Folks at First – Dieubeni Tabio

An interview with Dieubeni Calvin Tabio by Esther Wiens

Esther: Tabio, I know your first home was in Africa. Please share with us something about your country, your home, and your family.

Tabio: I come from Central African Republic, a country of 620,000 square kilometers and a population of 5 million people; our native language is French. It is a landlocked country located in central Africa. I was born into a Christian family of eight children of whom I am the second eldest. My father who was a doctor and a pastor too, passed away in 2010. My mother, who is a housewife, now lives with my sister.

E. I know that you have a university degree. Where did you go to school and what was your major?

T. For my education, I went to the Grace Brethren High School in Yaloke, and then to the University of Bangui, where I received a teacher’s certificate and a Bachelor’s degree in rural economics. From there I went to China to attend the Southwestern University of Finance in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, where I received a Master’s Degree in Agricultural Economical Management in 2010. July and August 2017 19

E. What prompted you to come to Canada? Is your life here what you expected it to be? What is the best part? Furthermore, you must also have some frustrations living here. What are they?

T. Well, peace prompted me to come to Canada. There is a civil war going on in my country, which has resulted in a constantly worsening situation. I felt it was hopeless: there was no resolution in sight, and a person could barely survive. So, I decided to look for a better country. Since Canada is one of the best countries in the world, I decided to come here, arriving on July 4 th 2011. What I expected was peace. It has not been an easy peace for me because I am separated from my family. But God has made a way for me, where there previously was no way. I am proud to be living in Canada: I have a job as a forklift operator in a warehouse belonging to the Loblaws company. Also, I have found peace, security, and the better life I was looking for. I want to share these life experiences with my family.

E. How did you happen to come to First Baptist Church? I’m glad that you are serving by singing in the choir. What could we do to make you feel fully at home?

T. When I arrived here in Regina, I looked for a church of my denomination, which is the Grace Brethren Church, but couldn’t find one. I spoke to Gibril Butoy Guranka, who was my housemate at that time, about the problem, and he took me to First Baptist. During my first visit, I discovered that we share the same belief about the Bible, that it is the only Holy Bible. So I said to myself, “This is where I belong.” I started enjoying the services, the hymns, the children’s stories, and the sermons, which talk directly to me and make me ready for the coming week. July and August 2017 20 I am glad for the opportunity that Pastor John gives to me to serve my GOD by singing in the choir.

E. I know you have a wife and daughter in Africa. Tell us about your wife: how did you meet one another? What would you like us to know about her? Please introduce her to us so that when she comes here we’ll know who it is we are welcoming.

T. Gloria is the wife GOD has given to me and I love her so much. She is an open person, and I’m sure you will like her. She is presently living with my brother who is a refugee in Senegal. My wife also studied in China and has a B.A. Degree in International Economics.

E. How old is your little girl? What about her makes you most proud and happy? What dreams do you have for her?

T. My daughter is named Grace because she is a grace of God to us. She is a happy girl who likes to talk. When she sees me on Skype, she says, “Hello daddy.” And if she notices that I have a drink in my hand or something to eat, she says, “Give to me.” Her favourite song ever since she was born is, “Our father who art in heaven.” My dream is for her to become a nurse one day, so she can help people.

E. I understand that your wife has been accepted to emigrate to Canada. What did the immigration officials say to you in response to your application to include your little girl?

T. They have both been accepted to come to Canada. After the hearing the official said, ‘Mr. Tabio, congratulations, your application has been accepted. We will contact you.” I expect that my family will arrive in the next 5 months. July and August 2017 21

E. How can we as your church family pray for you and your family at this time?

T. First, I want to thank all of you from the pastoral staff to each church member for your prayers and all the things you have done for me. May God bless you and reward you all. I am happy to be a member of FBC. It’s really a place to belong. For this time, please continue to pray for the arrival in Canada of my family. Pray also that we might remain standing firm in our faith in Jesus Christ.

T. Happy Canada Day to everyone; peace and long life. God bless Canada!!!

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