Through our work with the local church in London, we bring light to darkness and offer the comfort of community to those who may never see their families again.
In addition to our work on the ground with churches, we have also been equipping Christians across London and beyond to welcome, care for, and share the gospel with displaced people.
We know that often Christians have the desire to welcome people who have recently arrived in the UK, but don’t know how they should do this.
It is important that we don’t just see people as victims or problems to be fixed. Each person has been created in God’s image to contribute to cultivating creation and has something to offer to us and our community. We should be careful not to overlook this as we seek to serve.
When befriending people from a culture different to our own, we are likely to encounter significant challenges. It’s important to keep praying for wisdom as we navigate these, and that we would become more aware of any cultural barriers we may be creating for those we are seeking to love.
It can take many different forms. Often people might prefer you to visit their space, giving them the honour of hosting, rather than being hosted by you. Or it could mean giving people the opportunity to cook a meal in your kitchen.
Although not everyone will want to hear about the gospel of Jesus straight away, they will rarely turn down an opportunity to be prayed for. Listening well helps us pray meaningfully into the situations that our friends are facing and open up opportunities to point to Jesus Christ.
As we grow in curiosity and friendship with displaced people, we must be aware of the dangers of being intrusive. Asking too many questions about hurtful memories or the events that led to their displacement may cause people to relive their trauma without the support around them that they need to process the events.
Jesus says, ‘If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing’ (John 15:5). Apart from Jesus, we cannot make a meaningful positive impact in the lives of displaced people. The best thing we can do for a person displaced by conflict or persecution is to enter into their lives, full of the Spirit and sharing the hope of eternal life in Christ as well as our lives.
It is right for us to cry out against the injustice and trauma that people face. But there is a hope that goes beyond finding a new home in this world. Scripture tells us that the movement of people is no accident, in fact Paul tells us that, “God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us” (Acts 17:27).
Perhaps God has brought people seeking refuge into our local communities to hear the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection for the very first time.
It’s vital that we take hold of this amazing opportunity to make disciples of displaced people, but we need to do this in full confidence that God alone can save.
Let’s take Jesus at his word that the harvest is plentiful and pray for workers to go and invite displaced people into a new home, both now in our churches, and for all eternity.