Thursday, November 25, 2010


Anneke Kaai Ps 62
It’s now three years since I started sharing my life with refugees at Welcome Home, a good time to reflect on what I’m trying to accomplish. If I think in most basic terms, it’s providing a warm bed and a safe place to live. In addition, it’s creating a community around each refugee to share their settlement journey. This includes the staff at Welcome Home, but increasingly, it also includes you- the faith community in Waterloo Region and beyond, who pray, give, cook, clean, paint, organize a party, become a Canadian friend, etc.

If I look beyond mere survival, it’s learning English, finding a church home, and linking with volunteer opportunities to build a Canadian resume for that elusive job… which leads to self-sufficiency, educational opportunities and so on. That would be success. Many refugees call Canada Paradise, and we could mistakenly believe that living here in freedom and relative prosperity is the greatest gift we could offer a refugee.

There’s a monkey wrench or two which have recently been thrown into my drive to succeed! Many refugees are facing a very uncertain future due to Canada’s changing attitude toward refugees. In the past year, we’ve done “exit interviews” with 4 refugees and several dearly loved friends are even now facing impending deportation orders.

It’s this very uncertainty that has caused me to re-evaluate what success looks like, and come to a much better goal, I believe. You see, none of us is guaranteed a perfect, lovely life. And, in light of this uncertainty, we ALL need an anchor which doesn’t change.

Let me quote from a hymn, In Christ Alone, which has been one of MY mainstays in the past two years:

From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Could ever pluck me from His hand.
Til He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I stand!

We’re so privileged to share Jesus, the greatest Treasure we could ever find with each and every refugee who comes to Welcome Home! No matter where life takes them, no matter what the future holds, Jesus will be with them. When we can prayerfully share this amazing truth, THAT spells success!