What a journey it has been.
I do not recall knowing much about Canada; however, circumstances and obstacles brought us here.
We came to Canada because one of my sisters was unable to obtain a tourist visa to enter the U.S.A. So, two of my sisters from Lebanon, Ruth and Choughik, came to Canada with hopes to cross the border to the U.S.A. In the meantime, a miracle broke through. While still in Lebanon, they heard that the Canadian Government opened the doors for Lebanese citizens to come and call Canada Home – “Projet du Liban”.
I was living with my eldest sister in Los Angeles at that time, since September 1983. I had all I needed, thanks to her and certainly thanks to God, but there was something missing in my life – to belong… The need to be legal in the country that I was living in and not live in fear of getting kicked out of a place that you are attempting to call home – I could not go back to Lebanon. My father had passed away, my mother and one sister had a visa to come to U.S.A. but one sister was not being granted a visa, because at one point she had come to the U.S. and she had stayed longer than her visa. Now, the U.S. Embassy was not issuing her a visa again.
To make the long story short, today I reflect and see how the Grace of God has brought me this far. Yesterday, August 20, 2017, at our worship services, I had the privilege to introduce two young men visiting us from El Salvador. As the incumbent minister of this pastoral charge, I was able to welcome them to Elgin-Portland – what a joy!
I would have never imagined in my wildest dreams that the young girl from war torn country, Lebanon will make her way to this beautiful country called Canada, through Los Angeles. Yes, sometimes we need to take detours, life’s journey is never a straight line, as we would like to make it. When we arrived here, my mother always said that Canada is the Promised Land, the Land of Milk and Honey. Tomorrow, August 22, 2017, marks the 23rd anniversary of her passing, and where I live right now is a place surrounded by Dairy Farms and Bee Keepers – Milk and Honey are ever present – making her wisdom and faith echo through me every time I drive through our roads.
Today, on this 31st anniversary of my entry to Canada, I give thanks to the One who has brought me to a place where I belong and where I came across the wonderful person named Gary Petro, who is my husband since September 3, 2000 – I feel beloved more than words can say.
One thing is for certain, when we love the other, we find goodness beyond our imagination. Canada accepted and embraced me without even knowing who I am and what is my potential – I did not even know what was waiting for me in the future. Thirty-one years later, I am able to embrace these communities and serve the world as I am able; because at the end of the day our life’s purpose is to build relationships, and Love the Other.
May we continue to Love each other; offer Life; and share all Goodness with Joy in Peace. Amen.