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Ammar and Tara arrived in the United States in 2014 through the US Special Immigrant Visa program for Iraqis who have been persecuted because of their employment with Western humanitarian and development agencies.

As we celebrated the one-year anniversary of their arrival to the US a few years ago, Ammar shared his concern for his younger brother, Mustafa, who he described to be like a son due to their age difference of 12 years. He was a refugee in Turkey.

Ammar and Tara knew of a refugee sponsorship program that they thought might be a pathway for Mustafa, to resettle in Canada. To be considered, Mustafa would need family members or a group of people in Canada willing to sponsor his resettlement. Ammar and Mustafa have an aunt and cousin in Toronto. I connected them with the director of Christie Welcome Center in Toronto, an organization that facilitates such sponsorships.

Over the next two and a half years, every time I saw Ammar and Tara I would hear of a step in the communication and application process. Every time we spoke, Ammar would thank me for what I did. I would always say, “We know don’t what will happen; there are no guarantees.” Ammar would smile at my response and say, “I know, but you gave me hope.”

Fast forward two and half years to April 2018, when I received a phone call from Tara informing me that Ammar’s brother, Mustafa, had been approved for refugee sponsorship to Canada! We celebrated together over an Iraqi meal as Ammar and Tara began making plans to travel with their two young daughters to meet Mustafa at the Toronto airport.

He arrived in Toronto June 7! It was a joy for me to join them in Toronto a couple days after Mustafa's arrival to celebrate this wonderful family reunion together.

Many times, we undertake what seems a small action, like making a phone call or sending an email, without knowing what the outcome may or may not be. Often it fizzles with little or no result. But sometimes something miraculous, life-giving and hope-inspiring like this happens.

-by Sarah Miller

Struggle to Survive (Italy)

I stopped at a cafe for coffee on my way to the train station. I noticed a beggar outside the door. I bought him an orange juice. He said his name is Lockey. He's a Christian goes to a church in a neighboring city. He is originally from sub-Sahara Africa.

He was working as a migrant in Libya before war broke out there. That's when he ran for his life. As there was no way to cross the Sahara and return to his homeland, he took a boat to Italy, where he now survives by begging.

I had a train to catch, so as I left, I prayed for Lockey and handed him the orange juice.

"Father, help him find a way home. Help him know that you are with him. Strengthen his faith. Meet his needs. Keep hope alive. In Jesus' name."

I had not walked more than thirty yards before I saw another beggar. I didn't have another orange juice, so I offered to pray with him. Thirty yards on there was another and then another...

As I boarded the train I struggled with the overwhelming need and my inability to do more than pray with Lockey and the others.

But that is why I had taken the IAFR team to Italy. To see the situation firsthand and ask God where and how he might best use us to further his kingdom in this challenging context.

-from Paul Sydnor, Europe Regional Director

Good Friday Reflection

We offer this reading of Psalm 22 as a Good Friday meditation. As Jesus was dying, he cried out words from this ancient Psalm.

Images from the Refugee Highway accompany the words as if they belong together.

We hope you find this 3 minute reflection helpful as you meditate on the loving sacrifice of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.

Click here to find the words of Psalm 22.

All images except the drawing of the crucifixion by Tom Albinson. The drawing is by a Syrian refugee boy (Muslim). When asked if he knew who the man is, the boy replied, "Yes. He's the man who says he will end all wars." This photo was taken by a pastor's wife in Turkey who also shared the remarkable story with us.

Rain in the Desert

 It rained in Kakuma refugee camp last night and this morning, transforming the dusty semi desert into a mud'n puddle fest. Rains don't fall often, but when they do, life slows down as moving around the camp becomes tough.

We are thankful for our partner, National Council of Churches Kenya (NCCK), and their transportation services! Their UN Land Cruisers got our team to the church on time this morning to continue with trauma care and theological training of refugee pastors.

We plan to visit our friends in the nearby camp for internally displaced Kenyans (IDP) this afternoon as well to follow up on some projects there (shelters, income-generation, and water). We're thankful to everyone who partners with us to make this ministry possible!

Click here to see a 30 second video clip showing our ride through the mud and water in the camp this morning.

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