by Herb Heppner
WINNIPEG, Man.—Last October, with the help of MCC, Aberdeen EMC applied to sponsor an extended family from Iraq. In total, there are eight adults and two babies in the family. Our hope is to reunite a young couple we sponsored several years ago with their family. We want to invite churches and individuals in our EMC conference to help us with this sponsorship.
On June 3, 2017, Humam Shihab and his wife Sabreen celebrated two years in Canada. They are from the city of Bagdad in Iraq and were sponsored by Aberdeen. They were fortunate to find a home in Winnipeg. Both of them have learned English and are working in the public school system in Winnipeg.
But Humam could not forget about his family still in Iraq and requested that Aberdeen try to sponsor his family. His father has been housebound for years and the family feared for the father’s safety. Two of Humam’s uncles have been taken by militias and never heard of again.
Last October Aberdeen applied to sponsor Humam’s family. This includes his parents, three brothers, one sister, a brother-in-law and sister-in-law, as well as two babies.
The Shihabs have been living in Beirut, Lebanon, as refugees. There they waited anxiously for news about their sponsorship application. Finally, in early May, they were advised that they would be accepted to come to Winnipeg. Upon hearing this news, they were overjoyed that they were being given a new opportunity in a new land. They are now waiting for their visas to be processed and for a flight date.
We are presently preparing a home for them. It is big task for a small church to take on a sponsorship of this size. However, Humam and Sabreen have become a part of our community and we feel compelled to help reunite this family.
Note: Many EMC churches are currently sponsoring or co-sponsoring refugee families. This is in line with the compassion of Jesus as shown in Matthew 25. Aberdeen is a small congregation with a big heart. If your congregation is not involved in such a sponsorship, or if you are interested in helping personally, Aberdeen welcomes your help in this project. Donations may be sent to Aberdeen EMC, 265 Flora Ave., Winnipeg, MB R2W 2R2; email@example.com. – Tim Dyck, EMC General Secretary