Posted by Lucy on 26th February 2023
Afghan Hotel Update
Each week I get the privilege to go into a hotel in Leeds and run a play group with Afghan families. We turn up with 3 bags bursting at the seams – literally. Duplo, soft teddies and the favourite large Lego blocks.
Slowly children start to come out of their rooms to play. We chat with the women, swapping English words for Farsi and connect in a beautiful way.
What I love about my Fridays is that we don’t ‘DO’ much, but we get the chance to just ‘BE’ together. We laugh about our pronunciation of words, we cry when there is loss, we sit in silence and hold a cup of coffee or tea, we watch the kids play and all get involved when the parachute comes out.
I just feel so close to my Heavenly Father on Fridays!
Over the half term we ran a holiday camp (with the support of Mosaic and Grace City church) this involved 3 afternoons of football, cricket, volleyball, arts and crafts, indoor games and of course snacks. This was such a special time because we were able to connect with the kids who were usually at school.
During the camp, I felt really blessed by having lots of time with a girl, let’s call her Z. Every time I arrived Z would come rushing out to the car screaming ‘LUCY!’ with a huge smile on her face to see what crafts we would be doing that day. Z’s English has dramatically improved over the year and during this camp she had the language to be able to open up and share her story with me. Let me summarise it for you, read it slowly and think about the impact of each line on her life ...
When Z left Afghanistan she only had 1 hour to collect her belongings and say goodbyes.
When Z left her home, she didn’t know which country she was going to.
When Z arrived in England she was moved from hotel to hotel.
Z has been in two different schools and never knows when she will move out of the hotel and need to change schools again.
Z helps her mum care for her younger sister, who was born not long after they arrived to the UK.
Z is the most upbeat and positive person I have met in a long time, despite her circumstances.
Z loved the holiday camp, as she usually roams around bored and loved having chance to do fun things, she kept thanking me for spending my money on them and I was able to share that we were the church and it was our pleasure to bring in these items for them.
I hope I get to talk to Z about how much God loves her, and how Jesus is walking with her through all of the pain and the confusion in her life.
I hope she gets placed in a house in Leeds so I can keep contact when she moves out.
I hope I know Z when she goes off to University and can be an ‘aunty’ to her while her family are not close by!
None of those are guaranteed – so for now I look forward to heading back to the hotel in Easter for the next camp so I can spend more time with Z.
If you want to get involved there are many ways:
- Pray – please pray for this growing ministry
- Come and join in – our Friday play sessions or the Easter Holiday club
- Come and Cook – We are starting up our Come and Cook sessions so if you want to come along to support at The Oak Church then let me know
- Befriend – There are 10 families we try to visit who have moved out of the hotel into Leeds, if you want to join the befriending team then let me know.
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