In May 2016, Henry was appointed as assistant project leader for the International Meeting Point on the Lisburn Road in Belfast, where he counts it an honour to serve alongside Keith Preston and Sharon Heron.
The International Meeting Point is a drop-in centre that exists to serve God in an ever changing multicultural local community, enabling the church to share the gospel and to show God’s compassion through small acts of loving kindness.
Every day, well over 60 people come in for lunch and many more come to play pool, use the computers, learn English or just sit and chill. The Bible studies, which run every day, are often filled to overflowing as new believers many from other countries sit round the table to learn what it means to be more like Christ.
It is a place where everyone is welcome regardless of their history, needs or present situation. A place where the compassion of Jesus is felt in many tangible ways. Henry is also responsible for the teaching of English in the centre and recently has been helping a group of immigrants prepare for an English exam so they can be admitted into university.
From 1986 to 2015 Henry lived and served God in Bangladesh. Henry taught English Language in a college in Dhaka and sought to see the Kingdom of God established there. The highlight of each week was opening God’s Word and seeking to apply it to the lives of men and women who had recently become followers of Jesus.
“I came as a stranger … I leave as a friend”
My wife Joanne and I stepped off the plane in Dublin in December 2015 and wondered what God had planned for the next phase of our lives. For 30 years I have served in Bangladesh working as an English language teacher and seeking to see God’s kingdom established there. There were challenges along the way but many joys too. Joanne ran kids clubs in a slum in Dhaka and helped women there live out their new faith in Jesus. The highlight of my week was opening God’s Word and seeking to apply it to the lives of men who had recently become followers of Jesus.
But how would God use us now in Ireland? Soon after our return we were introduced to the ministry of International Meeting Point. We never imagined that anything like this would be happening on the streets in Belfast and it was a joy for me to start volunteering there, helping teach English on a Wednesday evening. We were just amazed at how God has brought the nations not just to Belfast but to the Centre. Belfast and indeed Ireland has changed so much over the last 30 years, what a privilege and what an opportunity we now have with the nations on our doorstep.
It was great to be appointed as assistant leader to IMP in May and an honour to work alongside Keith and Sharon, as well as the many wonderful volunteers that help to keep the show on the road. No one day is the same, apart from being exhausted by the end. Today we collected 20 crates of food (pasta and tinned soup/vegetables) from a food bank to give out to those in need, we helped to prepare a doctor (who had to flee the Middle East) to sit an English examination, and kitted out ‘F’ (an asylum seeker) with a bike to help him get around Belfast, I sat with a lady for whom the centre is home and chatted about her dysfunctional family. And on a daily basis, woven through all these activities, is the opportunity to share the Good News and to pray with those in need.
Everyday, well over 60 people are fed lunch and many more come in to play pool, use the computers or just sit and chill. It is a place where everyone is welcome regardless of their history, needs or present situation. A place where the compassion of Jesus is felt in many tangible ways.
But it is not just the food queue that is packed out. The Bible studies, which run every day, are often filled to overflowing as new believers, many from other countries, sit round the table to learn what it means to be more like Christ.
Rabindranath Tagore, Bangladesh/India’s most famous poet once wrote “I came to your shore as a stranger, I lived in your house as a guest, I leave your door as a friend …” These words sum up the experience of many who pass through IMP. They have arrived in Ireland as complete strangers but in IMP they find a place where they are accepted and loved. It is our prayer that through the ongoing ministry of IMP many will become a friend of Jesus too.
To download a printable PDF of Henry's reports visit the Mission Reports listing at the top.