Thornbury Community Church, a Church of the Nazarene in a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, is learning what it means to welcome their neighbour and become a globally minded body of believers.
The church began reaching out to refugees in the community a few years ago, and the church has now opened a Farsi worship service.
“Our Farsi Bible study was getting too large to host in homes," Associate Pastor Britni Green said. "Now we use the Farsi worship service as a big Bible study to help new Iranian Christians learn about the basics and build their faith.”
One of the new believers recently shared their baptism testimony.
“I have accepted Jesus and come to Christ because this is the way that teaches me how to belong to others, how to forgive others, even if they have treated us badly, even if they think we are the enemies," the new believer said. "I will live in Jesus Christ and worship God as Jesus worshipped God.”
The church community can trace these signs of spiritual growth to the weekly work of ministering in places of greatest need. Their food bank continues to provide relief for immigrant families, and that outreach is run completely by Iranian volunteers. Job skill classes are growing, and this month 20 participants will take the church’s barista training course, joining 60 who have already graduated.
One particularly vital ministry unfolds weekly as a team of volunteers brings hope and friendship to asylum seekers who remain in local detention centers.
“We are still visiting detention centers every week [and] many of [the people] have been imprisoned for years just for being a refugee and fleeing danger," Green said. "Please keep those still in detention in your prayers. Since opening our doors and hearts to the refugees, we have been beyond blessed by their perseverance, determination, and strength in themselves, the community, and in their convictions of becoming Christ followers.”