Churches Helping Our Syrian Neighbours (CHOSYN)

Sunday November 6th, 2016

The arrival of baby Hassan is scheduled for November 8th (a couple of weeks early). Everyone is thrilled at the idea of “their Canadian baby boy”! Please keep the family in your prayers at this exciting time.
The family have had great support from their Syrian and Canadian friends, and are well placed for baby items. If people would like to bring presents for the baby, it’s perhaps be simplest to go with gift cards from Shoppers Drug Mart, as there will be lots of diapers and formula needed in the near future!
All’s well with the family, and the boys are settling into school. It’s been a real learning curve for all involved, family and friends alike! Thanks to the congregation(s) for ongoing support.
P.S: Mostapha is looking for an “on the books” job – very keen to work in baking/cooking, construction or other labour, industrial sewing, etc. If any ideas arise, please pass them on to Derek, Ewan, or other member of the CHOSYN group.

Sunday April 24th, 2016

Things are chugging away, with tremendous support from our educational, transportation, medical, translators, in particular (not to exclude anyone!). Mostapha, Bahijeh, Mohammed and Yassine are all in schooling, transport remains an ongoing need (we do have new volunteers, who are spreading the load), medical challenges remain, but are being addressed. But they seem by all accounts, to be adapting well and in good spirits. Social get-togethers and drop ins are very important, and are encouraged!
There is a particular need for assistance with looking after one or both boys on Tuesday lunchtime and Thursday morning. These are the days when Bahijeh has medical appointments at the same time that Mostapha has English-language training. Please contact Dini den Otter, Christine McLean or Heather Cumming if you are able to assist. Funds to support the project are always welcome and can be sent through the church office, or in your envelope by marking “CHOSYN” in “Other”.

Thanks to all who took order sheets to offices, helped make the lunches, and delivered the lunches. On Friday, we made 359 lunches, (one roll fell on the floor, apparently the 5 second rule doesn’t apply in the food trade!). We started the assembly line at 7:00pm and were all cleaned up by 9:30pm. There were approximately 20 people assisting with the preparation of the lunches, including some new younger faces. Great going everyone!

Sunday April 3rd, 2016

SUB-SANDWICH SALE: The CHOSYN group are having a sub-sandwich fundraiser, to help with our Syrian refugee outreach. The sandwiches are for
delivery on April 15th (Friday). The meal will contain a 9” sub sandwich, with 3
types of meat, lettuce and cheese, mayo and mustard as well as a tin of regular or diet Cola and a cookie for dessert. All for $10. We really hope to get anyone in the congregations that works in an office, or has another large group that they can approach, to take a list. Please contact Heather Cumming (746 – 0335) or Ewan Cumming (687 – 1420) or by email h.e.cumming (at) if you can help. It’s a great social event, as well as fundraiser.


Sunday 21st, 2016
The Al Hussein family are settling in well. There have been very few teething pains so far, and the family is extremely happy and appreciative to be here in their new home. There are some medical concerns, which are being addressed by our extremely focused medical support group and others locally who have stepped in to assist. We are pleased by the willingness and desire of the local Muslim community to help out with translation and social interaction, which has been uplifting. Schooling and language training are arranged, and the family are keen to get going. Socially we have had a lot of people drop in, and all have commented on how warm and friendly they are made to feel. The children have met some new friends as well, but would love more. Our transportation, groceries and clothing support groups have all been very busy as well. We do need more drivers (particularly female ones) for medical and other appointments, please contact John Molgaard (ejmolgaard  at the lead of our transportation group, if you are able to assist. Funds to support the project are always welcome and can be sent through the church office, or in your envelope by marking “CHOSYN” in other.


Tuesday 9th, 2016

The Al Hussein family are here at last!  Mostafa, Bahijeh, and their sons Mohammed (6) and Yassine (5) are thrilled to be here, in a safe and secure spot.  They want everyone to know how much they appreciate what our community is doing for them and others.  They were met at the airport by a large group from both congregations, including the Sunday School (with their own banner).  They were taken aback by the welcome, and it was great that everyone came out.

The boys (including Derek and Mike G) were almost immediately out in the back yard with soccer balls, and they are energetic and happy little boys.  Mostafa is recovering from a broken leg, but is doing well.  Bahijeh has some medical needs, but those are being addressed efficiently by our medical group and others in the medical community  The family have settled into the apartment, and are very pleased. Grocery and clothing trips have been completed, and other initial startup tasks are being scheduled by the support groups that we have in place.

We did learn that the family (and relatives) were bombed out of their village about 3 ½ years ago, and escaped to another town near Turkey, that was attacked subsequently.  They have been in Lebanon for the past 3 ½ years.  Mostafa works in construction, drafting, and as a shoemaker, and we’re hoping these skills will be in demand here as well.

It has been heart-warming to see the tremendous help provided by Kassem Abouchehade, Moein Shawan, and others from the local Muslim and Arabic-speaking community.  I think they will be a true support for the family as well, and we will only be strengthened by the interaction and new friendships ourselves.

So all in all, off to a good start.  We need to keep the momentum of support up, while letting them grow into their new life.  We can only benefit from knowing and working with these courageous people.   It’s also been great to see the collaboration between volunteers from St. Andrew’s and St. David’s, and that will only grow as the mission proceeds.

We do anticipate another family sponsorship, through the same channels, but are told that this may take months to work through the system.  We will keep everyone posted, and thanks again for your support to date.  Financial contributions, through the church office or regular envelopes, are still much needed and appreciated!


Sunday 7th, 2016

Mostafa Yassine Ahmad Al Hussein (Father),
Bahijeh Al Moustafa (Mother),
Mohammad Ahmad Al Hussein born (6-Y), and
Yassine Ahmad Al Hussein, born (5-Y)

will arrive at the St. John’s International Airport 12:25 Sunday February 7. To facilitate a grand welcome, we will have no coffee this week, and will shorten the service, to allow travel to the airport for all those desiring to be part of the greeting. Please keep in mind, that while we are inviting a grand gesture of welcome, the CHOSN team hopes to avoid overwhelming the family, and will be limiting the number of people traveling to the apartment to those required for initial orientation, emergency contacts, and to help with pressing medical needs.
Do pray for a smooth arrival and transition to this new life for the family.


We have a very dynamic and eager support group, made up of members from St. Andrew’s and St. David’s, ready to spring into action! We have been tentatively linked with a Syrian family of 4, who are presently in a camp in
Lebanon, but we are awaiting confirmation. It is possible that they could be here by Christmas, but that may be wishful thinking. There is a lot of uncertainty at present, especially with political changes. The overall
impact on timing, especially for a second family, is unknown. We`ll keep the congregation advised as we go. A rather pointed Facebook post pointed out recently that the Christmas story we love so much also involved
a middle-eastern family seeking shelter…