I traveled to the Toronto area earlier this year to write about two Canadian churches that partnered to adopt a family of Syrian refugees:
BEAMSVILLE, Ontario — As war ravaged their homeland, a Syrian family of eight fled for their lives.
The Muslim father, mother and six children — among 4 million Syrians who have escaped to neighboring countries — ended up in a refugee camp in Lebanon.
There, they lived in a barn for four years.
Conditions became so dire that the family — including a daughter with cerebral palsy — contemplated returning home, despite the 5-year-old civil war that has claimed an estimated 470,000 lives.
“Inhumane” is the single word that an Arabic interpreter used to translate the Syrians’ lengthy description of the camp.
Enter two Churches of Christ south of Toronto — their hearts touched by the plight of strangers abroad and resolved to show the love of Jesus to a suffering family.
In reporting that story for The Christian Chronicle, I was interested in the "delicate balance between serving and evangelizing," as national reporter Adelle Banks characterizes the dichotomy in a new feature for Religion News Service (more on her excellent piece in just a moment).
My story quoted church member Marcia Cramp and Noel Walker on that topic:
The church members hope to introduce the family to the Gospel of Jesus.
For now, they’re content to build the relationship slowly and learn more about the Syrians’ own faith.