Refugee family meets supporters at Parksville’s Ascension Church

MP calls congregation’s efforts an “inspiring story for all Canadians”

Toma, his wife Sahar and their two-year-old daughter, Angel, finally met the congregation from the Church of the Asencion that helped them come to Canada to start a new life.

It was a joyful moment for the family, who prior to coming here, had lived in an Iraqi refugee camp before escaping to Lebanon. They arrived here in Parksville on April 17, but only got to meet their sponsors at the Sunday morning mass April 22. They received a heartwarming and welcoming applause after they were introduced by Father Mike Favero.

The family hardly speak a word of English but their gratitude could be felt from the embraces they imparted to different people who came to greet them and welcome them to Parksville.

Sahar, whose smile was hard not to notice, said in the few English words that she knows, “I am so happy.”

The young Angel, with her curly locks and wide eyes, stole the hearts of many in the church. At first she was somewhat overwhelmed by the many members who approached to talk to her, but it didn’t take long for her to warm up to people, some of whom brought presents.

Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns came to the church to greet and meet the family. The congregation thanked Johns for his assistance but he passed the credit to his staff, who he said, did most of the work to help accelerate the arrival of the family, which had been waiting for three years. He commended the congregation from the Church of Ascension for supporting the family.

“You are making a huge difference,” Johns told the congregation. “There are over 70 million people that are displaced right now in the world. I was just in Palestine at a refugee camp, seeing people and the challenges they are facing. You are changing lives and making the world a better place.”

John also describes it as “a wonderful story.”

“It’s about community,” said Johns. “Our job as politicians is to lift the champions in our community. Inspiring people that are involved with the church that came together. The hard work of this group is really an inspiring story for all Canadians to see what can be done. That we can all make a difference not just in your home but around the world.”

Sandi Digras, the church’s refugee committee president, despite looking tired from making sure the new family is nicely settled and looked after, expressed relief and joy.

“It’s been three years and they’re finally here,” said Digras. “I am so happy that it has finally happened. The hard work everyone has put into bringing them here was inspiring and commendable.”

Also present was a Syrian refugee family from Port Alberni, who have been in the country now since 2016. They were brought to Vancouver Island by the Port Alberni Refugee Sponsorship Committee.

Send story tips to:

Just Posted

BC Hockey to improve concussion care for players

BC Hockey has partnered with HeadCheck Health Inc. to establish standardization, and… Continue reading

Nanoose farm hopes to be more agriculturally transparent

Goal is to have new barn open to the public by spring of 2019

Teens premier Beauty and Beast Jr. Aug. 16 in Qualicum Beach

Outgoing and up-and-coming actors detail benefits of teen program

Drug-busted building in Parksville declared a ‘nuisance property’

RCMP has attended 354 Island Hwy. West 86 times since 2007

UPDATE: 5 injured in plane crash following Abbotsford International Airshow

One in critical condition in incident involving vintage plane

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

RCMP to search for body after man drowns in B.C.’s Buntzen Lake

Officers and fire crews responded but the man from the Lower Mainland is believed to have drowned.

Police chiefs call for stricter controls on pill presses to fight opioids

Canada’s police chiefs are urging Ottawa to beef up its fight against the opioid scourge by closely vetting people who import pill presses

Victoria police say explicit calls continue to target women

Over 50 reports of unwanted, sexually explicit calls have come in

Four-hour ferry delay on Buckley Bay-Denman Island route

BC Ferries reported the cable ferry is experiencing issues with the head shieve.

‘It’s like a party in your mouth’

B.C. creator’s Milkshake Burger makes its debut at the PNE

Vehicle catches fire near Vancouver Island provincial park

Fire shut down Highway 4 in both directions

Most Read