From ‘Hello’ to House Church: Iris’ story

God is at work amongst the people coming to the UK seeking refuge. This is the story of when Lindsey, one of the Welcome Churches Training Associates, met Iris*. By simply saying hello and offering to pray, Lindsey was able to see God’s power at work in Iris’ life..

When we first met Iris*, a Nigerian woman raising an 11-year-old daughter alone, she avoided us, thinking we were the police. However, after hearing that we were offering to pray for her and her family, she asked us to come back in two hours so she could have time to gather everyone who lived in her housing community to hear the story we wanted to share. When we returned we were immediately welcomed in and we discovered she lived in a charity-funded house with multiple other African immigrant mothers with children. As the women gathered, we shared the story of the sinful woman from Luke 7, the woman who cried at and anointed Jesus’ feet.

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One of the roommates, an Eritrean, said she wanted to be near to God but felt unsure of the difference from what she’d heard in the past. She decided that night to surrender her life to Jesus. Another woman, a Nigerian, the next day decided that it was time for her to surrender to Jesus and be baptised. We read through Acts 8:26-42 and she learned that she could be baptised anywhere there was water. All it took was an Uber ride and a call to a friend in the city who had a bathtub! That night, she was baptised by Iris in a bathtub in London!

We read through Acts 8:26-42 and she learned that she could be baptised anywhere there was water

From then on we began to meet at the home, gathering together to care for each other, eat together, lovingly hold one another accountable to goals set on following Jesus’ commands, read new Biblical content and learn from that story, setting new goals, and praying over each other to be bold and live out the truth of this new knowledge. Iris, being a two year old believer and the oldest woman in the house was the natural leader of the group, and we modelled for her how to lead out the group, giving her more responsibility as weeks went on.

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In three weeks, we were meeting more than once per week, learning that Jesus wanted his followers to be the ones to tell our neighbours about His love. The women followed that command and knocked on neighbours doors to offer care by praying for them. Many asked for us to return to tell them a story. How incredible that we are only three weeks into our relationship with these powerful women, but they already have confidence in the great things the Lord will do through them.

God is on the move amongst the people he is bringing to the UK to seek refuge! Welcome Churches wants to see every refugee welcomed by the local Church, giving them the freedom to know Jesus personally should they choose to - a freedom they may not have had in their home country. We provide training and resources to churches to help you do this. To find out how you can get involved, contact us today.

*Names changed to protect identity

Beth Rowland