Imani's Story

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Life became very threatening for *Imani. She was living under constant observation in her country. “It was a matter of life and death” she explains.

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Unsure if she would make it from one day to the next she made the brave choice to flee her country. At 20 years old she made her way to the UK. When she arrived she was visited by two Welcomers from the local church. “They took the time to listen to me, I was a stranger but they helped me anyway. Now we are good friends.” 

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Imani was welcomed into the city and invited into community and the local church. "There is a sense of family, people who are like you and me. We are all the same, just from different places." There are many people like Imani all over the UK waiting, behind closed doors, to be noticed, welcomed and befriended.

Throughout the Bible we see Jesus speak truth about the impact of offering welcome to those on the margins of society. " I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me." - Matthew 25:35. We have the incredible opportunity and privilege to make a difference to the lives of many people seeking refuge from around the world. 

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God loves the refugee and wants to transform their life. We believe we all have a part to play in God's story. This Christmas we are launching You. Me. And the refugee to raise funds to equip church communities to welcome, support and include refugees in the life of their community. In 2018 we want to see 1000 refugees like Imani welcomed into community. We need to raise  £20,000 to bring this vision to life. 

Click here to join in with our vision and donate today. 

Together we can be #GoodNewsForRefugees

*Name changed for confidentiality purposes

Simona's Story

 

“Since coming to the UK, I have met some beautiful people. They did not know me but they helped me anyway. Over time I formed great friendships with these people and they have made a huge impact on my life."

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"I started to go to church not long after I arrived in the UK. In my country, the people are very flamboyant, and church was a huge celebration. I found it hard to find the right church for me in the UK, as it was very different to what I was used to.

I have been going to two churches, and both bring something different to my spiritual growth. I go to one Nigerian church which is fun, and I study the Bible with them in a mid-week group which I really enjoy. A kind couple who had been supporting me took me along to Community Church Derby Both churches have made me feel very welcomed.

When I found out that the church supported refugees it touched me on a personal level. The church accommodates refugees through a translation service. We also sing songs in different languages. This type of energetic celebration reminded me of church back at home.

A lot of people are very empathetic and compassionate. They show it through taking time to talk and engage with me, asking how my week has been and offering prayer. When there is a celebration of a nation or awareness-raising occasion for refugees they talk about it. There is so much happening. I met a lot of new people at church. It's beautiful. I never feel out of place there. I’ve often felt out of place since I came to the country but when I go there I don’t feel out of place. That’s very important to me.”

Simona’s* story reflects the undeniable impact of welcoming and supporting refugees to rebuild their lives and find purpose in their new communities.

Could your church play its part in welcoming refugees? Contact us at info@welcomechurches.org. We would love to support you on the journey to becoming Good News for Refugees.

*Name changed to protect the identity of individuals

Saadiya's Story*

Saadiya: "My husband was not good. He was 33 years old and I was 17. He insulted me and hated me. He did not like my girls as he wanted boys. I had many problems with my husband. I went to one organisation to ask for help and they refused. My husband was a political member, so they were afraid to help. I tried to make a case against my husband, but it was very difficult to stay in my country with my children...

Emma's Story

Emma's Story

Emma: "Welcoming refugees and asylum seekers is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done, but also one of the most challenging. Nobody can prepare you for what the next few moments hold as you’re stood waiting on the doorstep of a stranger, waiting to greet them for the first time with the Welcome Box. Clutching a box full of love, compassion, vulnerability, hope and friendship, I realised the impact I could have on the lives of refugees and asylum seekers...