A Joyous Welcome!
On Tuesday, March 13, 2018 members of the North Delta Refugee Project (NDRP) steering committee from four North Delta churches, as well as family members who are already resident in Canada, made their way to the Vancouver International Airport. Our family was to arrive on a domestic flight from Toronto, the last leg in a 40 hour journey that started on Sunday night (PST) in Beirut, Lebanon.
Though the flight from Toronto was delayed because of snow, the feelings of those who waited in anticipation of the late plane were not at all dampened. Finally, as the clock showed just after 5:00 p.m. local time, the group assembled near the luggage carousel. All eyes strained toward the small entryway from which the passengers would appear.
As travellers began to come into view, the waiting cousins of our new friends began to migrate further and further toward the entryway, and finally began to run back and forth along the dividing wall keeping passengers separate from those who waited for them. A text came in — they were off the plane but had one more piece of paperwork to do with Immigration Canada officials.
Another pause and then…finally…they appeared. And the reunion of the two families was joyous and full of love.
The five (of the seven-member) NDRP folks stood back, watching in gratitude with tears in their eyes, as this dance of hugging played in front of them. What a moment! It became clear that this is why sponsorship groups sponsor families in succession!
Of course, the moment at the airport is not only the “end” of a journey, but the beginning of a new journey of friendship, support, and the establishment of a whole new life here. Members of the NDRP, and its participating congregations of St. Cuthbert Anglican, Trinity Lutheran, the North Delta Evangelical Free, and Crossroads United congregations, are honoured to be travelling with our new friends from Syria.
A Joyous Welcome!