In Pursuit of Knowledge

Granted a scholarship to Saskatchewan University, Christabell flew first to Toronto to meet relatives who convinced her to stay.

“They took me to U of T and they showed the admissions office my transcript and the offer from Saskatoon, and then U of T said I could study here.”

Christabell arrived in Canada with a scholarship, 1986. Image courtesy of Christabell Selvalingham

It was also during this time that she got married. Like many marriages, there was a period of adjustment. Christabell subsequently received a better scholarship from the University of Windsor and, while writing her thesis she decided to take advantage of a period of peace in Sri Lanka and take her newborn daughter to meet family there. Yet the civil unrest soon resumed and Christabell and her baby were stranded in Sri Lanka for four and a half months. She and her husband petitioned the Canadian government to intercede.

“Because my daughter was born Canadian, the Windsor MP worked it out and he brought us home… we travelled from a small boat, then a big ship, then we went to the capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo, then home to Canada.”

She and her husband had sold their jeep and their house in order to bring Christabell and their daughter back to Canada. This experience prompted her to seek Canadian Citizenship; she knew now she’d never return to Sri Lanka.

“It was a very, very, very difficult time. But my faith was there so we were provided for. I’m so grateful to Canada.”

She also cherished a quote from British missionary William Carey: “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.”