February is the month when the world celebrates love, but God’s love is all around us every minute, of every day, of every month, of every year! We are immersed in God’s love whether we are aware of it or not. Jesus instructs us to love God and love our neighbour. These two great commandments are separate but interconnected: one of the best ways to love God is to love our neighbour. We cannot claim to love God and ignore the needs of our neighbour.
When Jesus is questioned by the lawyer asking “Who is my neighbour?” He replies with the parable of the Good Samaritan, concluding with “… go and do likewise.” We are truly blessed that PWRDF has made it so easy for us to “go and do likewise.”
While PWRDF was initially founded to facilitate rapid response to emergencies and disasters, it quickly became engaged in caring for refugees. The need is greater than ever, and according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are 84 million forcibly displaced people in the world today. This includes refugees, internally displaced people and asylum-seekers.
In Canada, PWRDF works with the Canadian Network of Anglican Sponsorship Agreement-Holders to co-ordinate and facilitate refugee sponsorship to Canada. PWRDF also works with many partners globally to care for those living in Refugee Camps. Refugee Camps used to be temporary shelters but have become home for many. Today, millions of people have lived in the confines of a refugee camp for over 10 years. Many have fled violence, with just what they could carry, and walked for days to get to safety.
Over the years, in addition to addressing the need for emergency, lifesaving food, water, shelter and medical supplies, PWRDF, in keeping with its goal of “sustainable” programming, has assisted with education and training of those in refugee camps, both for children and adults. We have facilitated programs for literacy, life-skills, health education, nutrition advice, HIV and AIDS prevention, addictions care, farming, environmental management, job-skills training, business training, and other programs designed to prepare refugees for life outside of the refugee camps.
Supporting refugees is an authentic way to “love thy neighbour.”
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you invited me in,
I needed clothes and you clothed me,
I was sick and you looked after me,
I was in prison and you came to visit me.
Matthew 25: 35-36