When they arrived on Canadian soil here in Newfoundland, the two refugee families that we welcomed in Lewisporte had been through more terror, loss, hatred and fear than we could ever imagine.
- Lewisporte continues to welcome others: Refugee Outreach preparing to host Syrian and Iraqi families
Stepping off the plane in St. John’s or Gander, they were enveloped in more hospitality and safety and love than they could ever imagine.
That love, peace, security and hope surrounded them each and every day that they spent wrapped in this community’s caring embrace. From the very beginning, the Lewisporte Refugee Outreach Committee dreamed and planned for the details of inviting a Syrian family to our town and I am so grateful to have worked with such a compassionate and capable team.
A home was donated and you, in the town and in the surrounding communities, went to work filling it with furniture, handmade quilts, dishes, pots and pans and every possible thing a family would need. People were so generous that there was plenty more than necessity required and the family was overwhelmed with the abundance of love poured out in the provision of physical needs, emotional support and translation services.
During the very early stages of planning for the first family, the Pentecostal Church came on board to support a second family to ease the transition of both. Two families would be able to support each other in culture and language.
And so, you, the generous and caring people of Lewisporte went to work and set up a second apartment. It was also incredible to see the outpouring of generosity from smaller communities that couldn’t support a family on their own, but wanted to be part of the dream with us.
Together, we welcomed a second family and got eight new Canadian residents a fresh start in a new land full of hope and promise.
The Lewisporte Academy Staff worked hard to teach the children the basics of the English language and the love of school where they learned many subjects surrounded by new friends. Neither of our children had been to school before and were placed with their peers in Grade 2 and Grade 4. The staff and the tutors who worked with the children at home helped them become basically bilingual in a short period of time. Adult tutors spent hours at home and in the community teaching English reading, writing and conversation to the adults.
To all who helped, supported and encouraged the Moufleh and the al-Amed families, thank you. Your warm welcome and generosity gave them the foundation, stability and confidence to move into a bigger centre in Windsor, Ontario.
Like many Newfoundlanders, our families needed to move to the mainland in hopes of finding work and opportunity. They keep in touch, miss us all terribly, but are settling into their new neighbourhood, attending the mosque, and continuing to study the language and culture of being Canadian.
Thank you from Talika, Mohamad, Fatima, Rayane and Moussa and Alaa, Raneen and Lara for your extraordinary gifts of love!
Rev. Steph McClellan
Chair, Lewisporte Outreach Committee