BMO Nesbitt Burns
885 West Georgia Street
Because of the hardships over the past two years, we want to cast our eyes to the hope and inspiration found around us. Specifically, we are humbled by the story of a refugee family, persecuted for their faith but found in that very faith the fortitude to endure and prevail. From their story, we realize how fortunate we are living here and are inspired by their courage. In the midst of life-threatening circumstances, hope shone and goodness sustained. During this festive season, we take a pause to appreciate the many small kindnesses and blessings flowing from the people inhabiting our daily lives. With this in mind, we pay it forward with gentle acts that may seem small at the moment but can have a meaningful impact down the road.
Read their story:
We lived in a Muslim country. I ran a small daycare in my home for children from our neighbourhood. It all happened less than a year after I got married, when the father of one of the children threatened me to stop teaching his daughter to be Christian. I never did this knowing how dangerous that is. This incident got bigger until after a few days, men came to our house to beat up my husband and me. When we tried to report this to the police, we found we could not because the person who started the incident had already reported it and even issued a fatwa against us which is a death sentence. We thought to flee to another part of the country but were told these people would still find us because of their vast network. A relative then helped us leave the country on visitor’s visas to Thailand.
We sought asylum with UNHCR but after many years we could not see any hope of protection. Many years we spent in our country of asylum where we lived in fear. Fear of police and Immigration. We were facing very hard time there but God is only one who always take care of us and keep us healthy and fulfill all our needs. We could not work in Thailand but God provided us all what we needed – food, clothing, etc. through some Godly people.
The time suddenly changed when my husband was arrested by immigration due to overstay. I was alone crying all day and night with my 16 months old baby. That was most painful moment of my life when my husband was in Immigration Detention Center (IDC) prison. I could not see him. I could not go to visit him because my visa expired as well. I cried out to God for help, fasting and praying to make me stronger and stronger each day. God gave me strength to face all the situations. Our case refused by UNHCR. My husband was in prison. I asked God why all these things were happening with me? Why my family?
I was praying one day. I felt strength and the voice “You are not alone my child”. From that day my life changed. I always encourage my husband to pray more and wait till God answer. And God moved things for us. He made the way for my family to reunite again. We received sponsor to Canada by a church in Vancouver. When I told my husband (through a friend who could go to IDC) the church willing to sponsor my family, he was so happy. I told him God is too good. Just wait and trust him. He is with me, don’t worry about me and your child. Soon we will be together. My husband start fasting and praying day and night asking God for his Mercy. He promised to God whenever he will come out from prison, he will kneel down to the house of the Lord first.
Even when we were facing a lot of trouble and pain but when I finally saw my husband and my son saw his daddy after 2 years 6 months, we were overjoyed. It was at the airport right before we flew to Canada. Arriving in Canada, we are very thankful parish committee brought us to the church straight from the airport as we requested. That was Miracle of God. God was with me when there was no one with me. He held my hand and whenever I feel alone I talked to God, read bible. It strengthens me. This is the new life.
We always thank God for our new life and freedom. We thank the Archdiocese of Vancouver and our sponsoring parish for making this possible for us and provided all we needed. We now live our Christian faith without fear.
In our first year in Canada, God gave us our second child, a beautiful girl, our first Canadian. We are now expecting our third child. Our eldest boy, who went through the sufferings with us, is now happily going to school and attending catechism as well. My husband has a good job and providing well for us. Thanks be to God who never left us alone and showed us His mercy and love! Life is meaningful only after knowing God!