ADVERTISING
 
Tuesday, June 19   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 
Flecha
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

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

POLL
Migration
Do Christians in your country have a Bible-based understanding of how migrants should be treated?




SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Refugees in Europe
 

“Many in our church do not speak Arabic, but have a jolly good time with refugees”

Robert Strong (OM Netherlands) on the experience of opening the church building to offer tea and a safe place changes the perspective of Christians and creates opportunities to speak about God.

AUTHOR Joel Forster , Belén Díaz CATANIA 25 APRIL 2016 12:15 h GMT+1
coffee, Offering coffee to a migrant is a first step to start a friendship. Photo: Giuliano Grifantes (Flickr, CC)

Many Christians in Europe believe the arrival of asylum seekers to their countries, cities and neighbourhoods, is not a threat but an opportunity.



Of course, meeting families coming from a very different cultural background can be challenging, and many questions of identity come up.



But regular church members with no experience at all can make a massive difference in the life of a refugee, believes Robert Strong (OM Netherlands). He has lived in the Middle East for many years, knows Arabic cultures well and says it is much easier to connect with refugees and asylum seekers than what most Christian believers think.



Read full interview after the video.





 



Question. Can you share an example of how your local church got involved with refugees?



Answer. Just about a month and a half ago, in December 2015, my wife and I noticed that a lot of the refugees that are living in a camp outside of our town go shopping at the Lidl every Tuesday.



Our church happens to be 200 meters away from that place, so we though: “What can we do?” The church is empty on Tuesdays, the refugees are all over the place, the Lidl doesn’t know what to do with them, because they hang out, they are waiting for taxis, they are trying to get their bikes all geared up, back to the village where they are living, which is 10 km away. It’s rainy, it’s cold…



So, we asked: “What can we do?” We made a short proposal to our church. Why don’t we open our church, give them coffee, tea, sit down and listen to their stories, play games, give them a place where they can rest, maybe use the bathroom; before they go back to the camp?



So we asked the church board, and they said: “Yes, you can start.” So at the beginning of January, we started, and the first day, we had 30 visitors. People just loved it! And since then, every Tuesday people have been coming, people have been coming back, and the beautiful thing is that it is not us doing this, but the whole church got engaged. People that felt they would not be ready to do evangelism on the street, are now making coffee, playing games, chess games with refugees in our church, and having a very, very good time.



Now, they give personal attention and start to build relationships with these refugees, and that is step number one of sharing God’s love for these people.



So we are very encouraged, because we see that all of the sudden the church is coming alive and people start to be passionate about reaching out to refugees. It was not very difficult, it was just opening a door and saying “welcome.”



 



Q. What are the first steps to connect with refugees in the region one lives?



A. First of all, talk to a foreigner. I have talked to many, and lots have said: “the Dutch people don’t talk to us, they just look”. They do want to engage, they are real people, with real needs, and they also have a desire to be loved, to be accepted.



Even saying  hello in their own language, perhaps learning one or two words in Arabic, or Farsi and say to that refugee who comes to you country: “Hello and welcome in the Netherlands or welcome in Spain”, is a big step. That will be their first heart connection with a refugee. Learning a few words in their language will help.



And approach them. For them that’s normal, for us here in the West it is not normal. I sit in the bus and nobody speaks with one another, but in an Eastern country it is normal to talk with one another. So, please, just step out of your own comfort zone and greet people, that is a simple start.



And then, if you have a facility, open it up. Pour coffee, drink tea, play a game. A lot of people in our church do not speak English or Arabic, but they are having a jolly good time with the refugees, because they are teaching them Dutch. Playing a board game… anybody can do it!



 



Q. How can we share the Good News about Jesus with these people with a Muslim background?



A. For refugees with a Muslim background, it is very normal to talk about religion, and for them God is real. For many Westerners that is not the case. So it is easy to talk to them and with them about their faith. It is also very easy to ask them: “Can I pray for you?”, it is a very opening question, and often they would be very happy for you to pray for them.



Obviously, in our little project, people are already coming into our church. So one day, a guy said: “Hey, you know, that cross, I see it always with Christians, tell me more about it”, and there we have an opportunity to talk.



We have free literature available, we have the opportunity for them to come to church, we have church members ready to pick them up from the refugee centre, to attend church on Sunday morning.



There are little things you can do, but it is definitely being open and listening, and not being scared of having a conversation about God, because for many Muslims that is normal. 



