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Meet one of the members of our community, Eva. During the Fall, she joined the Refugee Ministry and has actively participated since. Learn more about her experiences, past and present.  

There are 26 million refugees in the world according to a 2020 census. There have been various reasons throughout the ages why people have had to leave their homeland. My first encounter with refugees was when I was in early high school; one summer I was a volunteer English teacher to Chinese refugee children who escaped from Communist China to Hong Kong. We held classes on rooftops of residential buildings during the weekend. My next encounter was during the 1980s and 90s in Vancouver, working with the Vietnamese “Boat People” who left their country, mostly coming through refugee camps, and eventually arrived in Canada. I worked in community mental health at that time and was able to provide the service for this group of community members.

I have always participated in volunteer work since I was a child. Last year, I was finishing up with my last volunteer position with a local community organization that works with disadvantaged youth and families. Throughout my experience, I had the thought of working with refugees again. I encountered refugees from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Central Asia while I was working or doing volunteer work. I felt that I could become more familiar with this area of need and how I can contribute to the well being of our refugee community.

I decided to participate in the Tenth Refugee Support Ministry through my sister, who is an active Tenth member and introduced me to this program. I started with participating in Zoom gatherings (due to the pandemic) in October to get to know the other members of the group. In the beginning, it was like a cold call as I did not know many people. I did not know if I talked too much or too little. When small breakout groups were introduced, I liked the interactions we could have as each group was just 3 – 4. It was much easier to talk and express myself and I made some new acquaintances. I look forward to the day that our group can meet in person!

Later that month, I attended the Refugee Claimant Support Training Workshop sponsored by Journey Home Community. Although the workshop was condensed from a one-day event to a half-day (due to the pandemic and being a face-to-face workshop), it was full of information. The interactions between the participants and presenter made the workshop most interesting. I felt I learned and understood the experiences common to refugees and refugee claimants, as well as how the church and community groups can effectively welcome refugee claimant families.

I then decided to participate in the recent Rhythms Workshop on “Refugees – Invited In,” presented by Journey Home Community’s Executive Director, James Grunau. This presentation was again informative and it reinforced my understanding from the training last October. What impressed and stayed with me from this presentation was the last part regarding “Holistic Settlements for Refugees”. This should include housing, financial resources, spirituality, and belonging. I think this is also what all of us want and look for. Isn’t it?

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