Getting Married Far From Home

When Rhea and Ismail Fernando shared the news that they would be getting married, their friends Amabel Sibug and Elisa Estrada responded by issuing an invitation of their own.

“They told us that we need to receive the grace of God” and be married in the church, said Rhea.

Rhea and Ismail are among the tens of thousands of Filipino migrant workers in Jordan, who left the Philippines in search of stable employment. Amabel and Elisa are members of the Teresian Association, a Catholic community of lay people committed to contributing to human and social transformation. They commit all of their time to support the Filipino migrant workers — through formation, social assistance and a faith community — who face harsh working and living conditions far from home.

Inspired by Amabel and Elisa, Rhea and Ismail began catechism in preparation for marriage. In the process, they discovered that Rhea, who was a churchgoer, had no records in the Philippines to attest that she had received the sacraments of initiation, that is, baptism, first Communion and confirmation, required for marriage in the Catholic Church.

So, on their wedding day, Rhea was baptized and confirmed, as was Ismail.

Having been married in the church, Rhea says God is now at the center of her marriage and she and Ismail shine “a light” as a couple.

“[Our] love is now in God’s grace,” says Rhea.

Listen to Rhea’s testimony in the video below by Lebanese journalist Raghida Skaff.

Then, read more about how faith helps Filipino migrant workers navigate the challenges they face working in a foreign land in “Far From Home” in the March 2023 edition of ONE.

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