Holding onto Hope: A London Missions Report

April 29, 2024

{Pictured is Shannon, second from the left, with her missions team in London}

​This past September, I had the opportunity to join a small team from Greentree Church on a mission trip to London. We were there for ten days supporting Oasis International Church in its outreach to Iranian refugees. The focus for our trip was to do daily evangelism in the city alongside the members of Oasis, to help with Sunday services, to help and encourage the missionaries who lead the church, and to teach ESL (English as a Second Language). Throughout the ten days we were in London, I was challenged and encouraged in many ways. I’d love to share a bit with you here, but please ask me about it in person as well if you see me. There’s so much more to tell!

Oasis is made up of mostly Iranian refugees. These are men, women, and children who needed to flee their country because they converted from Islam to Christianity. They have been forced out of their jobs, their homes, and in many cases, their families. Many have been separated from spouses and children. Many have faced the kinds of persecution we westerners have only ever read about. Every story represented in this little church is riddled with unimaginable loss and grief. 

And yet, if you walk down Abbey Road on a Sunday afternoon, you’ll see them gathered at the church! You’ll hear them singing worship songs in Farsi and English. Service is held at 4:00 in the afternoon, to accommodate members who travel for hours by train to get there. A meal is shared after the service. It’s a safe place, an oasis, where they can gather as a family. Even in the midst of loss and loneliness, they are holding on to hope. They are a picture of Philippians 3:8. For the sake of Christ, they have “suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that [they] may be found in him.” May we be as willing as they are to count the cost, and to believe as they do, that Jesus is worth it all.

​We had the privilege of witnessing seven members get baptized the second Sunday we were there. Each one of them gave a testimony, and it was so compelling to see their joy, their conviction, and their sincerity as they shared what God has done in their lives.

​Friends, these brothers and sisters need your prayers. It is hard to be a refugee in London. Please pray for each member of Oasis, that God will provide for them physically, financially and spiritually. While they work towards citizenship, they are assigned very small hotel rooms that contain little more than a bed, and some are given just nine euros a week by the government to live off of. (That’s hardly enough for a cup of coffee!) They are studying hard to learn English so that they can begin working. They’re taking college classes and caring for their families. Life is very difficult for them. Please keep these dear believers in your prayers. Pray for the strengthening of the church as a whole, that they will grow and be discipled in their faith, and that more and more people will come to know Jesus as a result of their outreach.

​On a personal note, in our daily evangelism outings I saw the Lord meet me in all my fear and unbelief. I was afraid, but God was merciful. He helped me to open my mouth and start conversations about faith. Over the course of the week, my eyes were lifted away from myself, my weakness, my fears. And by God’s grace I began to see only the Father’s heart for the people we were reaching. Oh, how he loves and chases after his own. There were many interactions throughout the week that were so faith building. 

One in particular was with a woman we met at a park who was a refugee from Ukraine. She had been praying that day that she would meet Christians in London, and not an hour later we met her! This stood out to me, because a week before our trip, my community group had prayed specifically that God would ready the hearts of those we would evangelize to, and that I might get to meet someone who would say, “I’ve been waiting for you.” Praise God, he was so kind to answer that prayer as well as so many others. 

​Thank you so much to all who prayed for and supported this mission trip. I hope that you are encouraged, as I was, by some of the ways the Lord is working in London, Iran and all over.

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