Since September Burn UK and Europe Missions has been sending monthly teams to a refugee camp in the north of France called “The Jungle”. What started as just a step in faith to show up and see how God might use us has turned into one of the greatest opportunities to minister to the nations that we’ve ever seen!
Weaving in and out of tiny roads, around puddles of water and trash heaps, you can find communities from nations from the Middle East and Northern Africa just minutes away from each other. Amidst the work of volunteers and humanitarian organisations on the ground, God is showing us our unique place as Burn 24-7, meeting people who are hungry for hope and creating a space where God’s name is lifted above everything else.
We have been blessed with a real ease to meet and minister to others and our time has been full of divine connections. Our October team arrived the day that a new Eritrean church was established in the camp and we were able to pray into all God has for that place and encourage many of the local believers. The next day, following Holy Spirit’s lead, we headed out and bumped into some Iranians we had met earlier near the church. We started singing songs and an Iranian singer joined in. Soon we were worshipping and as His Presence came, we shared the intimacy and hope of Jesus and four men preciously gave their lives to Christ. Even a young man who had come to disrupt things was healed of a bad knee! A young Iranian lady impacted by what she had seen and heard had the faith to ask if the team would come to her tent and pray for her boyfriend with a burnt hand. He was healed and they both received Jesus that day!
We saw more times of contagious joy and faith like this during our last trip where one of the team members met some men on the road and peaked their curiosity to meet with God. One of them was healed of his back pain and, in his excitement, he pushed his friend in to get prayed who was then healed of his shoulder problems. How incredible to see what things can happen when we just step out and let God work!
Although the camp is a transient place as people move in and out, the last two trips we have been blessed to partner with this Eritrean church who also has the desire to see people know God in the camp. Last trip, we were able to host a worship night there together with a group from Paris. As people from different nations packed in to see as we worshipped, one of our team members found a Farsi translator and shared the Gospel to Iranians there. While some walked away offended, and others heckled, still a group stayed and responded to the call to give their lives to God. Even at the entrance a man just came up and asked how he could become a Christian!
One of the recurring themes throughout our trips is God reminding us that all he demands is simple obedience. While sometimes it looks like leading worship and praying for others, many times it just means taking the time to listen to stories and let someone know they are valued and heard by us and by God.
It was beautiful on our last trip to see some of the girls on our team sit with other women as they shared stories of the persecuted church, talked about real beauty and royalty, and hilariously attempted to learn Eritrean worship songs!
One day, as we were walking, a Sudanese man spotted our guitar and insisted that we come to his tent for coffee. While the six of us sat around a small table with six of his friends, we opened an English/Arabic bible and listened as they read aloud the story of Jesus at the last supper in their own language. With instant coffee and chocolate chip biscuits we did just as Jesus commanded and shared of his sacrifice and love.
Another afternoon, we sat inside a shelter with 7 or 8 Kurdish men, some who had seen family members die while fighting ISIS and had fought as Peshmerga soldiers. Again praise to God arose in their native tongue as we all sang out in Kurdish “Jesus loves us, he is inside of us and is here with us.”
God has been so faithful to give us strategy for each one of our trips to the camp. This last time we raised funds and brought over Bibles in different languages that we were able to distribute to old and new believers alike. We are excited about what God is showing us as we plan for our next trip in December. We know that God is doing something greater at the Jungle than just a place for refugees as they wait to claim asylum. God is establishing His Kingdom in people’s hearts that will extend throughout Europe and back to the nations where they came from. Every time we go God exceeds our expectations and we look forward to going again!
Pete who joined our recent trip in November sums it up beautifully,
“The refugee situation is a tragedy and a humanitarian crisis, but it is also an opportunity. God is moving. Out of so many nations where preaching the gospel is restricted he has brought a desperate and hungry people to our doorstep. Now is not the time for the Church to be fearful. It is time for us to go and share His message of love. The harvest is plentiful, the harvest is now, the harvest is waiting in tents in Calais.”
Oh man. This is why I love you bro. Amazing.