Quite a few years ago, a friend of mine was part of a family ministry series at Willow Creek church in Chicago. They did a video series for families on Compassion and I've always loved the definition they came up with for compassion. They defined it as "seeing a need and doing something about it." I love it because it's not just seeing a need, or feeling empathy or sympathy, it requires an action to be considered compassion.

 

A few weeks ago, a couple of families at Connect, were struck by the news of the refugee crisis unfolding overseas as a result of the Syrian war.  They heard that new refugee families were being sponsored to live in Saskatoon, but that many of them came with little more than what they could carry. With many of these families coming via refugee camps and having travelled long distances from Syria before being sponsored to come to Canada, these young couples were moved by the stories of those fleeing violence with their small children and trying to find a safe place. The Ardell and Palmer families were moved to act when they thought of themselves and their own young children facing the same challenges. They decided that they would host a Toy Drive for the children arriving in Canada to start their new lives. They wanted children to have toys as a means of comfort and joy in their new homes.

 The Ardell and Palmer families stored, sorted, cleaned and delivered toys donated through their Toy Drive for refugee families coming to Saskatoon.

The Ardell and Palmer families stored, sorted, cleaned and delivered toys donated through their Toy Drive for refugee families coming to Saskatoon.

 Jeremiah, Dana and son Lars, sort through toy donations in their basement. 

Jeremiah, Dana and son Lars, sort through toy donations in their basement. 

 

So, for two weeks, Darren and Miranda Ardell and Jeremiah and Dana Palmer drove around Saskatoon on the coldest days of the year, picking up toys for these families. They also hosted at the Info table and in the foyer of TCU a place where Connect families could contribute donations as well. They then sorted, stored and delivered the toys to the Open Door Society who is facilitating the integration of these new families into our city. This is a perfect example of what we at Connect are describing when we challenge you to Connect to a Cause. Act with compassion. Recognize the needs of those in our city and respond with action accordingly. Thank you to all who donated toys to the Toy Drive and a huge thank you to the Ardell and Palmer families for leading by example in this way! 

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