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Leila arrived in Canada as a young woman, alone, and her first experiences were not ones of kindness or compassion.

She was sent to a homeless shelter where she spent three weeks, terrified, confused, and very alone.  She couldn't sleep at night due to the disruptions in the mixed-gender dormitory.  There were drugs everywhere around her.  After the first few weeks, she ran out of money and couldn't buy food.  No one seemed concerned about her, and no one gave her guidance on what she needed to do next.

Tenth Refugee Support heard about her situation, and a family from Tenth provided a place for her to live.  Ten days after settling in her new home, Mim, the refugee support coordinator, was going to a family camp on Thetis Island, and invited Leila to come along.

At the Christian camp, Leila was immediately enveloped into a caring community. She stayed in a cabin with one of the families who listened to her story and welcomed her as a member of the family.  An older woman took the time to help her overcome her fear of the water, and she tried swimming for the first time.  One of the teenage boys taught her how to ride a bicycle, also a first.  She spent a lot of time laughing around the dinner table, at the campfire, and especially when learning to line dance.  At every moment of the day, she had people surrounding her with kindness and compassion, and she described her situation as going "from hell to heaven on earth."

Lelia had such great memories of this camping experience that she told every newcomer how wonderful it was, and many more people showed a keen interest in participating.  As a result, three years later there is now a whole camp dedicated to newcomers specifically from the Tenth refugee community.  It's a place where they can feel dearly loved through the compassionate service of God's people.

Learn more about what Tenth is doing with welcoming newcomers

Help us stand with newly arriving refugees by donating to the Refugee Fund

When you give, choose to donate to the refugee fund, and all the funds raised in June will help support our newcomer friends go to camp.  Any extra funds will be allocated to our refugee settlement program. 

PS:  Because of the rich experience Leila had at camp, last year she chose to have her wedding at our First Camp exclusively for newcomers.  It was a time of pure celebration and hope, amid so much grief and loss in the Afghan community. This year, we will fully max out camp again with newcomers experiencing friendship and fun. 

With appreciation, 

Patrick, Mim and our core refugee team

NOTE: This story was originally shared in June 2022. The picture above is from the wedding.  No pictures of people were permitted at the wedding for everyone's safety.