This Week at St. Stephen’s: “NeST” [May 6th, 2018]

We are coming to the end of the year of our official sponsorship of the Al Jbawi family, refugees from the civil war in Syria. Along with members from St. Paul’s Church and the Cathedral Church of the Redeemer, our coordinating committee (the Newcomer Settlement Team, or NeST) has helped the family find housing and settle into their new life in Canada.

The NeST members have enjoyed getting to know the family—the parents, Khalil and Kholoud, and their four children, Ahmed (16), Ayman (14), Layan (9), and Arjowan (7)—and feel privileged to have been so intimately a part of their lives this past year.

They have been inspired by Khalil and Kholoud’s heroic efforts to learn English (Kholoud is consistently at the top of her class); Khalil’s part-time employment at a restaurant, until opportunities open up in his field of cabinetmaking; the children’s unique and flourishing personalities, and their progress in school; and the family’s adoption of such classic Canadian activities as cycling, cross-country skiing, and perhaps even hunting and fishing.

The family’s resilience and ambition have deeply impressed the NeST members, not only their harrowing flight from Syria to a refugee camp in Jordan, but also their determination to overcome all obstacles and embrace their new life here in Canada.

This Sunday, the Al Jbawi family will join us during our coffee hour after church. They have come a long way to be with us. Please come out and meet this impressive family—and wish them well.

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