SELAM ABRAHA IS HELPING CHURCHES TO REACH OUT TO DISPLACED PEOPLE ARRIVING IN LONDON
I came to London in 2009 and I’m now working as a missionary with asylum-seekers in east London. As I am an immigrant, I have empathy for asylum-seekers who come to London from all over the world – Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Iran, Iraq.
As I visit them in the hotels or in hostels where they are placed, I see that so many are traumatised by the things they have experienced in their home countries. Their journeys to safety are often dangerous, facing the constant fear of death, and complete uncertainty and helplessness. Even when here they face stress as they wait to find out if they will be granted or refused the right to stay. All this affects their physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
WE NO LONGER NEED TO CROSS OCEANS TO SHARE THE LOVE OF GOD WITH PEOPLE FROM IRAN OR SUDAN. WE CAN SIMPLY CROSS THE STREET
One woman I know lives in a hotel and is six months pregnant. On her way here, in the desert, she fell and broke her leg. When I met her she was in pain and suffering trauma.
I put her in contact with a local church that could care for her. Now the church has come alongside her, giving support. They have helped her access the maternity unit and she is so grateful for what the church has done for her.
I daily need strength because hearing these distressing stories and bearing other people’s trauma is not easy. Because I am limited, I can feel sad, so I ask for the Lord to give me strength and the right words to say for the individuals.
Yet there is great hope amid the pain.
My joy and my heart’s desire is to make Jesus’ name known to asylum-seekers and to make disciples.
Many asylum-seekers have never before heard the good news of Jesus Christ. It is an incredible opportunity. We no longer need to cross oceans to share the love of God with people from Iran or Sudan. We can simply cross the street.
We do this, not out of a sense of duty, but because we love God. Because we love God – absolute love – and we love our neighbours, we share the good news with them.
Now church leaders in Tower Hamlets are beginning to work together to welcome asylum-seekers to London. The Lord has opened the door and we are praying to share with the churches our burden to know their community, who lives there and why they have come, and to reach them.