I love to listen to CBC radio when I’m driving. One Sunday not long ago, Cross Country check-up asked Canadians their opinions on accepting refugees from Syria. An hour before, I had listened to a special news report on the ethical and moral problems faced by peaceful countries like Canada as they consider how to help the wave upon wave of refugees coming out of war torn countries like Syria. I was reminded of the boat people after the Viet Nam war. The 1200 refugees that Canada has promised to receive this time seems just a drop in this ocean of desperate people. Can we do better? Should we do better?
Callers expressed views on both sides of this issue. One phone call, from a former Viet Nam boat person touched my heart. She spoke of her gratitude to her adopted country. She talked of her willingness to work at any job when she arrived. She stated that her children had become highly educated valuable Canadian citizens. She said with pride, “Our country can take many more than 1200.”
Yes, we have fears, fears centering around employment. We believe there aren’t enough jobs for our own people. Yet, last year Canada employed 300,000 people on temporary work permits. There are jobs for refugees in Canada. We need to remember that most of our ancestors were immigrants and refugees. Without them, we would not have been born here
We are called to share our blessings. To sponsor a refugee is work. It requires fundraising to set up a family in this country and care for them until they have become acclimatized and learned the language. And that is only one part of the commitment. Refugee families need support such as friendship, teaching, loving for at least a year and often longer. But there are groups – like churches who are doing it.
Canadians who have been sponsors in the past know that bringing refugees to our country can be wonderful, difficult, fun, and frustrating and always a learning experience. WE KNOW WE CAN DO IT, IF WE CHOOSE.
Keep on loving one another as Christians. 2 Remember to welcome strangers in your homes. There were some who did that and welcomed angels without knowing it. (Hebrew’s 13:1-2)