The Edmonds neighbourhood is considered the inner-city of Burnaby, with many newly arrived refugee families from countries such as Eritrea, Burundi, Ethiopia, Congo, Tibet, India, Afghanistan, UzbekistanIraq, Sudan, Syria and Iran. There are also many immigrant families here from Eastern Europe, Japan, Korea, Philippines and China. This neighbourhood has long been the poorest part of town, but very community-oriented with many small shops and restaurants despite the gentrification that started several years ago. Many people in this community practice Islam and Buddhism. There are many newcomer services in Edmonds that are provided by the City or settlement agencies, but very few opportunities for people to hear and talk about faith.
Edmonds Community School, Stride Community School and Byrne Creek Community School represent a very unique part of this community because these schools currently serve the largest refugee population in Burnaby. It is also the hope of many newcomer families that their children are able to secure an education and a better life in a new country. Prayers are needed for students as many carry with them a heavy burden of trauma, language barrier and illiteracy, which creates additional barriers for their education and building of relationships. David Starr, the previous principal of Edmonds School, stated in his book "From Bombs to Books" that Edmonds School was misrepresented and was ranked the "worst" school in British Columbia by the Fraser Institute because of low Foundational Skills Assessment scores of students.
As we journey through this neighbourhood, we will pray for the many women of the Muslim religion that are oppressed by their cultural gender roles and experiencing domestic violence. We will pray for the children who are having difficulties at school and at home and for the healing of their mind, body, and soul from the burden of past trauma in their lives. We will pray that we would meet the 'person of peace' in this Edmonds neighbourhood. And ultimately, we will pray for God send His labourers!