ADVERTISING
 
Thursday, August 22   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 

POLL
Society
Should Christians join social protests?



SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Dave Burke
 

Asylum in the North East of England

I can tell you that people whose presence I once resented have become good friends. That is what the gospel does!

FEATURES AUTHOR Dave Burke 14 AUGUST 2019 10:10 h GMT+1
Anglo-Iranian team wild camping.

Sunderland’s Globe Café began as a meeting place for international students but during 2015-16 we began receiving increasing numbers of asylum seekers (people who have applied for refugee status) and refugees (people who have received it).



Offering a free meal, friendship and games, we were a magnet for Iraqis, Kurds, Eritreans and Sudanese who had been shipped into low-rent northern towns by the UK Government.



Initially, I was resentful of their presence. The students left as the number of asylum seekers increased, our visitors were almost all Muslim men and very intimidating to female members of the team, and their English was so poor that making friends was difficult. I remember one evening praying, “Lord, how can we get rid of these people?” He answered my prayer by changing my heart.



 



Food at the Sunderland Globe Café.

Some of our team began sharing the gospel in Arabic using a resource called Al Masera – a video based evangelism tool aimed at Muslims. This led to more conversations about the gospel with serious minded Arabs. About this time, we were receiving fewer Syrians and Iraqis, but larger numbers of Iranians were arriving in Sunderland. This led to a bit of a breakthrough.



Some of the Iranians were already professing Christians, but without much knowledge of the faith. Others were very keen to find out more about Christianity. It is possible that these people were just trying to enhance their asylum claim, if that was the case then why weren’t the other nationalities doing the same? It seemed to me that God was at work in our young Iranian friends who were utterly disillusioned with Islam yet spiritually thirsty and wiling to hear the gospel.



 



Sunderland parkrun.

Real friendships began to grow with other nationalities too, especially as we did more social things outside Globe Café. We take a group every week to do our local parkrun, the Eritreans started coming too, and a Kurdish guy. Our east Africans always come in first, and that attracted the interest of local running clubs. Our Eritreans are now training seriously with Sunderland Harriers!



Alongside this, we have trained our Iranian friends to reach their fellow countrymen using Al Masera in Farsi. A group is running every Saturday night at the moment and attracts between sixteen and twenty people.



 



THE STORY OF S.



S. is a fruit farmer from Iran (I won’t give you his name). He arrived in the UK in 2017 and quickly became part of the Globe community. He had left that country for political reasons (though there is usually an element of economic migration with all our friends). He became a Christian during his stay in Sunderland but was refused asylum on his first application. On appeal, he was refused again and lost all UK state support and accommodation.



We had helped S. with his asylum application, but knew very little about the process. We are helping him to re-apply on new grounds and bringing a lot more experience – as well as an attentive lawyer – to bear on the problem.



Meanwhile, S. lives in our home and is supported financially by some people in the church. He has become our chief interpreter, his English has improved exponentially during his stay in the UK, and he is in effect a spiritual leader of our Iranian community. He runs the Saturday night Al Masera group. His family in Iran have disowned him and he is still living on a knife edge until he re-submits an asylum claim later in August.



The Globe people have had so much love and support from our fellowship. My wife, Cathie has been so helpful to them that they call her ‘Mum’! I don’t know what they call her grumpy husband, but I can tell you that people whose presence I once resented have become good friends. That is what the gospel does!



Dave Burke serves with a church in Sunderland (UK).


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - Asylum in the North East of England
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels

An interview with the socio-political representative of the European Evangelical Alliance about how evangelical Christians work at the heart of the European Union.

 
Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

 
Testimony: Wildfires near Athens Testimony: Wildfires near Athens

Nico Spies, a Christian worker in Athens, gives details about the wildfires in Greece.

 
Arie de Pater: Refugees deserve a fair and efficient process Arie de Pater: Refugees deserve a fair and efficient process

The Brussels representative of the European Evangelical Alliance offers a Christian perspective on the crisis: “We can’t reduce people to just a number that needs to be controlled”.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
IFES World Assembly: ‘Messengers of Hope’ IFES World Assembly: ‘Messengers of Hope’

Students, graduates and staff of the global evangelical student movement reflected together on how the books of Luke and Acts apply to today's universities.

 
Christians at work - the missing link in fulfilling the Great Commission Christians at work - the missing link in fulfilling the Great Commission

Photos of the Lausanne Movement Global Workplace Forum, celebrated in Manila.

 
European Freedom Network Bridge 2019 conference European Freedom Network Bridge 2019 conference

Images of the fifth EFN gathering. Experts, activists, counsellors and church leaders met in Pescara, Italy.

 
Glimpses of the ELF 2019 conference Glimpses of the ELF 2019 conference

Evangelical leaders from across Europe meet in Wisla (Poland) to network for mission in a range of fields. The vision is to renew the biblical church and evangelise Europe.

 
‘Small churches, big potential for transformation’ ‘Small churches, big potential for transformation’

Photos of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance’s annual gathering “Idea 2019”, in Murcia. Politicians and church leaders discussed about the role of minorities in society.

 
VIDEO Video
 
How has Christianity influenced the modern world? How has Christianity influenced the modern world?

Paul Copan, Chair of Philosophy and Ethics of Palm Beach Atlantic University, explains how many key features of Western civilization, are the legacy of the biblical faith being lived out by believers in society.

 
Chinese Homecoming Gathering: Thousands say 'we’re one' Chinese Homecoming Gathering: Thousands say 'we’re one'

Christians from China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and North America, from different ethnic backgronds, came together to pray for unity as the body of Christ.

 
How have global missions changed over the last century? How have global missions changed over the last century?

The centre of gravity of Christianity has shifted from Europe to Africa, says Nana Yaw Offei Awuku, Director of the Lausanne Younger Leaders Generation initiative.

 
Christian organisations call to pray for new British Prime Minister Christian organisations call to pray for new British Prime Minister

Representatives of the National Day of Prayer, the Evangelical Alliance and CARE express the need for churches to pray for the new leadership of a country divided by Brexit and other issues.

 
GWF in Manila: “Kingdom building requires global collaboration” GWF in Manila: “Kingdom building requires global collaboration”

850 from 108 countries met for the Global Workplace Forum, June 25-29. The gathering was organised by the Lausanne Movement. “Every workplace is a place of ministry”.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.