Can we cross cultures at home?

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Nine years ago, Miriam* and her husband followed a calling from God to live and work incarnationally and with intention in a multi-ethnic inner city area of Britain. Here they share about their work in the UK and their call to serve overseas.

Living ‘here’ and ‘there’

We have loved living in this diverse neighbourhood and have come to know people from a range of Muslim countries as our friends. Whether they have come in response to invitations to take up work, or find themselves here as a result of war and displacement, this is where they have made their base.

As we’ve invited families to our home to join us at our annual bonfire night parties, and then again in the tossing of pancakes a few months later, we’ve had fun and laughter and return invitations to join in celebrations. Worries and anxieties have been shared and advice sought on accessing services like health and education and how to make sense of life here which is so much based on the individual, not the communal. “Life here is so much more complicated than it was for us there,” is the cry.

“Worries and anxieties have been shared and advice sought…”

Through our listening we have found a common concern in trying to answer the question, “How do we bring our children up in faith in this godless society?” Conversations around this topic have led to openings for faith stories of the prophets to be shared and for the story of Jesus – to which all the signs refer – to be told.

Strong ties are developing between our city and the city from which many of our friends hail. There is increasing movement between ‘here’ and ‘there’ as the security situation improves. We have visited several times in the past five years and now there has been an open invitation for us to return, this time for a six month period. People ‘here’ and ‘there’ are excited for us and we look forward to extending the circle of connection and friendship.

The Bible has something to say to this: “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Many peoples and the inhabitants of many cities will yet come, and the inhabitants of one city will go to another and say, “Let us go at once to entreat the Lord and seek the Lord Almighty. I myself am going” And many peoples … will seek the Lord Almighty and to entreat him. … ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, “Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you”.’” (Zechariah 8:20-23).

We are convinced that the link which already exists between our two cities will be of spiritual significance in the future. We want to step into that and, by faith, embody it, through making this trip. The links between ‘here’ and ‘there’ are such that once our friends begin to see Jesus in any numbers, whether it starts ‘here’ or ‘there’, the good news will spread like wildfire. We want to
be ready.

*names have been changed for security reasons

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