AKorDian – We Are Citizens

On February 21, 2019, we were sworn in as citizens of the Dominion of Canada – this country’s formal name given at the confederation of this vast and remarkable country in 1867. This means we have finally become true AKorDians that our then (2013) eight year old coined for our identity (Read the About page).

It was an emotional ceremony for the 65 of us from 26 countries who were now becoming citizens of this beautiful country. The Judge presiding over the swearing-in ceremony was himself an immigrant from Pakistan. His speech, pointing out the fact that we are a diverse group of people from countries spread across the globe coming to become citizens of one country, was moving.

For some, becoming a Canadian citizen means that they finally have the freedom that they did not have in their own country of origin. For others, it may mean that they have opportunities to rise up in a society that sees all peoples as equal under the laws of this land.

The current Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, tried to sum up what it means to be a Canadian shortly after he took office in 2015:

There is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada….There are shared values — openness, respect, compassion, willingness to work hard, to be there for each other, to search for equality and justice. Those qualities are what make us the first postnational state.[1]

If the United States is a “melting pot,” then Canada is a “mosaic.” This can be seen in Toronto, the most ethnically diverse city in the world[2] , with over 230 different nationalities and half of its population having been born outside of Canada. That translates into great authentic and fusion ethnic foods and drinks! The picture looks beautiful from a distance. But when viewed a bit more closely, it could show the “grout” between the tiles. Vancouver is sometimes referred to as “Hongcouver” by those who want to highlight the fact that so many Chinese from Hong Kong have relocated to that scenic port city since the late 1990’s.

For us, we are thrilled to be citizens of the Dominion of Canada! We have traveled across this country and seen the beauty and the majesty of the Pacific Coast, the grandeur of the Rockies, the splendor of the Great Lakes, and the wonders of Atlantic Canada, and fallen in love! We are also thankful that we did not have to give up our citizenship in the United States of America, and that we are ethnically Korean. Yes, our daughters were born in Florida, therefore, they are technically not Korean (they have never set foot in the country), but because of their “looks” they are considered Korean before American (here, I am including both the United States and Canada). So, we call ourselves AKorDian (American – in the sense of a citizen of United States, Korean, and Canadian).

However, as Christians, “… our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” (Philippians 3:20-21). We have to admit, there are times being a “foreigner” is hard. Even though we may legally be citizens of the United States and Canada, because of our looks (all of us look very Korean), we are constantly asked, “where are you from?” – meaning, “You don’t look like us, so what is your country?” Don’t get me wrong, I do understand that there is, all too often, no maliciousness when people are asking this – they are simply curious about our origin. However, as understanding as we try to be, there are days when this just gets tiresome. The reminder that in heaven, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise (Galatians 3:28-29)” comforts us.

That’s in heaven. So, while we are on earth, we strive to be good citizens of the countries that God takes us to. And in those countries that we do not have citizenship, we will work to be the ambassadors of Korea, the United States, and Canada. We are AKorDians. We are also citizens of heaven. Therefore, we live to represent Christ with love in the midst of our strengths and weaknesses, so that those who see us will see Christ in us and give glory to God!

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