The sad news is that the Almuhammads, the Syrian refugee family Emmanuel has been sponsoring, has moved to Canada. We will no longer walk with Abdulla, Maha, and their five kids in their journey in healing from the horrors of war in Syria. Nevertheless, they will always be in our prayers (The Book of Common Prayer, 830):
O God, whose fatherly care reaches to the uttermost parts
of the earth: We humbly beseech you graciously to behold
and bless those whom we love, now absent from us. Defend
them from all dangers of soul and body; and grant that both
they and we, drawing nearer to you, may be bound together
by your love in the communion of your Holy Spirit, and in the
fellowship of your saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The good news is that we have helped to give the Almuhammads a new life, and they were finally at a place where they could decide what to do with it. After nearly nine months of preparation, we welcomed them into our midst July 2016, and so many Emmanuelites have gone above and beyond to care for the family since then. Our parish raised well over $30,000 to support the family, as well as collecting household goods, toys, and clothing for them. Since their arrival, volunteers have striven tirelessly to help find: housing, jobs, schools, babysitting, transportation, paperwork assistance, proper medical/dental care, and the answers to many, many more unexpected challenges. The children’s lives will be forever transformed by the safe and stable home we were able to help provide, not to mention all the new opportunities they were exposed to through countless acts of generosity by the communities that grew around them. (The parents tried to show their thanks the best ways they knew how, and they had tears of gratitude in their eyes the last time I saw them.) This ministry and the relationships it has forged have truly transformed my experience of God, offering a quiet example of grace and Christian love amid uncertain times.
The family has moved to Canada to be reunited with Abdulla's sister and her family. Living with or close to extended family members is an integral part of their culture that they have deeply missed during their time in Baltimore. By moving to Canada, they also avoid the possibility of losing Medicaid benefits. Finally, with all the uncertainty around travel restrictions, Canada provides greater possibility that they’ll be able to see other relatives again, including Maha's mother.
Thank your compassion, generosity, and most importantly for living your faith!