Web Site Closing Soon

I must begin by saying “Thank you”. AIRSS is extremely thankful for everyone who has helped our new Canadian families during our refugee sponsorships throughout the years. Our recent sponsorships are officially “completed” because our sponsorship year is over. We continue to be involved with our families and we look forward to our times together in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead.

We do not have any active sponsorships at this time so the need for this web site has changed. Therefore, we will be closing this AIRSS web site in May 2019. Information about AIRSS will still be available on our Face Book page.

Once again, we extend our deepest thanks to everyone who has made a difference in the lives of our sponsored families. May God bless all of you!

With immense gratitude and great joy,

Cheryl Balay, President of AIRSS

One Year in Canada - December 7, 2018

December 7, 2018

We are thankful and we are celebrating! It has been one year since Argentine and Mapendo and their families arrived in Canada! They are so happy to be here and they are full of praise.  With them, we thank God for all the blessings.  

We will always be thankful for the support of the many people, near and far, who gave generously and continue to give and support these families with their love and prayers and gifts.  Your love has made a life-changing difference!

The women have been busy sewing and building their new life in Canada. Mapendo’s husband is working part-time. Two of the young girls are working part-time. The children are in school except for the youngest one. Everyone is learning more and more English! We have celebrated 9 birthdays and many special occasions together.  We have been through Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Another Winter season has our new Canadians bundling up again in their warm clothing.

The future is bright so we really want to emphasize our thankfulness. We couldn’t have done this without everyone who contributed to the support of our new families.  Every donation has made a difference! Every visit has made a difference! Every act of love has made a difference! Every encouraging word has made a difference! We thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

With immense gratitude and great joy,

Cheryl Balay, President of AIRSS

July 2018 Update

I am very happy to be posting an update about our families. I apologize that it has taken so long.

The past 6 months have gone by so quickly with a flurry of many different activities and day to day life. Where do I begin?

There have been so many new experiences and many adjustments to life in Canada. There have been medical and dental appointments during the past months, as well as specialist appointments for new braces, etc.  There has been cooking and washing dishes and washing clothes …. with machines! Running Water! Indoor toilets! Bath tubs! There is a long list of new things in Canada. We are very thankful that our families each have a wonderful apartment and they are neighbors so they can easily walk to each other’s home.

Four of the children started attending school in January and they completed their school year at the end of June. There was much to celebrate with awards and success! Argentine, Mapendo, and Joseph joined a Language Learning Group for 8 weeks and they also had personal tutors during the school months.  Their English skills are improving all the time.

We all “survived” the cold, snowy winter months in Alberta. After promises of warmer “Spring” weather in April, the snow finally melted and the temperatures finally warmed up at the end of April. We are enjoying a beautiful summer after a long winter. Now, it is “Summer Holidays” time in Canada!  There is a break from school during July and August but there are many special activities during the summer months.

Our families have made many new friends at school, with their church families, and within the community here and beyond! We continue to be so thankful for the ongoing support, as well as the support from new friends.

Argentine and Mapendo quickly learned how to use their Canadian sewing machines a short time after their arrival in Canada and they have been creating many beautiful bags and clothing items during the past months.  Joseph is working part-time and developing his skills.

We have celebrated some birthdays and we have shared many wonderful times together.

There is so much more to share. This is just a brief glimpse into Canadian life for Argentine and Mapendo and their families.

For more information, I encourage you to check out Shona Congo on Facebook and their web site, too, if you haven’t already done so.  You may want to purchase one of the women’s beautiful items for sale.



Argentine and Mapendo will be doing live Facebook videos in the coming weeks. They have done some videos already and you can view them.  You can also participate in future videos. The ladies would be amazed to interact with participants in real time!

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this amazing journey! Together we look forward to a bright future for everyone!

With immense gratitude and much joy,

Cheryl Balay, President of AIRSS

One Month in Canada!

     As I write this update on January 8th, 2018, it has been one month since our families have arrived in Canada. We are so thankful for this time together and we are so thankful for all of the support. Thanks be to God!

     The past month has been a full month of learning about life in Canada, meeting friendly, generous people, learning English, discovering what a cold, snowy winter is like in Northern Alberta, wearing layers of clothes and boots and mittens and toques, tobogganing, exploring our community, learning new things such as how to use a washing machine and dryer, learning how to use electric sewing machines, shopping for groceries, attending church services and special events, playing in the snow, watching hockey games, visiting, using new phones and new technology, being thankful for our Swahili and French interpreters, laughing together as we communicate with each other using actions/gestures and Google translate apps, applauding great progress as our new family members speak English with increasing understanding, cooking together, trying new foods, swimming in a pool, having medical check-ups, learning about Canadian currency and the prices of items, having the first haircuts in Canada, using online English language programs, celebrating together, and so much more!  All of this is possible because of an amazing community of support, providing accommodation, clothing, personal care items, household items, furniture, school supplies, transportation, and everything that is needed for daily living. On top of this is the extensive amount of paperwork to apply for Alberta Health Care and Social Insurance Numbers, to register for English classes and public school, and more!  I know that I have not been able to share everything but I trust this will give you a special glimpse of the past month. With all of this is great love. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

     Soon, there will be other new experiences…riding a school bus, attending school, getting involved in school activities, taxi rides, and more! 

     Our new families have a special place in our hearts and we look forward to the weeks and months ahead, living together in our wonderful community.

With immense gratitude, much joy, and continued excitement,
Cheryl Balay, President of AIRSS