By: Mary Catherine Bishop
Pastoral Minister

On January 6, 2019 Abdul, Hamida and their 6 children will take time to pause and reflect upon the past year and look at all they have accomplished, but more importantly on how much they have been blessed by their God, Allah. They will celebrate, likely with ice cream, the 3rd anniversary of their arrival in Canada. The Al Rahmouns have welcomed me into their lives and embraced me as a member of their family. I have had the privilege of witnessing the journey their new life in Canada and it has truly been a blessing in my life. I would like to share with you some of the highlights of how they have embraced their new life through the lens of faith, hope and love.

Hamida and Abdul are wonderful role models of faith to their children, not only as they teach them to pray and study the Quran, but more importantly in their actions. It is very important to both of them to give back to others in thanksgiving of all that has been given to them. They help other newcomer families who arrive and settle into their new homes. They drive them to appointments, help them find housing and medical resources and act as translators. They encourage their children to volunteer at their schools to help other newcomers, and they love to help out at our parish family movie nights. They all thrive on learning and they speak and understand English very well.

Education is the priority in this family. Hamida has worked hard to achieve her ESL levels and is now studying at Fanshawe College. The children all enjoy school so much that they often complain when they have a day off and they struggle with the summer break. The eldest daughter Hayfaa is in grade 10 at CCH in the ESL program and was awarded academic excellence for her grade nine studies. She even attended summer school this year and completed a regular math credit. All the children are achieving excellent marks in school. On Saturdays they attend Arabic school and twice a week they study Islam at the mosque. They all understand the importance of education.

The family often talks about the hope for the future. They all have big dreams of being successful in their careers as doctors, teachers, police officers and yes even a celebrity!!! It is truly beautiful listening to them talk about their hopes, something just 3 years ago they could not imagine.

It always amazes me how much the little things that I take for granted, they view as super exciting. For example, when they celebrate a birthday, they look forward to going to Dollarama to pick out a gift, or a trip to my swimming pool or Springbank Park is a highlight of their week.

The love that they have for each other is beautiful Sure they fight like most kids but they are quick to apologize to each other. I often hear them tell each other how much they love them. Family is so important and they do everything together. This past July they welcomed Abdul’s sister and her husband and 8 children as they were sponsored by the government and located to London. Words cannot describe the love I felt watching the families reunite.

Despite the hardships this family has endured in having to flee their beloved homeland, they have embraced their new life with true faith, hope and love. They have learned so much about our country and they love being Canadian. On behalf of the Al Rahmoun Family, thank you for saying “yes” to their sponsorship and please continue to pray for them, as I know that they are praying for all of you.