Friendship Centre sets table for spiritual conversations

Some names changed for security reasons

Michael 1 to 1 ESLBIRMINGHAM, England – At the Friendship Centre here in the seat of England’s Industrial Revolution, just talking over cups of tea can prove revolutionary for people seated at the table.

Ellen, who recently arrived from Yemen with her new husband, dropped by the Open Door Friendship Centre, looking to improve her English.

“Her English is quite good, and she’s been involved in child advocacy in Yemen,” says Michael, who spent about an hour helping Ellen.

On leaving, Ellen stopped to chat with Irene and other volunteers and asked, “Is Christianity the same as Christian?” She said she had seen a film about Jesus in Yemen. One volunteer explained the gospel to her, and Irene suggested she might like the “Jesus” film in Arabic, which she did take home with her.

Ellen has returned several times since that day for more help with her English and to chat with volunteers, who’ve sometimes been able to share more about Jesus with her. 1 Peter 3:15 guides the conduct of the volunteers toward others: But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect (NIV).

ReachGlobal, in partnership with a British Christian charity called Azadi Trust, opened the ODFC last October in an ethnically mixed part of Birmingham, England—a district where most of the residents are from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Yemen or Somalia. This neutral facility enables Christians from agencies and churches to work together to meet tangible needs of anyone in the community, regardless of their faith background, sharing the love of Christ through deed and sometimes word.

Ger with 2 men at ESLPart of their vision is to mobilize and train ordinary Christians to serve cross-culturally in their own churches and neighborhoods.

Were you to pop in to the Centre on any given day, you might see a volunteer:

  • Tutoring a woman in English.
  • Helping a man prepare for a citizenship exam.
  • Playing ping-pong with a young man.
  • Decorating women’s hands with henna.
  • Helping an unemployed man apply for benefits.
  • Leading a beginning English class.
  • Praying in Jesus’ name for someone with a need.

The ReachGlobal Birmingham city team is looking for others to serve in this exciting ministry through:

  • Prayer support, praying specifically for outreach activities that will meet community needs, opportunities to talk about Jesus, mobilizing of volunteers from the UK and USA, continuing to find favor in the eyes of the community, and God’s provision of resources.
  • Coming for three months or more to teach English, work with youth and children and build relationships with those who visit the Centre.
  • Financial support to keep the ODFC running, either through monthly or one-time gifts.
  • Prayer that Ellen and many others will personally come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

For donations for the ODFC, please make checks payable to “EFCA” , noting “5860, B’ham Friendship Ctr” on memo line, and send to EFCA, 901 East 78th St., Minneapolis, MN 55420-1300. Include Post-It note saying same. Or contribute online here.


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