ADVERTISING
 
Wednesday, March 29   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
Faith at the workplace
Do you agree with the EU Court of Justice that religious and political symbols can be banned at the workplace?




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?





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
 
Israel, the UN resolution and the long conflict Israel, the UN resolution and the long conflict

Shira Sorko-Ram, pastor and journalist in Israel, shares her views and a historical and biblical context on the latest events.

 
Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe

Is the arrival of thousands of Muslims to Europe a threat to Christianity? What is the growth of evangelical churches in Eastern and Southern Europe? An interview with theologian and Lausanne Movement representative Lindsay Brown.

 
Giovanni Traettino: “Pope Francis is my brother in Christ” Giovanni Traettino: “Pope Francis is my brother in Christ”

Evangelical Focus asked the well-known Pentecostal pastor about his “open” approach to Roman Catholicism. Traettino defended his position about ecumenism during the Italian Evangelical Alliance 2016 assembly (8-9 April, Rome).

 
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. 

 
Thomas Bucher: Vision of the EEA Thomas Bucher: Vision of the EEA

Influence in society, evangelical identity and projects in Europe. An interview with Thomas Bucher, secretary general of the European Evangelical Alliance.

 
Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission

“We want to see the youth not just being equipped, but also being multipliers”, Evi Rodemann director of Mission-Net. The European Congress took place in Germany from December 28 to January 2.

 
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".

 
Pablo Martinez comments on Evangelical Focus’ launch Pablo Martinez comments on Evangelical Focus’ launch

Author and international speaker Dr Pablo Martínez discusses the main challenges in Europe nowadays and hopes Evangelical Focus will be a useful tool to help build bridges between churches and society.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
‘Reconciliation’ in the Basque Country ‘Reconciliation’ in the Basque Country

Bilbao hosted the Spanish Evangelical Alliance's annual meeting (assembly). Politicians, professors and evangelical representatives shared views on social reconciliation. The theme was also analysed from a theological perspective and in workshops. 

 
WPF17: A look at the world’s current issues WPF17: A look at the world’s current issues

A selection of pictures of World Press Photo 2017.

 
‘Progress of Europe, deeply connected to Bible’ ‘Progress of Europe, deeply connected to Bible’

Indian author Vishal Mangalwadi spoke about how the biblical worldview shaped the West. 300 professionals attended annual GBG meeting on faith and work in Cullera (Spain). Photos: J.P. Serrano, S. Vera.

 
Impressions of Lausanne's #ylg2016 Impressions of Lausanne's #ylg2016

Around 1,000 young Christian leaders from 150 countries are participating in the 2016 Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering, to reflect on global mission.

 
“Spain, we pray for you” “Spain, we pray for you”

Hundreds of evangelical Christians from many denominations marched in Madrid (Spain) to pray for their city, the authorities and asking God to bring hope to its society. Many gathered in other cities on June, 11.

 
VIDEO Video
 
Healthy team-building in intercultural mission Healthy team-building in intercultural mission

Insights by Scott Moreau, Associate Dean of Wheaton College Graduate School.

 
How does erotic love feature in the Bible? How does erotic love feature in the Bible?

Richard Winter, Psychotherapist and Professor Emeritus of Covenant Theological Seminary, answers the question.

 
Proverbs 31 Proverbs 31

A powerful video recites Proverbs 31:10-31, from the Bible. Produced by World Relief. 

 
‘You are a… Christian?’ ‘You are a… Christian?’

A clip by Tracey Ullman's Show (BBC, in the UK) gives a humorous approach to how Christians are perceived in the labour market.

 
You-To live-How? You-To live-How?

The Roldan Camacho are a Spanish couple with deafness. They tell us how the whole family experiences everyday life through sign language. A video report by Gabriela Pérez.

 
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.