While much of the world focuses on the Syrian refugee crisis, the Telkwa Reformed Church welcomed a family from another part of the world to Smithers on Wednesday.
Pastor James Folkerts says they picked out a family of nine from the Democratic Republic of Congo eight years.
“They’ve been refugees, I mean we’ve been waiting for eight years. So you can imagine the difficulties they have been living with for many years waiting for this whole process to work itself out.”
After such a long wait, Folkerts said greeting them at the airport was a special moment.
“It was an awesome experience, having them arrive at the airport here. And just seeing them unload all their luggage and realizing that this is home, having them see snow for the first time; it was quite an awesome experience.”
A few years ago, the Smithers Roman Catholic Church brought it’s own family of Congolese refugees to Smithers. In a ‘small world’ twist, the two families come from the same area and know each other.
“That’s a very beautiful thing. At the airport this other family from the Democratic Republic of Congo was there to welcome them as friends.” Folkerts said
The Telkwa Reformed Church has a history of helping refugees. Folkerts says prior to his arrival, the church had sponsored Vietnamese Boat People while congregation members have sponsored other families in the past.
He added that the long drawn out process was discouraging at times, but “once we committed to this family, we thought we better see it through. And finally they arrive. It’s quite a thing.”