Jubilee News
Radical Hospitality - A Testimony

On Sunday 18th June as part of our mini series on Radical Hospitality, Graham asked Chrissy to share a bit of a testimony of how God has used their family in recent years. Here is Chrissy sharing her story:

It’s so easy to be appalled by things that we watch on the news, when there are atrocities throughout the world and so often we ask the question “How can I get involved? How can we help?”. Usually the answer is to give to something and we’ve seen it with the situation in Sudan and in many other countries throughout the years and we’ve just wanted to get involved and do something!

So when the war started in Ukraine we knew we could give money and many people began collecting finance to help support the relief effort. Praise God our church was able to join in doing this as well and so we took up a number of collections as well as prayer meetings which were awesome.

This time however I really felt that I wanted to do more but there really wasn’t anything at that time which I could do. About a month or so later our government announced that people from Ukraine could come to the UK and I realised that this was a way in which I could help. So straight away, I contacted the government but I didn’t get anywhere. I searched and searched but because they’d only just announced it, (I’d heard about it within hours of it being announced), there wasn’t much information available. Eventually I found a form and filled it in there and then, so I volunteered us! A couple of days later I told Derek about it and he was a bit surprised and was concerned that this was a really big decision and had a few reservations about doing it which were all valid and as he laid them all out, as we discussed it I could see that he was right. However, I really felt it was the right thing to do, and as it turns out, if I’d not taken a stand we would have been both been wrong.

I really felt this was what God was telling us we should do, but we didn’t hear anything at all, it had only been a week but I was really impatient, the government still hadn’t replied to me. I decided that this was nonsense, if this is what they had decided to do, then we should just get on and do it.

So I kept searching for information and found out about the Sanctuary Foundation which is run by a wonderful man called Krish Kandiah and the work they were doing was so amazing. So I thought “right I’m going to get hold of him and speak to him about this”. So I did and he was so gracious he even took the time to talk to me. I was so excited. So I asked him “what’s happening, what’s going on, why is this taking so long, it isn’t moving fast enough”. Krish was very gracious and said “well it is only a week since we’ve announced this policy… sometimes things do take a little time”. Anyway he put me in contact with many others but still it was another few weeks and I hadn’t heard anything and the situation in Ukraine was getting worse and I knew that people were beginning to escape the conflict and that many were ending up in difficult or dangerous places and I felt awful because I have a lovely home which they could be living in, I just knew this wasn’t good enough!

Eventually I thought, "I wonder if Graham knows anything", so I said to Graham “do you know anything about this?" and he said he would put me in contact with someone volunteering for ChristCentral. This wonderful lady Emma was working to help house refugees on behalf of ChristCentral. She got hold of me and spoke to me within a couple of days and she phoned and said “Chrissy, I’ve got a mummy and her two boys, will you have them?” Before she’d even finished her sentence I was saying “yes, yes, yes” and Emma said, “Graham said you would be enthusiastic but that I should also check that Derek is in agreement with you about this”. At that point I said “no, Derek has said yes” and I promise you I ran out of the bedroom, because I was in bed, it was around 10pm. Emma was working so hard, placing families all over the UK, from ChristCentral and she was still working away. I ran through to where Derek was and said “Derek, Derk we’ve got a family, it’s OK, isn’t it?” He was half asleep and said “yeah, ok”. So I said “Emma, did you hear that?” She still said that she would let us sleep on it and confirm with us in the morning. Anyway she did phone the next morning and the rest is history.

So the 24th July, just before 3pm, I’ll never forget standing with my heart pounding at the airport waiting for this family. We didn’t even know what they looked like. I had only found out their names a couple of days before and to be honest I was worried I wouldn’t pronounce their names correctly. Well anyway this family walked through and I just praise God for them! I’m just, just so thankful. “Lord thank you because I know this is a family you are blessing us with and believe me, we are so blessed! They are the easiest people to love in the world! They really are, they showed such care!

Rostic is already planning to be a dentist and we’re speaking that into being in Jesus’ name. For now he’s going to train as a dental nurse and at the beginning of next year he’ll be registered with the British Dental Association as a qualified dental nurse. He’s done it all himself, he’s worked so hard.

Mark - what can we say about Mark, we love him to bits! He got thrown into secondary school all alone. His older brother wasn’t able to go with him, and he knew very little English. He was thrown into year 8. There were lots of promises made before they went but there wasn’t a lot in place for these people who were coming to the UK. He bravely went and every day we’d be praying over them “Lord, please give them wisdom, give them power, give them strength to face today’s journey”. You know when you are in a new country, with a totally different culture and a strange language is must be so tough! I mean I went to South Africa but I spoke English and you know there aren’t that many people in the UK who speak Ukrainian and yet he’s done so well.

I’m so, so proud of the boys and as for Natasha, well, we’ve got a best friend forever. We’re often thinking, she’s only a few years older than our daughter, so I’m adopting her! She’s been one of our daughters as well, so now we haven’t lost anything, Derek and I feel really privileged and we’ve gained a wonderful new friend and daughter as well as two wonderful extra grandsons, which we didn’t know we would get, they’ve been such a blessing to us.

I have to say this is all down to the hard work of Emma and ChristCentral. It really, really is! I didn’t know that the video would be shown today, but my heart was to also say, please support and give ChristCentral because without the work of God in wonderful, faithful, joyful people like Emma, there would be many Ukrainian people still stuck. I know that many had already escaped over the border but Mark, Rostic and Natasha were actually living in a prison. You know, it had a small window at the top of the room and so was Adina, and that was their accommodation. They might have been safe, but it certainly wasn’t home! Without ChristCentral, there would still be many, many Ukrainian people stuck. So thank you Lord, for Emma and that wonderful team.

After Chrissy shared Rostic decided that he too wanted to share something:
Well, when I came to church today, I didn't think I would be standing here and I haven’t really prepared a long speech for you, but I'm happy that I've got an opportunity to say something. I believe that the stage is for people who have got something to share. Well, ok firstly I want to say thank you to Chrissy and Derek. I'm so happy that we met them and I feel really blessed to have met them at this moment in my life. Not earlier and not later, at this moment! Also, I know that now I am receiving, but everything that I’ve received, I want to give back in the future. I believe that, that will be a receiving and an exchanging of God's grace and I believe that the grace of God helps us to love each other and it keeps us trusting in God. Yeah, all right and also, I want to thank you Jubilee Church, for your hospitality. Yes, thank you a lot!