We arrived in Halifax on October 31st, 2019. As we were finding our way out of the airport, I came across the open smile of a gentleman who offered me some candy. Since I was very young, I learned not to accept candy from strangers, of course. Minutes later I remembered that it was Halloween and that Canadians have a reputation for being nice!
Our bonds with FBCH began 2 weeks after we arrived. I was attending a First Baptist Church in south of Brazil. I have no idea how Baptist churches are organized – it seems confusing to me, but I took my chances and Googled “Baptist church” and the first result to come up was here. What really drawn my attention was your welcoming website. With a big “Our diversity helps us all expand our understandings of God” on the first page I thought “THIS is church”.
We came here without jobs, housing, winter clothes, no acquaintances and the exact amount of money required by the government. You provided us furniture, winter boots, help with our résumés, many rides and meals. We felt like distant cousins, who have not seen each other for some time but still part of the family. I want you to understand that even though we chose to be here and prepared ourselves, every detail of our lives changed. We didn’t know how to turn the shower on (the system is different). Where would I go to buy a screw? Isn’t Canadian Tire just for car accessories? Small problems become bigger when you are a newcomer.
I recently joined the Refugee and Newcomers Committee to be there for more newcomers and refugees, the later don’t really choose to leave their homelands and have the right to feel safe. I want to help them unravel knots that appear on our daily lives, inviting them into a routine with the church community, and to help them merge into the Canadian culture. We are still developing a plan, and we need to be ready for when they come. You know, the solidarity and affection we received when we came here to FBCH was much superior that we expected. This is why I have a strong desire to be able to give back on the same level.
We renovate our choice to be here in Halifax every day: When we see the ocean, when it’s colder than we ever felt, when you share part of your history, traditions and recipes with us! This is where we need to be right now. This is how our work with the First Baptist community begins.
Please, continue to support the Refugee and Newcomers Committee with prayers and your financial support. Also, watch for blog posts and photos, which will be available on the website, to learn more about our proposed efforts for refugees and newcomers like us. Thank you!