Shared blessings – multicultural ministry in London

When her youngest brother became severely ill, Mary Haile (left) and her family in Ethiopia searched for answers and healing.

“I stumbled upon audio recordings of Bible teachings online and it completely changed the way we prayed as a family and the way we viewed our situation,” she recalls.

“We learned to patiently wait and trust God and I decided to surrender my life for one purpose: To be a student of God’s word and to teach others the powerful truths I experience.”

Mary’s brother is now able to live a normal life with the help of medication, while over the years, God has guided Mary into full-time multicultural ministry, beginning when her father took her to the only international, English-speaking church as a young child.

“He hoped I would learn the Bible and pick up some English. I stayed there till I was 19. With more than 50 nationalities represented each Sunday, I was able to master the language and learn about several cultural differences we have with the western world,” she recalls.

“Slowly, God increased the love I have for him and his word, which slowly led to the path I’m on right now.”

As soon as she is able to travel, the 29-year-old will be partnering with Inspire St James, Clerkenwell, as part of SIM UK’s ENGAGE programme, to bring experienced workers from overseas to work with churches in their multicultural communities.

“I’m excited about being the first women missionary from Ethiopia to be represented in the ENGAGE programme,” says Mary. “The story of ENGAGE’s first mission worker Daphne Kabeberi, from Kenya, gave me such strength to boldly say that God has called me to the UK and that he is doing his business all over the world.”

Pete Nicholas, Senior Minister at Inspire Saint James, says: “As a united and diverse community seeking to inspire London with the good news of Jesus Christ, we have been keen to partner with SIM through its ENGAGE programme for some time.

“We hope that receiving an overseas gospel worker will both be a blessing for our church family as we learn how to receive a missionary to help us better to reach out in our multicultural context, as well as a blessing to Mary by continuing her development and helping her to fan her gifts into flame. 

“We’re excited about having Mary with us. We already have fruitful and well-established ministries amongst internationals in London through our English as second language classes that Mary will be helping with. We’ve also been working amongst and ministering to the local estates and Mary will be living on one with other church family members seeking to share Christ with her neighbours.”

Mary is grateful to God that her African background will give her an inroad when meeting people from many nationalities and backgrounds.

“I come from a culture where you can start a conversation and taxi drivers will invite you home! I’ve learned how to make deep connections fast and have grown to really love people from other nations.

“I believe God will use me in two ways,” she adds. “Some will be curious to hear from someone completely different from themselves, while to others, the fact that I too am a foreigner experiencing London just like them, will be the way in to start conversations and build relationships. I hope to be able to understand their challenges and desires from a different angle.

“I know London will be different,” she admits. “I’ve never worked abroad before, but the ENGAGE programme is designed to provide me with mentors who will guide me along the way. In my time at Inspire Saint James, I hope to be a useful part of the amazing church team and become an added voice and asset in their work.

“The biggest challenge will be leaving my family behind and having to adjust to a new way of eating and living. But these are challenges I welcome with open arms knowing that such sacrifices are a very small price to pay.

“By God’s grace, I want to build strong relationships and lead many to find their way back to God. That’s the fruit I long for more than anything.”

By Kerry Allan

If your church would like to be involved with our ENGAGE programme, please email Tim Barrow ([email protected])

Please pray

  • For Mary’s safe arrival in the UK following a delay because of COVID-19.
  • For Mary to be a blessing to Inspire St James in its work to reach the international community in Clerkenwell with the gospel.
  • For more workers to join ENGAGE as it seeks to partner with UK churches and grow their cross-cultural ministries.

This was posted on 17 November 2020 in Engage and Ministry stories.
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