A year ago today, a team of folks from St Aidan’s Refugee Resettlement Team (SARRT) made a trip Ea
st on Hwy 401 to meet the Mokayed family. Ahmad, Alaa, Abdulkader, and Sara had arrived in Canada the night before and would be moving to London to make a new life. The SARRT had already found an apartment and furnished it with the many gifts from the people of St Aidan’s community. Now the real work would begin. We would do what we could to make this family feel at home in Canada. Living our baptismal covenant we would welcome this family in a spirit of seeking and serving Jesus in all persons, loving neighbour as self, striving to make peace and unity real for them, and above all working to respect the dignity of this family of God’s beloved children who had been through so much.
I will never forget Sara’s beautiful smile that day! It was incredible. She and Abdulkader were no doubt nervous as they met us, as were their mom and dad. But we soon became fast friends.
In the past twelve months so many things have happened. We are no longer strangers; we are friends, we are family. Alaa now has two part time jobs. Ahmad works full time. The children are like all other Canadian children – kept busy with gymnastics, basketball, keeping up with school work, and play dates with friends. This family is firmly on it’s feet. Most of all, they are happy, they are healthy, and they are safe.
Last Sunday we held a “Graduation Party” for the Mokayed and Yazbek families. It was
incredible to think of all that we have been through in one year. Pat Townshend has done and incredible job as chair of SARRT and was aided along with way with and incredible team of people. You have all done incredible baptismal work. But don’t take my word for it. Hear it from newcomer’s perspective. During last week’s festivities, twelve year old Abdulkader took to the microphone and shared his thoughts. As he carefully unfolded his prepared speech, we all sat in anticipation. Once he cleared his throat he shared these words…
There is a story you knew it by my mom and dad but today I like to tell you the same story, but with my words.
There was a happy family, consists of 4 persons. They were in peace and pleasure when the war came to ruin all of this family’s hope. This family agreed to be together whatever happens. They suffered and afforded together hunger, cold and all the bad conditions.
After that, they decided to escape out of their country and they left their memories, grandma and grandpa, friends and everything they love. In this family there was a boy and a girl who were looking silent although they understood everything around them and their heart was full with sadness and darkness.
After about 4 years God has sent some people to help that family and along of one year they succeed in making this family happy again. So today I would like to thank all of you for everything you did to my, and my sister life better and thank you for the emotions you showed to please our hearts.
I have tears on my keyboard Abdulkader – we love you, and Sara and Mom and Dad. Our life is better for having you all join us in this country. God Bless you all.
no one is a stranger to you
and no one is ever far from your loving care.
In your kindness, watch over refugees and victims of war,
those separated from their loved ones,
young people who are lost,
and those who have left home or who have run away from
Bring them back safely to the place where they long to be
and help us always to show your kindness
to strangers and to all in need
Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen