Recently the St. Mary Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church in Canada honored Liqe Kahinat Misale Engeda and his wife Mrs. Abebech Hunegaw for their exemplary work of spreading the Gospel of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church across Canada. This well-deserving recognition for outstanding achievement was held on May 7, 2022, in Toronto, Canada.
History often reveals acts of bravery, gains, losses, deceit, love, and failures of past events. Such happenstances are usually told posthumously often after the actors of good and evil have become deceased. Contrary to the global norm, Misale and Abebech’s unparalleled missionary work and philanthropist acts are acknowledged while the makers of history are sitting among their followers.
In recent times, Ethiopians have become accustomed to the storytelling of the accomplishments and failures of religious and community leaders, and political and military personalities worthy of merits after their subjects depart the blemished earth. Certainly, the St. Mary Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church was able to break the habit of posthumous recognition of fellow Ethiopians.
We are cognizant that the past and present must be documented and acknowledged for the living and succeeding generations to learn from the failures and successes of the past. While failures are corrected, successes must be consolidated so that mistakes are not repeated. For this to happen we have to develop a culture of telling the only truth that matters most. Facts, not fiction, ought to be presented with the utmost exactitude. This way it helps society to appreciate those who did good to their nation. The narration of truth based on facts is not only spiritually holy but is also a significant instrument of galvanizing our history and our visions. Giving due credence is a source of lessons learned to the living and orientation to aspiring generations to carry our faith forward.
Misale and Abebech, are a migrant couple who accomplished a great deal under difficult circumstances. Alien culture cultures and languages never cowed them. Undeterred by hostile weather conditions, starkly different from their upbringing, they continued to spread God’s message to their community and beyond.
Living under a complex paradox, they performed acts of bravery and spiritualism. They are unique role models and perfect examples of dedication and perseverance. Their extraordinary achievements are exemplified over four decades of meritorious service to God. Certainly, in the Canadian culture of recognition, Misale and Abebech would have been inducted into the hall of fame of Canada.
It is with humble conviction that we suggest the two be recommended to PM Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Government for the Order of Canada award as outstanding models and successful migrant emissaries of peace, love, and tranquility. They dedicated the majority of their lives to peace, and coexistence under the auspices of multiculturalism and inclusiveness. A recognition ceremony that garnered over two thousand Canadians from coast to coast undoubtedly attests to our call. The event was indeed a national and religious pride of tremendous significance to Canada and migrant Canadians.
The St. Mary Orthodox Church of Toronto must be commended for organizing such a historic acknowledgment ceremony in a city that neither sleeps nor caves into the COVID-19 pandemic. The recognition ceremony was an astonishing event that will be talked about for years to come. Such acts of benevolence ought to be emulated for thousands of Ethiopians who deserve our recognition.
Among the multitude of program events, the most outstanding was the book ‘በካናዳ የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ቤተ ክርስቲያን አመሠራርት አጭር ታሪክ’ authored by Mr. Abel Admasu which chronicled Misale’s arduous journey of spiritualism and missionary work and the ascent of the church to a cathedral level of prominence. The book documents the ups and downs, the fight between good and evil that transcended forty years of the couple’s joint struggle and advocacy for orthodoxy. The way the author portrayed Misale and Abebech’s spiritual journey transcends many countries including Ethiopia, Jamaica, Canada, America, Australia, Israel, and England, and across five continents of Africa, the Caribbean, North America, Europe, and the Middle East mesmerizes the reader. Mr. Admasu has documented the church’s story in 283 pages without bias and with unobjectionable evidence. His book speaks truth to power with supportive images of events & personalities, correspondence letters, with carefully and religiously worded testimonies of facts. Admasu truly proved the old adage that states ‘a picture speaks a thousand words and written testimonies last for generations.’
It is an excellent documentary that will be passed on to generations to come. We strongly recommend his book be translated into English for the sake of the 2nd generation of Ethiopians in North America and Ethiopian Orthodox followers around the world. We owe the author Abel a debt of gratitude.
Thank you, Toronto, for honoring the Reverend Misale Engeda and Mrs. Abebech Hunegaw in Toronto. It was indeed an honor for our family to physically witness such a grandiose acknowledgment event facing father Misale and Mrs. Abebech by a video link. God bless you all.
PS: special thank you to Dr. Mulu Geletu’s family who hosted our family during the event and presented us Abel’s wonderful book.
Semaneh Tamrat Jemere
Tewabech Tiruye Wolde