In September 2022 a Special Work was initiated in West Belfast. This is an area where a number of refugees and asylum seekers have been settled so in order to develop and expand the work a part-time post was created to serve this community. This role is initially intended to last for three years.
The role is to serve refugees and asylum seekers in West Belfast through pre-existing charities and groups in the area by providing support, advice and care to refugee families. This may include English language support and home visits. Through these means the hope would be to make contact with Christians amongst the refugees, help those who may wish to explore the Christian faith and ultimately help integrate them with a fellowship of believers, both local and refugee.
In the past seven years a significant number of refugees and asylum seekers have been housed in West Belfast where they have been made very welcome. It is hoped that relationships will develop and grow where the good news of Jesus Christ may be shared, and individual lives may be transformed by an encounter with the Lord.
Toni writes, "It is my desire that hope and healing may be found and broken lives restored so people may experience a full life. I am excited to reconnect with those I have already met and see what God will do in their lives."
Toni is a member of Wellington Presbyterian in Ballymena where she has been actively involved in different aspects of church life. She works part-time as a chemistry teacher and enjoys encouraging pupils to grow in their faith and participate in the Christian Union.
- To settle into the role, make contact with refugees and other people in the local area and start to have meaningful conversations.
- The material needs are significant so to have wisdom where to invest time and with which people.
- Give thanks for relationships already established in this community and opportunities to volunteer in local pre-existing projects. Pray these would continue to develop and flourish.
- For wisdom how to balance a teaching job and this community outreach role, while walking closely with the Lord so I may be a faithful witness to those I encounter.