 





The “Refugees in Europe” series of articles is the fruit of a cooperation between Evangelical Focus, the Refugee Highway Partnership in Europe and the EEA Hope for Europe – Refugees campaign.


 


POLL
Refugees in Europe
How are Christians in your country responding to the refugee crisis?
Individuals and churches are getting involved helping in many practical ways
37%
Some churches are offering help, others 'sit on the fence'
29%
Most churches openly say the 'wave' of foreigners is dangerous for European and Christian values
11%
Not many refugees have arrived to my country yet
23%
This Poll is closed.
Number of votes: 127
SEE MORE POLLS
 
 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - “Many in our church do not speak Arabic, but have a jolly good time with refugees”
 
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.

 
Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA

“Prostitution is nobody’s dream,  it’s a very traumatic lifestyle”, says Kathy Bryan, director of the Elevate Academy. She mentors former victims.

 
Christians in politics? Christians in politics?

What is the role of Christians serving in politics? An interview with Auke Minnema, the new General Director of the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM).

 
Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies

RZIM International Director Michael Ramsden responds to questions about the secularisation of Europe, the role of Christians in public leadership and the new ‘culture of victimism’.

 
Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe

The economist summarises the manifesto “Confederal Europe: Strong Nations, Strong Union” and explains why personal relationships should be at the centre of our economy, education and democracy. 

 
Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues

The World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General participated in the Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly (Rome, 8-9 April). In this interview with Evangelical Focus, Bp Tendero talks about the need to listen to local churches and to face challenges like the refugee crisis and climate change. 

 
Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum

Pritchard explains the vision of ELF, comments on the 2015 event in Poland and reflects on what it means to have an "evangelical identity".

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible

At the 2018 Apologetics Forum in Comarruga (Spain), Michael Ramsden, Pablo Martinez, Ruth Valerio and José de Segovia analysed how society and the Bible approach the issues of personal identity, integrity, sexuality, pop culture, and environmental care.

 
European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga

The network of Christian ministries working for the inclusion of people with disabilities, celebrated its tenth continental meeting in Latvia with the participation of 12 countries.

 

 
Coexistence in the church - a model for society Coexistence in the church - a model for society

“Gospel, identity and coexistence” were the themes of the General Assembly of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance. Two days in Palma de Mallorca to reflect about the role of evangelical churches in society.

 
'Ungi kulimi changana' 'Ungi kulimi changana'

Educator and journalist Jordi Torrents shares images of the Sekeleka social centre in Mozambique. About 50 children live there, many with some kind of disability. All photos were taken with permission.

 
The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve

For the first time, the President of Portugal attended a worship service in an evangelical church. It was in Sintra, on Christmas Eve.

 
Stamps to commemorate the Reformation Stamps to commemorate the Reformation

Poland, Lithuania, Namibia and Brazil are some of the countries that have issued special stamps on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 theses.

 
VIDEO Video
 
How can churches better support singles? How can churches better support singles?

Tina Tschage, on some areas in which other Christians can encourage singles.

 
The Church of Scotland debates historic doctrines The Church of Scotland debates historic doctrines

The Kirk has begun official procedures to investigate the status and the role of the Westminster Confession of Faith within its denomination.

 
Why is it so difficult to get today’s young adults interested in the Bible? Why is it so difficult to get today’s young adults interested in the Bible?

The simple fact that people struggle to read books is the first factor, but there are some other hurdles, says Simon Lennox of Bible Study Fellowship.

 
Be safe on social media Be safe on social media

A video about the way traffickers target teenage girls online, produced by anti-slavery gorup Abolishion.

 
In Mission In Mission

A 360º lyric video about how all followers of Jesus Christ are called to serve God. Duo in Spanish (Alex Sampedro) and Portuguese (Marcos Martins).

 
Heart Heart

A short animation film by Swiss cartoonist Alain Auderset tells the message of the Bible in four minutes.

 
Philip Yancey interview Philip Yancey interview

An 8-minute interview with Philip Yancey on the role of Christians in a secularised society. Recorded in Madrid, September 2016.

 
An interview with Prof. John Lennox An interview with Prof. John Lennox

New atheism, the definition of "faith", Christianity in Europe, the role of the Bible in mission, and the need to listen more. An exclusive interview recorded at "Forum Apologética" (Tarragona, Spain) in May 2016.

 
 
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.