I met my friend, Eremias, just over a year ago in Addis Abbiba. I was happy to help celebrate his Canadian wedding this morning at Glenlea Mennonite Church in rural Manitoba. His mother, Azni, shows up in my gravatar image, trying to teach me how to spin cotton in her home in Addis Abbiba, where she and her son royally hosted my husband and me as we stopped in their fine city on our way home from Zambia. His fiancee, Meron, an employee of my husband’s, had generously planned a week of delightful activities for us in her lovely homeland.
As we got to know and appreciate our gracious hosts a comfortable cross cultural riendship grew. As we said farewell it was easy and natural to tell his mother that her son would always be welcome in our Canadian home.
Our visit was followed by an even more eagerly awaited visit to Addis in August. Meron came back to Addis for a wedding, after which she could initiate the paperwork for his immigration. Ermias arrived in Canada on May 18, just 138 days later; a testament to Meron’s tenacity and the Holy Spirit’s smiling on their efforts.
This morning, their Ethiopian wedding was renewed in her Manitoba Mennonite congregation, after crossing all kinds of boundaries in building a new life. Meron has built deep friendships with the Germanic Mennonites in the Glenlea Mennonite Church, but she has also built deep friendships with Eritrean immigrants, even though their countries are hostile to each other.
Together with their Eritrean-Canadian friends they crossed another historic boundary today. As part of the wedding program they danced in typical Eritrean/Ethiopian style, and even got some Germanic Mennonites to join in! Is there a better way to initiate dancing in the basement of the Glenlea Mennonite Church? I suspect the Holy Spirit smiled on that as well as on the immigration procedures.
We are blessed, deeply blessed, when immigrants such as these enrich our lives and make peace with each other. Meron and Ermias, may you be deeply blessed as you begin your married Canadian life!I