Tea Time with Refugees

By David*, Jul 26, 2016

Volker and I met with the leaders of the refugee home on a Thursday night. Volker is one of the leaders at our church, a very missional-minded man with a heart for refugees. The leaders of the refugee home were friendly, chatty, and clearly reeling from some recent event. As they described the home and how it functions, they were clearly talking around a major problem without addressing it directly. I kept wondering, "what is the elephant in the room?" It came out in bits and pieces: their recent director had just quit. He hadn't lasted much longer than the previous one. This small band of leaders were now left picking up the pieces of a disorganized and spiritually dark refugee home. We could feel the tension in the room.

As it came our turn to introduce ourselves and state our purpose in coming, I braced myself for the inevitable: skepticism and rejection. I watched their faces closely as we talked about our vision as a "free church" and desire to "serve in our neighborhood." No reaction. We continued. "At our church we've started an international cafe which meets every two weeks with the hope of welcoming refugees from the area, teaching them German in a fun and relaxed atmosphere, and looking for ways to integrate them into Berlin by building relationships with Germans." No reaction. "So, would you be open to us hanging up flyers, possibly coming by and picking up refugees, and bringing them to our cafe?" I braced myself for rejection.

The leader of the meeting, sat up in his chair and said, "that's a great idea! In fact, we'd love nothing more than for our refugees to get out of the house/compound more. We'd love for them to come to you at your church." I was floored. He knows we're a church. He knows we are a free church. In Berlin that means a sect. I couldn't believe my ears. But what happened next left me utterly fassungslos—shocked.

"But … the reality is, they will never come. They will never come unless they get to know you first. We've seen this with other offers from other groups. However, I have a proposal for you. What would you think of coming to the refugee home and offering your international cafe here, in our rooms, every week?" I felt for a brief moment like I no longer knew the city in which we've ministered for the past 15 years. I thought I knew it, but this was totally unexpected. It's not supposed to happen like this.

The refugee crisis has opened doors for free churches like ours with both secular institutions and state churches alike. Crisis has broken down barriers, opened doors to service unthinkable just a few years ago.

Tea Time
This past week was the start of our ministry at the refugee home. The home houses 200 refugees mainly from Syria, Albania, Eritrea, Bosnia, and Afghanistan. We've decided to team up with another evangelical free church to run this ministry together. Both of us are small church plants and would have a tough time shouldering a weekly outreach alone. Every Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. we will be there. We call the cafe the Teestube—tea parlor. A relaxed place for whole families to speak and meet with Germans—German Christians

Our first week drew close to 40 refugees! It was a delightful time. It is just a beginning, but a great one. Continue pray for chances to serve and speak in the name of Christ. Our hope is get to know refugees there, invite them to church where they can get to know a loving community of Christians. The Lord has opened a door to us to make known the riches of Christ!

David is an MTW missionary serving in England, France, and Germany.

*last name withheld for security reasons

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Pray specifically for the refugees in Berlin with whom our missionaries are building relationships. Pray that these refugees would come to faith if they do not know Christ.

Pray for MTW's ministry to refugees in Greece, Germany, Ukraine, Uganda, Panama, and the U.S.

Pray for those who have entered into life and death questions of faith with missionaries in Berlin as a result of the pandemic. 

Pray for Muslims coming to faith in Christ across Europe. Pray that they would be discipled and find a church home. 

Pray for the refugees who have recently immigrated to Germany and are being drawn to Christ and becoming active in an MTW church.

Pray for missionaries seeking to minister to those who are critical and hard to love. Pray that missionaries would love their neighbor as Christ loved us.

Give thanks to God for a movement of the Spirit spreading across Europe opening doors that have been long-shut.

Praise God for opening doors in Germany for us to minister to refugees in a local refugee home. Pray for refugees to grasp the love of Christ. 

Pray for the declining Church in Europe. Many see Europe as post-Christian and without hope. But we know that Christ will build His church.

Praise God for breaking through barriers in Germany and producing long-sought-after fruit! Pray for new believers to grow in their faith and lead others to Christ. 


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