Over the past few years, Jubilee Church Teesside have had many non-English speaking members and attenders. Not unlike Pentecost — people from all parts of the known world. In fact, today, Jubilee has over 15 different languages, and people from over 18 different nations! And this in a provincial town — I can’t image how exciting it could be in a major city centre.
Reading the Bible and Christian books is good — but not nearly as good as being able to read it in their own language. We have bought books and Bibles from No Frontiers for many years, and so the opportunity to get involved with No Frontiers at every level was something too good to miss. At the same time, we developed a company in Teesside called Open Door Trading — we distribute English Christian Books and Music and work closely with Newfrontiers — our main aim being to create profit to help house asylum seekers in Teesside and to give first time work to refugees. Jubilee Church currently houses 15 homeless failed asylum seekers through another charity I am involved with, Open Door North East, hence Open Door Trading!
We want to make it as easy as possible for church leaders and Christian bookshops to find the resources they need and are looking for.
And so, No Frontiers has helped us to share the gospel with people with different languages, and helped us disciple them in the early years in the UK. To date, No Frontiers has been supplying Bibles in over 160 languages, and good evangelistic material. We’ve already started sourcing other types of Christian Literature – Christian lifestyle, popular authors etc as well as good study books – and our intention is to look for worship resources, songbooks and CDs in other languages. I am constantly amazed at how little there is available and how difficult it is to find it! So we want to make it as easy as possible for church leaders and Christian bookshops to find the resources they need and are looking for.
Open Door Trading has been a real blessing to us. We have been able to reach out and help people from all sorts of places as they settle in the UK. Currently, we have Robel who is from Eritrea working for us. He is a computer expert and is studying in the UK to get the appropriate qualifications. Working with us actually helps him by taking some of the financial struggle out of the equation. Gere (also Eritrean) also worked with us – he’s a nanotechnologist – and left us to do research and a masters in the UK. We also employed a law student in the early days. She stayed with us for 4 years, again as we helped fund her university degree.
Open Door creates retail events at conferences around the UK. It has been a real privilege to take different refugees with us. They are able to participate at events they would normally not be able to attend, and come back full of what God can do and is doing.
I don’t believe in single language churches any more. In fact, I can only see multi-language but biblical culture churches where peoples from every tongue and language can worship God in their own language…
Our hope is that we can create more employment, and more housing through what we do. No Frontiers helps us forward with this mission. I used to think that we should go to the nations to take the gospel – and we should. BUT – now the nations are in Teesside! And we can take the gospel to them on our own doorstep – and, importantly – give them the tools to be able to share the gospel in their own language. Not all will stay in the UK – not all ought to, perhaps. Some will go back and plant churches in their own country.
And so, I’ve come to a place where I don’t believe in single language churches any more. In fact, I can only see multi-language but biblical culture churches where peoples from every tongue and language can worship God in their own language, can understand the Word of God in their mother tongue, and share life with others from other language groups with common unity and vision!