Hi, my name is Lara Boghos and I am the manager of Silas Hill, emergency home for refugees of The Peoples Church.

Before taking on the role of the manager of the house, I was a volunteer and I was part of the leadership team since the beginning of the house which was in 2016. So it started when I moved to Canada as an immigrant and I had to live the experience of leaving your family, your surroundings or whatever is familiar to you and then starting all over. Leaving home is a difficult thing. There’s the unknown, there’s the fear. There are the questions. We just face unwelcoming people and situations and statements.

God was teaching me that it’s not about me, it’s about his kingdom. And he was asking me to open my eyes to see where a need is and go and meet that need and be the person who welcomed me and welcome another person. Because I’ve been welcomed so I know how much that affected me and changed my life. So I just wanted to go ahead and do the same and I want to encourage people that small steps like a smile or an invitation for a cup of coffee makes a huge impact. I remember the first time I was invited by a Canadian lady for a cup of coffee, made a huge difference in my life because I could understand that she was interested in getting to know me, welcoming me, befriending me and I just tried to do the same.

My name is Lucy Greenland and I am volunteering here at Silas Hill.

I’ve been living at Silas Hill and that means chatting to residents relationally, getting to know people and making phone calls, applications, going places. The greatest need for residents is learning the language. Most of them don’t come with the English language and that’s such a massive barrier. If they want to move forward positively and gain employment, the fear of whether they will be granted (a visa), the need to stay as well, that’s a really big thing, which is a need. They need security. They need time to prepare for their court hearings. They need employment, they need community, and relationships around them which are going to  help them settle into this country. They’ve often come from really difficult circumstances and each of them has a story which are all different and all valid for why they are here in Canada and at Silas Hill.

I think there are so many different ways of getting involved at Silas Hill. Everything from coming in relationally, praying with people, chatting to people, seeing whether they’re doing okay, to practical support like translation is massive. We’ve got lots of different languages. I think there are 15 languages including dialects in this house at the moment. Translation, transport, practical help, like resume writing or phone call making… things like that.

I think volunteers make a really big impact on the house. They change the atmosphere, they come in with positivity and encouragement. They are consistent, a lot of them. They might come in and hold a life group here and invite people to be part of it. They might come in with food and cooking. They might come just to hang out with some of the kids.

Come with the right heart, come with a desire to learn from other people as much as to give. You think you’ve got a lot to offer and often you do. But what is returned to you is so much more than you give out.

Make a difference in someone’s life. Visit www.ThePeoplesChurch.ca to volunteer.