Ethiopian Encounters

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!IImageImage


About Elsie Hannah Ruth Rempel

As a young senior whose life could easily have ended in a nasty car crash in 2012 I live with an extra dose of gratitude to God, humanity, and the wonders of our human bodies. I am a passionate advocate for ministry WITH children and seniors in the life and ministry of the church. I started working in Faith Formation with Mennonite Church Canada in 2002. Thinking and writing about faith helps me see God at work in all kinds of surprising places. I'd like to be remembered as one who encourages others to live into God's good dream for our world. My book, Please Pass the Faith: The Spiritual Art of Grandparenting, is one big way I'm trying to share that encouragement with my peers. This blog is another way I'd like to engage people who care about growing in faith across the generations.
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2 Responses to Ethiopian Encounters

  1. Kirsten Schroeder says:

    Lovely pictures!

  2. Arlyn says:

    Wonderful story!

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