May 2016 Safehaven Update

by Gary Stevenson

Safehaven: Refugee Sponsorship Group is pleased to announce our progress to date. We formed in mid February and had our first fundraiser earlier this week with the Choral Musaic concert at Mark Isfeld School. There were approximately 600 in the audience and 250 choir members and the event was sensational, a real “feel good” evening with children and adults alike. Admission was by donation at the door and we also had a separate table for information and direct donations to Safehaven. Gary Stevenson has a brief address to the audience and 22 more people signed our informational email list. We had jewellery sales and lemonade sales to augment the donations. After costs for the concert our net donationwas 4300.00, and when combined with donations from several congregations our total is now approximately8000.00 or ¼ of the way towards our target of 32,000.00 dollars. We are extremely grateful to the choirs, and the audience members for their confidence in our hope of saving at least 1 family from the Middle East. We are also very grateful to you, our congregations, who support us financially, spiritually and emotionally. We are truly blessed.

We are also pleased to announce that we have entered into an understanding with a Kurdish-Iraqi family, a mother, father and 4 year old child. The parents have been on the run since 2003, trying to escape the oppression of the Saddam Hussein reign of terror. Being Kurdish in Baghdad was a death sentence so they fled and moved from city to city dodging extremists, fundamentalists and ISIS. They are currently living in Beirut and live in fear of Hezbollah, an extremist and violent Shi’ia group funded mostly by Iran. They are being “allowed” to live where they are, in a rundown apartment that they have to pay rent for, but they are not allowed to work and they live in complete fear of the late night knock at the door that often means kidnapping or disappearance as has happened to so many before. They are seeking asylum in Canada and are waiting for their U.N. Refugee certification which should be imminent. We intend to apply under the family reunification program the Canadian Government has announced, whereby they will help with sponsorship of families that already have family members in Canada. This particular family has a brother in law and family in Comox and likewise, a brother in law and family in Calgary. This makes the transition to Canadian culture much easier for the sponsored family and lessens the hardships they may experience assimilating. The husband speaks passable English while his bride is learning. We feel led to this family by circumstance, coincidence and compassion. The journey however is far from over, as this process could still take up to a year. We thank you for your continued support and are reminded that Jesus, Mary and Joseph were also refugees, fleeing from the tyranny of King Herod. Thank you.