For the past few years, Andrew, an OM worker in the UK, has been working with a support group for refugees and asylum seekers. He helps with their integration and settlement through teaching English.
While practicing social distancing, Andrew is no longer able to pay his usual weekly visits to asylum seekers and refugees. Instead, he has been connecting with them via phone calls and on social media.
“We are moving funds across to help top up people’s phones,” he explains. “This is the most appreciated help we’re giving to the refugees and asylum seekers we work with, to make sure they can stay connected during the lockdown.”
Without the usual rush of a normal day, Andrew has been enjoying the opportunity to spend more time having conversations with the refugees he teaches over the phone. “I feel that I have come to know some people better and have a deeper understanding of their situation and needs. That’s been a real blessing.”
Andrew recognises that for many refugees and asylum seekers, their situations are complicated and often very challenging.
“We have been trying to meet practical needs,” he explains, “through arranging food bank referrals, delivering nappies and baby products, cash for those who are really in need.”
“Many refugees struggle with depression and anxiety because of the traumas they have left in their country and the trauma of their situation here in the UK. Some are being trafficked,” Andrew shares. “At the moment I have a greater desire to pray: to pray for people who are in need, who are affected by the virus.” As he reflects, Andrew adds, “This coronavirus situation is a reminder that we should be more dependent on God.”
“There are some strong Christians among the refugees; they are an inspiration. They remain cheerful in adverse circumstances. We must pray for the deepening of their faith and trust in the Lord. And pray for those of other religions, that they too will find faith in Jesus.”
As Andrew prays for refugees he focuses on the first few verses of Psalm 91:
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’”
Please join with Andrew in praying for refugee communities who are experiencing additional concerns and challenges as a consequence of coronavirus.