For the Juhasz family, the freedom of taking a walk in the snow is a gift.
“It’s a new life. It’s going to be a good life,” son Patrik said as he, his brother Tamas and mother Marianna walked through the snow-covered streets of Langley on Saturday.
The family first spoke to Global News in October 2014 when they were fighting to stay in Canada after fleeing Hungary to escape domestic violence.
Marianna worked three jobs to make ends meet but the family was ordered to leave the country in November 2014 after their application to remain in Canada on humanitarian grounds was denied.
The family sought sanctuary at the Walnut Grove Lutheran church. It would be their safe haven for two years.
Last month, Marianna finally got word from the government that she could stay in Canada.
“We just want to thank everyone that helped us and supported during these two years,” Patrik said. “We know it was a tough time.”
Pastor Karl Keller, who sheltered the Juhasz family, is confident about their future.
“They will work their hearts out and do whatever they can in thankfulness that they can stay in Canada,” he said.
WATCH: A look back at the Juhasz family’s journey
Keller’s church also served as a sanctuary for Jose Figueroa. The El Salvador native also spent two years in the church after he was denied residency by immigration officials who decided his role in a resistance movement that brought democracy to the Central American country had links to terrorism.
In December 2015, Figueroa was granted an exemption to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, paving the way for his permanent residency.
He now lives in Victoria and is studying to be a lawyer so he can help other refugees like the Juhasz family.
“I want to give a big hug to Tamas, Patrik and Marianna. We are so happy about that situation,” Figueroa said.
Marianna is grateful that she and her sons will be able to stay in Canada.
“I think it saved my life and my boys’ lives. God is beside me, I know.”
– With files from Julia Foy, Paula Baker, Yuliya Talmazan and The Canadian Press
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