In the name of the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, One God, Amen!
Do you have a Moqomiya? Moqomiya is an instrument (wooden stick) used at church for standing support during the liturgy. If you go to church, you will often see the priests, and elders use Moqomiya as they stand for the entire church service, which can last four to six hours. In many ways, Mokomiya is like that friend you have who always gives you a hand, so you don’t fall or better like God who always supports you at your toughest times when you are tempted to give up. Moqomiya is also used as a tool when glorifying God with your voice and body (in Werb).
When I was twelve years old, I traveled for the first time outside of Eritrea with my family. I didn’t realize at that point that I was migrating. Thankfully, I became a refugee in a space that had many other Eritrean people. Later, I understood this is a common life for Eritreans. We often find ourselves stranded in different parts of Africa, Europe, Canada, and the USA as immigrants. I immigrated to Kenya in the hopes that it would be easier to go to the USA from there.
My first day in Kenya, I was bombarded with loud music, beautiful people with chocolate-colored skin, colorful clothing, lots of cars, street food, motorcycles that served as Taxi, and unfamiliar language. Up until that point, I had thought people outside of Eritrea only existed in movies. I was ignorant to the fact that there were other people, other cultures, other countries besides Eritrea. I was culture-shocked by this new experience to say the least.
Upon our arrival, we were greeted with two Eritrean boys who had come to pick us up from the airport. I have never been more excited to see other Eritrean people. Familiarity was comforting among all the unfamiliarity I was witnessing and experiencing. The boys took us to a priest’s house who was receiving us as his guests. On our ride from the airport, each time I spot a Habesha person I was both fascinated and comforted. When we reached the priest's house, they provided us with Injera and Shuro. This made me feel at home. I didn’t think I would ever see Injera again after I left Eritrea. Granted, the Injera was white and made of rice, which is a kind I haven’t seen or eaten before, but it was still Injera and I was grateful for it.
As we were eating, a tall, dark, handsome, man entered the room. I swear it was as if suddenly all the lights were turned on. I could see his halo! He is the most beautiful creature I have ever seen. More than anything I was astonished by his height. A tall man is not a common sighting in Eritrea or at least in the area where I used to live in. Truly, I enjoyed his presence in the room. This tall man was not only handsome, he was kind, generous, and funny. At that point, I was too young to understand love, but I couldn’t deny the fact that I was captivated by him.
Sometimes the odds work in your favor, the man became our roommate. I was sharing a space with the most captivating man on the planet. Of course, it didn’t completely work in my favor. This man I adore saw me as a baby, he was notably older than me and very mature for his age. Regardless, I showed him my love in the most innocent ways I knew how to love. I was always at his rescue, blindly defending him even when he was wrong. I followed him everywhere he went and listened to his brotherly advice.
Eritreans outside of Eritrea are never supposed to make a home because they don’t know when they will have to leave. Often, we forget our lives as nomads and create homes and families wherever we go. Such was my immigration story. I made a home in Kenya but the time for me to leave came. Our papers to go to the US were approved. A bittersweet moment. Of course, we were happy to finally be able to go to the US, but leaving Kenya was tough. How was my little heart suppose to go on without the captivating man? I thought this would be the end of my imaginary love story, but no one escapes destiny.
Twelve years later, I am to find that the man I adore was fated to marry me. Those years after I left Kenya were years of pain, laughter, growth, loss, confusion, and longing. As a teenager in the US, I combated issues of self-identity, peer pressure, spiritual warfare, and lack of purpose. In a country so far away from home, I was lost. I forgot who I was and my purpose. Glory forever to God, He never left my side, He had an angel watching over me. Even when we were miles apart, separated by sea, my childhood crush never lost contact. He always checked on me, and asked me about my spiritual life. At this point, I had given up hope that he would love me. I was lost and he always knew his purpose. Plus, he never stopped seeing me as a little girl. He was by my side as my brother, friend, and mentor guiding me towards the path of God. Even as I was making bad choices, not once did he judge me. He ignored my flaws and focused on my strengths. Ultimately, I too had to grow up. I finally started seen myself the way he saw me. As a child of God, who was created in His image, meant for His glory. It dawned on me, my body is a temple and a vice for glorifying God.
This great man whose name you still don’t know is my Moqomiya, he repeatedly caught me when I was too close to the edge, on the verge of falling. Eternally grateful for him, I always attempted to do something nice by offering to introduce him to my best friend or another holy girl from church. But he always refused to meet anyone, insisting he has someone he loves. Having never seen him with a girl, I always wondered who it was.
When I finished school, and finally got my life together to the point that I was able to take the Holy Communion, he confessed his love to me. The captivating man I adore confessed his love to me! He had asked my parents for my hands in marriage long time ago and was waiting for me. He didn’t want to be an obstacle in my education or complicate my life. Now, he would jokingly tell me he is like Jacob who waited for Rahel for fourteen years. This was a dream I couldn’t dare to dream. Although, I have loved him since the day I met him, I never thought I would be loved by him. He had passed many marriage opportunities and waited for many years just for me. This summer I get to marry my Moqomiya.
God works in mysterious ways, and His dreams for our lives are better than our dreams for our lives. When in doubt have faith, always have faith! My Moqomiya often tells me I am his monastery, that the purpose of our unity is for His glory, and to be holy like Him. To all my single ladies out there, marry your Moqomiya. The guy who supports you in your spiritual journey, inspires you to be holy, and reminds you your purpose is glorifying God. May we all live God’s will for our lives.
Glory to God,