This all started with a little boy just a little younger than you and your brother.
This entire day, it happened because of Aylan's tiny, lifeless body washed up on the shore of the Mediterranean.
And quite honestly, sweet girl? I was discouraged for once. This optimist wasn't so hopeful this time around. I didn't let my heart hope for even a second... I thought I knew that Aylan's photo would cause a lot of retweets but not a lot of actual action.
I had accepted that all that would come across the air to Canada from Syria would be more stories of despair.
Yet here you are.
I suppose I forgot that there are good people in the world. I forgot that there are many, many people just waiting for an opportunity to birth Love into this world.
Because yesterday, sweet girl, I saw Love birthed into the world like I've never seen before. I saw the Body of Christ come together and come alive and bear His image to you and your family in one of the most beautiful ways I have ever seen.
I can only imagine how confused you must feel right now... They told you that you were coming to Canada, and then you got on a plane, travelled 16+ hours and were put up in a strange hotel in a strange city for the night. Then in the morning, you were shuffled out of that room and told to wait in the lobby.
Your poor parents were told nothing of a sponsoring group... Nothing of the God-sent apartment that had been rented for you or the sweet family with beds made in their spare room just waiting to host you for the week while the aforementioned apartment's paperwork goes through. Nothing of the team of people who have sourced furniture and found Arabic-speaking doctors and researched schools... none of it.
I can just imagine how disorienting this must feel. Like maybe this was all a bad idea after all.
And when I saw the tears and relief in your parents' kind, weary, and courageous eyes as our translator told them that we had been preparing to welcome them for months, my heart could've just about burst.
When the whole lot of us huddled into that conference room of that hotel - the whole mismatched group of us, beautifully brought together because of a desire to welcome you - and your papa said that thing about feeling like we are your new Canadian family? Oh, little girl, I think even the toughest of us were tearing up.
Because this is it! This is the Love we get to share in the midst of a broken world. And how could we ever say no to this? How could we dare to miss this?
And then we went to that restaurant serving up meals from your homeland and okay, the whole party of us? We were hard to miss.
So a regular at that restaurant leans to the waitress and asks What on earth is going on over there? and the waitress tells her the bits of our story that she's gathered in all of five minutes of us being there and soon after that regular customer leaves, that waitress is over at our table letting us know that our entire tab had been picked up by that stranger.
But it didn't stop there. That waitress herself picked up the tab for our coffee afterwards, and the owner sent you home with a box full of meals on the house for your first week in Canada... A taste of home to help with the homesickness.
And I'm realizing that we live in an ocean of grace. We live in a world where people are ready and waiting to birth Love into this world, and we can believe in the hatred we see on the news, or we can believe in Love.
Dear sweet little girl, it is just all too fitting that your family is ringing in the new year in a new country with a fresh start lying ahead. Yet I can only imagine how tough this coming year will be for you. It will be a long process of getting accustomed to life here - one that will at times be messy and frustrating, yet also, we hope, fulfilling and incredibly beautiful.
Know that we, your new Canadian family, will be there with you every step of the way.
Because sweet girl - we believe in Love and we pray that you and your beautiful family will come to believe in Love, too.
Yes, the first of two Syrian refugee families that our church family is sponsoring landed in Canada this week! We met them yesterday, New Year's Eve - and how fitting is that?! Your prayers are mightily appreciated as we step into this year-long journey together. #WeWelcomeRefugees
*As of now, our family prefers not to be named publicly on the internet.