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Some had described Luiz Bonito and his family as a fixture at Winnipeg's Oasis Community Church. Now the family will remain a fixture at the church after receiving word their deportation had been cancelled. 

The family have called Winnipeg home for the past three years. They moved to Winnipeg from Venezuela after a home invasion in which gunmen tied the family up and threatened them. The family had been involved in anti-government protests and said they feared for their lives.

"I will always trust God"

They entered the country on tourist visas and had been trying to obtain permanent residence since then.

However, in late 2018 they were told they were being deported.

"Just pray that we can stay in Canada," Bonito told CHVN in December of 2018. He was especially worried about his 11-year-old daughter. "Just pray for her. She survived the kidnapping and doesn't remember much of it, thank God. Now she's happy here."

Bonito says he doesn't want to uproot the young girl who has family and friends here.

"I will always trust in God," Bonito said in December. "If he doesn't want me to stay in Canada I won't stay."

Prayer answered

The Bonito family's prayers have been answered. 

Bonito says that on Saturday, February 16, he received a phone call from a Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) agent. The agent told him that the deportation had been cancelled.

eyolfsonMP, Dr. Doug Eyolfson, helped secure the Bonito family at least another two years in Canada. (Doug Eyolfson/Facebook)"The truth was a mixture of joy and concern that we had never spoken to that person before," Bonito says about receiving the call. "And I had some doubts, [because] at the time [they] did not give me more details."

On Sunday, February 17, Bonito received a phone call from the assistant of MP for Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley, Dr. Doug Eyolfson. 

The assistant confirmed with Bonito that the deportation had indeed been cancelled after Eyolfson intervened on the Bonito family's behalf.

Bonito says that Eyolfson has secured his family another two years of residence in Canada while a decision is made on their residence status based on humanitarian concerns.

"You have no idea how happy my daughter is," Bonito said. He said he an the family are grateful for everyone who has helped and prayed for them.

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'I will always trust God': family facing deportation

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