Chapter 1: Noor is born
In July we received great news; Randa was pregnant! Noor Al Atmeh, a son, was born October 12, Thanksgiving Day. He is their first child born in Canada, and is a Canadian citizen!
In this picture he is two months old.
Chapter 2: Ibrahim arrives in Canada and is out of quarantine
In the spring of 2018 Ahmad asked for help to sponsor his young brother Ibrahim Al Atmeh (18) to Canada. The situation in Jordan was becoming untenable, and if Ibrahim returned to Syria he would be drafted into the army. In December, we agreed to sponsor Ibrahim, and our application was delivered April 2019. We were advised it would be at least two years before Ibrahim would be in Canada. Then the pandemic happened. We were sure of additional delays.
But, on October 6, 2020 IRCC sent a letter stating that Ibrahim Al Atmeh has a current, valid permanent resident visa for Canada and is able to travel to Canada, and shortly after we received his itinerary. We swiftly had to put together a travel and quarantine plan. He speaks no English, so how do we find him at the airport since we can’t go into the terminal. How do we get him to Hamilton? How do we arrange for quarantine? Fortunately, every challenge was resolved.
Ibrahim arrived in Toronto at 6:15 pm on Thursday, November 26. Dale drove him to Hamilton and he began quarantine in a kitchen unit at Visitors Inn which we had reserved for him. His room faced directly across Main Street toward the Al Atmeh’s building, and he and the family could visit from the sidewalk. Nonetheless, he chafed at the confinement as anyone would; Ahmad described it as a beautifully decorated jail cell.
Finally on December 10 his quarantine ended. Al and Sandy, Randa, and his nephews and niece (Ibrahim, Saleh and Sham) met him at the inn and brought him home. Finally, his real life in Canada can begin.
One final touch: Ahmad’s father is an artist and in 2019 asked Ahmad for a photo of MacNeill Baptist Church in order to paint it. Ibrahim brought the portrait with him in his luggage and presented it to us December 13. We will mount it prominently in our church.