We are convinced that one of the things God planned for us as a church was to help refugee families who have fled their homeland because of war and violence to be able to find new, safe homes in Canada.
In February 2016, we welcomed the 11-member Gurunian family from Syria. We have been able to celebrate with them as they’ve reached exciting milestones, including financial independence, and become an integral part of the GT family and of the community.
We knew God had more for us to do, so in December 2016, GT applied to sponsor a second family. We learned about Sabah and Sawsan, their son Iven, and daughter Maryana (below), through connections with a church in Amman, Jordan.
Sabah & Sawsan come from Iraq - the homeland of Abraham, the setting for the stories of Esther, of Daniel in the lions’ den, of Jonah, of Shadrach Meshach and Abednego, of so much Biblical and world history. Since the Day of Pentecost, Christianity has been well-established in Iraq.
Unfortunately, throughout their lifetime, Sabah and Sawsan have known war and violence and have seen the brutal persecution of Christian and Jews across Iraq. Sabah personally experienced car bombs at his job, being followed, and his life being threatened! At one point, this little family was forced to flee from one city to another with ISIS just behind them.
Finally, Sabah and Sawsan decided to make a break for Jordan, as they saw the effects of all this stress on little Iven and Maryana. God protected them on their way to Jordan, though others had lost their lives in similar circumstances.
Since 2014, when they arrived in Jordan, Sabah and Sawsan have not been legally allowed to work. They find Christian fellowship and encouragement at the Assemblies of God Church in Amman. This church, and Pastors Dikran and Ani Salbashian, have a long, long history of helping people fleeing violence, in Jesus’ Name. It was them who reached out to Glad Tidings about a potential sponsorship for this family.
After we submitted the sponsorship application to the Canadian Government, Pastor Salem began calling the family regularly, encouraging them, and praying with them. We also began sending some funds to them in Jordan so they could start learning English. We know the language barrier may be the single largest hurdle for newcomers attempting to successfully settle in Canada.
Though the government immigration process slowed down significantly in 2017, we are grateful that they were finally accepted to come to Canada after an interview on Jan. 29, 2018. This is a wonderful answer to prayer!!
There are still steps the family needs to walk through, like medical screenings, so we don’t have a definite arrival date, and delays are always possible. Sawsan encourages her husband with these words, “Surely the Lord who has been faithful to bring us this far, will complete his plans for us.” Keep praying! Our God is great!
If you would like to send a note to the family, please contact Pastor Salem (firstname.lastname@example.org). It would be a great encouragement to them.