pictures we have of Welcome Home residents look like any other multicultural Canadian - drinking coke in the park, camping in the wilderness, eating meals around a crowded table. I struggle with this, because I wish a picture could portray what I see at Welcome Home.
- I see refugees doing laundry every day because the clothes they’re wearing are all they have. (Did you know our African marathoner has proudly worn his Ride 4 Refugees shirt daily since he got it?)
- I see the “deer in the headlights” look on their faces when they first arrive, and how a safe place to sleep and a community to share life with changes that so quickly.
- I see the depression and anxiety that many struggle with- the weather, the separation from family and culture and home, financial woes, wrestling with the English language and waiting for resident status, work permits…
- I see the long journey to emotional and physical wholeness, often with 2 steps forward and 1 step back, which many have to take. Lack of medical and dental care, prison, extortion, rape, kidnapping, torture, fleeing for their lives, betrayals, watching their family be killed, bombings- all these traumas are hidden behind the "smile for the camera!" faces of the courageous refugees who live at Welcome Home.
Let me try one:
Unfortunately, no one can restore what a refugee has lost personally, culturally and relationally as they begin their new life in Canada.
Fortunately, we can invite 15 refugees at a time to live in safety and community, sharing the love of Jesus who Himself promises to make all things new!