Cascading bursts of fiery red, glistening blue and searing white arching fireballs form an umbrella overhead, in syncopation with a driving drum beat, and people of all ages and all nations stare up and smile peacefully. Some of this group are holding new citizenship certificates after swearing their loyalty to the Queen and to Canada. We open our arms, our hearts, our churches, our businesses and sometimes even our homes to those who long for freedom and hope.
I have lived in many different lands – Africa, America and South America especially – but it is here, under the waving red maple leaf, I have felt the most welcome and have seen the most welcome. I’ve worked with refugees in Metro Vancouver and seen over 400 from 60 different countries welcomed into the shelters we set up for New Hope. Thousands more have been welcomed by others.
I’ve watched wide-eyed children gasping in wonder at the freedom to play, to learn and to stare at the beauty of mountains and flowers and trees. My heart shivers with delight when our seniors reach out and welcome newcomers as family and the refugee responds with equal enthusiasm. God has welcomed us and it is our delight to welcome others into our lives and perhaps one day into his kingdom.
J.A. Taylor relished eighteen years working with missionary kids in Kenya. He now pastors in a Vancouver church which welcomes almost fifty different nationalities into its multicultural mosaic. Two of his published novels were selected as finalists in The Word Awards by the Word Guild of Canada, one in the area of Christian Romance and one in the area of Young Adult literature. Taylor writes with Faithwriters and has over fifty editor’s choice awards, with stories published in anthologies. He is an established writer for Light Magazine on a monthly basis and publishes blogs and Faith Now contributions.