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A Brave Journey: from the Sudan to Canada

March 4, 2019 No Comment

The family arrives in Calgary. (l-r) Cathy Weger (Project Committee), Rabie Ibrahim, Faiza Ibrahim, Theo & Sabine Dillenberg (Project Committee), Awadia Ibrahim, Esam Ibrahim, Nigel Gadar (Interpreter), and Beth Johnson (Project Committee).

CALGARY, AB – With hearts full of gratitude and faith the Calgary Circuit of Lutheran Church-Canada reports that the sponsored refugee family from the Sudan is making good progress adjusting to their new home in Canada. Eighteen weeks in Calgary—since their arrival May 31—has seen the Ibrahims settle into a busy and focused routine. Both parents, Rabie and Faiza, and the children, Esam and Awadia, attend English as a Second Language classes daily. Their English is improving gradually—practically speaking, they have mastered the “double-double” at Tim Horton’s. Public transit is no longer a daunting prospect and they are able to complete grocery shopping confidently, including an occasional mission to Costco. The father, Rabie, does a great job looking after finances and banking—to be sure, the family continues to be amazed at the expensive cost of living in Calgary.

Circuit committee members have been focused on providing assistance in navigating the bureaucracy of Service Canada. They have attended many medical and dental appointments with the family, having secured Arabic speaking practitioners. The staff at the Calgary Centre for Newcomers have been extremely helpful in providing comprehensive support services. Esam and Awadia enjoy making use of the great facilities at the Village Square Leisure Centre in northeast Calgary. The journey has been akin to “drinking from a fire hydrant” in terms of learning the range of Canadian norms and practices.

September potluck fellowship. (l-r) Awadia Ibrahim holding Braelynn Perrin, Esam Ibrahim, Faiza Ibrahim, and Jan Geggie (Chair, Project Committee)

A wonderful potluck fellowship attended by some fifty circuit congregants was held at Foothills Lutheran Church on September 16. At the event, members were introduced to the family and learned of some of their hopes and aspirations. Rabie would like to work one day in the oil and gas sector; both Faiza and Awadia dream of qualifying in patient care and working in health services; Esam remains passionate about soccer and would like to study business administration. The early taste of winter in Calgary certainly was an eye-opener for the family. The Project Committee extends a standing appeal for donations of gift cards from Superstore, Walmart, or Mark’s Work Wearhouse. Monetary donations are also welcome—please indicate Refugee Sponsorship on the envelope c/o St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Calgary.

“This refugee family is genuinely grateful for their chance at a new life in Calgary,” notes Theo Dillen of the Project Committee. “Unfortunately, the project continues to swim against pockets of skepticism—even anger—toward refugees sponsored for resettlement in Canada. We need to embrace the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 25:35: ‘For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed Me.’ The Old Testament is rife with examples of forced and voluntary resettlements. Recall that Mary and Joseph too were refugees as they fled the brutality of King Herod (Matthew 2:13-14). And, Peter reminds us of a world full of refugees and exiles in need of help (1 Peter 2:11). In His service, we thank you for your generosity in helping to spread the love of God to our neighbours.”

Theo Dillenberg