Asylum Seekers Update

Introduction

Apologies for the fact that it’s been so long since we last sent an update. This note will bring you up to date on a few things. It contains some important information so please read it through to the end.

Visiting

Since our last update we have gained a number of additional houses. At the time of writing we are trying to support 14 houses. Unfortunately at the same time as the need for more visitors has increased, a number of visitors have pulled out.

 

We desperately need more visitors in order to support asylum seekers based in and around Ashton. If you know of anyone from your church who might be interested in helping then please encourage them to take part and ask them to contact us. Our original scheme which allocated 4 visitors (2 pairs of 2 people) to each house is no longer sustainable and many houses now have only 1 pair of visitors. Indeed, if it were not for the generosity of those visitors who are now supporting two houses, the scheme would be in an even worse state.

 

We are also aware that a number of visitors appear to have stopped visiting without bothering to tell us. The consequences of not visiting are serious. We recently learnt of a man who was in one of the houses which hadn’t been visited who became destitute without our knowledge. He was therefore potentially homeless with no support and we couldn’t help him because we didn’t know! Another man we met is a Christian, but because the visitors hadn’t been to the house, he’d never been invited to church.

 

Many of our asylum seekers don’t attend the Sunday drop-in or the language class and the only contact we have is via the visits.

Destitution

Asylum seekers normally become destitute (i.e. lose access to accommodation and all financial support) for two reasons.

 

1.    Their asylum application has been granted but they are not yet entitled to claim benefits or apply for work. (We know this shouldn’t happen but it does!)

2.    Their asylum application has been rejected and all support is permanently withdrawn.

 

Thankfully, we know of relatively few of our asylum seekers who have become destitute. However, we want to be able to better support those that do. We are currently trying to put together a scheme to support any of our asylum seekers who become destitute and will send out more information about this in due course,

Meeting

We will shortly be organising a meeting for all those involved in supporting our asylum seekers. You will receive an email offering a range of dates. Please try to provide as many options as possible. If you don’t do so then it makes it difficult to choose a time when most people can attend.

English Lessons

The number of asylum seekers attending the English classes continues to fluctuate from week to week but has increased and we sometimes have more than 20 people attending. We are very grateful to our teacher Pat for her continued commitment and to those volunteers who support the Thursday sessions.

Sunday Drop-In

The Sunday drop-in takes place in St Thomas’ church hall between 1 and 3pm. It has now been running for several months and on a typical week 10-12 asylum seekers will attend. Once again thanks are due to those who support the drop-in.

Status

Since our last update several more of our asylum seekers have been granted status which is great for them but we are always sorry to say goodbye to them. Can you please heed our previous requests to make us aware of any changes in the houses you visit?

Bikes

Keith Whittle has kindly taken on responsibility for organising provision of bikes to houses. If you are a visitor and believe the house you visit requires more bikes then please talk to Keith.

TVs

Eleven of our houses now have TVs which have been kindly donated. A number of our visitors have been incredibly generous and funded the cost of the TV licence for the house they visit. However, without significant additional revenue we cannot afford to continue as we are. For this reason we cannot provide any additional TVs.

Adult Safeguarding

There are still many people reading this who won’t have completed the safeguarding training. If you are one of those people then please make the time to do this. If you are unsure how to do this then please contact us.

A Name for the Group

We feel that our group would benefit from having an appropriate name. If you can come up with a catchy name which reflects our work: Ashton Christians Supporting Asylum Seekers and Refugees, then please let us know.

Grant

We recently made a presentation to the Ashton Rotary group. As a result, we were awarded £250 which will benefit our financial situation. We are very grateful to the Rotarians for their support.

Prayers

With so much going on we need your prayers more than ever.

 

·         With the next general election looming large and a number of political parties vowing to make life even harder for asylum seekers, please pray that the new government will be sympathetic to those fleeing their homes in fear of their lives.

·         In the wake of the dreadful bombing at the MEN Arena, there has been a further increase in racially motivated crimes against Muslims. This reaction has no place in a civilised society, so please pray that UK communities would be more tolerant.

·         Pray that more visitors will come forward and that those who are visitors will make the visits they committed to.

·         Pray for progress with our efforts to establish support for those asylum seekers and refugees who become destitute.

·         Since our last update there have been instances of serious arguments between those sharing a house. Please pray that this won’t happen.

·         Continue to give thanks for those who have obtained status and pray that they will be able to find somewhere safe to live and be able to find work.

·         Pray for those who are anxiously awaiting decisions. Some of them have been waiting for a long time and it’s hard for them to understand why others who have been in the UK for a shorter time obtain status.

·         War is a major cause of people seeking asylum. Pray for peace particularly in Syria, Yemen and Iran. Pray that all governments will do more to stop the trade in arms which fuels so many conflicts.

— Yours, Chris

HOUSE GROUP QUESTIONS

17th September 2017

More than Lord! Lord!

Luke 6 v 43 – 49

What is your reaction to the decision of Cansfield School and it’s affect on the Beacon church. What kind of people must we be to know God’s plans for the future?

Luke 6 v 43 – 45 The reality of the person

Where do our words come from?

What do our words show?

Luke 6 v 46 – 49 The reaction to the words of Jesus

What foundations do people have in their lives?

Why is Jesus the only foundation that will last?

1 Corinthians 12 v 1 – 3 The right to call Jesus, “Lord”

What does what people say about Jesus tell us about them?

Why must we not be casual about calling Jesus, “Lord”?

Matthew 7 v 21 – 23 The relationship with Jesus. 

What is the big question at the final judgement?

If we disobey Jesus can he really be our Lord?

They called him “Lord” … should they have?

Luke 10 v 38 – 41; Martha

John 20 v 15 – 25; Peter

Matthew 15 v 21 – 28;  Cannanite wpman

John 4 v 11, 15, 19;  Woman of Samaria

Luke 19 v 8; Zaccheaus

John 13 v 13; Jesus

Luke 9 v 57 – 62. Followers?

Download Beacon house group questions

 

BE BLESSED

Be encouraged September 2017

Good intentions and God’s plans.

1 Chronicles 17

One of the most precious things in the Jewish nation was the Ark of God. It was a small box covered in gold that told the people that God was with them. It was the place where they could communicate with God. It was so special that only certain people could touch it!

It had been wrongly taken into battle by the Israelite army and had been captured by their enemies. The enemies wanted to get rid of it because strange things were happening in their country because they had the Ark. It had been kept in a man’s house but David wanted to bring the Ark to Jerusalem, so he made a tent for the Ark.

As David thinks about his house and the fact that the Ark was in a tent, a desire to build a house for the Ark comes into his mind. It was a good desire. It was very commendable. It was seen as a good idea by Nathan, the prophet who was an adviser to David. It was a good intention but not God’s plan!

God tells David through Nathan that David was not the man to build the house for the Ark but God does more, He tells David that God will build a house for him! His desires were good but it wasn’t God’s plan for David, but God is going to bless him in a different way.

It’s important that we want to do things for God, serve Him and bring glory to God’s name in what we do, but it’s vital that we do it in the way God wants. David didn’t sulk when God told him he wasn’t going to build the temple for God. He praises God for blessing him at all!

In our lives it’s God’s will that matters. A life to God’s glory is not built on good intentions but obedience to God’s word and will. What seems like the right way forward may not be, and what seems so hard and difficult may be the path God has for us. How will we know? – by communicating with God. God wants to bless us but not always in the way our good intentions lead us. I suppose really what God want to do for us is more precious than what we want to do for Him. May his will be done in our lives as it is in heaven!

Be encouraged,

Ray