Seeking refuge, finding family

Many refugees, mostly Christians, have fled their own country due to religious persecution and are seeking asylum in an urban area of South East Asia. They are not recognised by the government, so they are not legally allowed to stay while awaiting resettlement in a third country through the UNHCR.

These refugees are left in very vulnerable situations. They are not allowed to work. And if caught without a visa, they will end up in overcrowded detention centres.

To address this problem, Amy is working with a small organisation partnering with 9 churches to support about 100 asylum-seeking and refugee families.

“God is generous: he has provided for so many people in so many different ways. Families have grown in their faith and dependency on God. And churches have grown in their capacity and desire to help brothers and sisters during their time of difficulty.”

This growth in church and personal capacity has had a great impact. Instead of being overwhelmed and not knowing how to respond to calls for help, churches have been equipped to support asylum seekers and refugees.

As a result, those who were once marginalised have become valued members of their church family and contribute to its flourishing life: teaching children, welcoming others, cooking food and making music!

 

Would you stand with us in praying for the persecuted church on November 6?

Amy is an Interserve worker serving urban refugees in South East Asia.

Names have been changed.

Shifting Tides in Mission

The tide is shifting. For some time now, it has been coming in and we are challenged more and more in how to respond. The church has traditionally thought of going out on mission overseas, but now the nations have come all around us—at least into our society, but into our churches, not so much. So what are we to do?

Jesus calls us as his people: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). When we think about it, this call to disciple others in following Jesus is applicable to us whether we’re going about our work here in Australia, or whether we’re going out to the furthest reaches of the world. The emphasis is on making disciples.

This call is not only for us to share amongst ourselves. God’s heart is ultimately for the nations to glorify him together in vibrant worship. And that’s the picture we see in the new heaven and earth:

“Behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, were standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands” (Revelation 7:9).

With this glorious vision for our future in mind, we look around us and see the multiethnic environments in which we live, work and study. And yet we think: if God desires people from all these nations around us to follow Jesus and worship him, then it does not make sense that, according to the National Church Life Survey 2021, approximately three quarters of churches in Australia are monocultural.

Why is this? And what should we do about it?

Community and Partnerships Director, Lisa Bateup, reflects on how Interserve can use its skills and knowledge to support the work of God’s people:

“Making disciples of all nations is the calling of the church.”

“Yet intercultural ministry requires a great deal of intentionality to produce lasting change. It will not happen without the active involvement of church leadership.

“So we’re seeking to partner with the church in their ministry, to better reflect the local community and grow their engagement with what God is doing around the world.

“We’re seeking long-term partnerships with the local church that enable us to journey with them in their discipleship and outreach activities.”

As we speak, this church engagement initiative is building a team to work closely with a small number of churches around the country in 2023 to support their work. They are seeking church leaders to be part of an advisory group to provide insight into where they would value support in local and global missions engagement.

“God is the one bringing the nations to Australia and working out his purposes as the country becomes more ethnically and culturally diverse,” Lisa said.

“We have the privilege and responsibility of joining in the work he is already doing. This will both revitalise our churches and raise up workers for the harvest field around the world.”

So as the tides continue to come in, and people from many nations cross the seas to live amongst us, the question is raised to each one of us and our local churches: as we go, how can we join in God’s work of making disciples of all nations?

LOCAL // GLOBAL Conference

How can we make disciples of all nations from our own local setting?

That was one of the bright and colourful threads running through Interserve’s Australian Team Conference. It was brilliant to see everyone face-to-face again in our first national conference in 10 years! It kicked off with a fun-filled evening celebrating 170 years of Interserve with cake and conversations, cross-cultural experiences and stories from Asia and the Arab world.

In a weekend of inspirational speeches and up-skilling partners, International Director Bijoy Koshy gave the keynote address on how Interserve can see lives and communities transformed through encounter with Jesus—in the local/global mission dynamic. More and more we realise how we do not face a go/send divide in God’s mission of making disciples and extending his love. Rather, we engage in the frontline wherever we are in our local context, and wherever we go in our global context. So following Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:19, as you go on your journey, “make disciples” among the people of the nations who come to your neighbourhood, just as when you go out to them.

Matthew Kuruvilla spoke on growing a multi-ethnic church through the story of his time as Senior Pastor at Sydney’s Parkside Church. The author of ‘Church without Borders’ demonstrated theologically and practically the beautiful reality of how we no longer gather according to ethnicity, but that people of all ethnicities gather around Christ.

Lisa Bateup, Community and Partnerships Director, addressed how Interserve can support the church in Australia in intercultural mission. She emphasised listening to church leaders, supporting churches in their ministry goals, customising our support, and investing in ongoing relationships.

A highlight of the workshops showed how mentoring men and women brings wonderful growth in godliness, courage and ability to serve in the community:

Mentoring is walking alongside someone in their journey in an intentional relationship whereby one person empowers, challenges and enables another to develop in areas of character and competence, thus increasing the impact in their life and service for the glory of God.

It is especially vital for Gen Z that we convey a wholistic, integrated vision of how we may live as followers of Jesus in our local and global environment.

So as we asked in our national conference, let’s ask ourselves as we go: how can we as individuals and churches respond to the call to build a multicultural church—in our neighbourhood and in the world?

Thank you for a most generous June!

God is able to make all grace about to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may about in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)

Thank you for supporting Interserve’s June appeal! Through your generosity, God has provided $359,000 for his work in transforming lives and communities through encounter with Jesus Christ.

Your generous support has exceeded our goal of $300,000 and last year’s record.

These funds are essential to Interserve’s purpose of making Jesus Christ known among the peoples of Asia and the Arab world.

This includes enabling our workers to provide wholistic care for people through healthcare, education, practical help and building friendships. It involves coming alongside refugees, displaced people and diaspora communities in their suffering, so that they may have freedom and hope for the future.

“I believe Interserve is providing very valuable support and guidance to those who seek to serve and honour the Lord in a variety of ways, some of them in risky/marginal human environments.”

Robin, Interserve Supporter

So thank you wholeheartedly for your participation in growing God’s kingdom, here in Australia and around the globe.

If you would like to read more stories about real people impacted by your support of Interserve, come and have a look here.

Unprecedented times, really?

New Year, same reality, renewed hope

To our God of the unexpected

Coming alongside their children


“Will they make friends?”

“Where will they be able to learn and continue to thrive?”

“I hope they will be happy.”


When God calls a family away from what has been called ‘home’ to work alongside Him overseas, it is not just the parent’s lives that are changed – but also their children’s.

INF seeks to provide schooling for both primary and secondary aged children, so that their parents can focus on the work God has called them to Nepal to do, knowing that their children are in caring community and receiving excellent education. The Pokhara Study Centre, located at Pokhara in Nepal, is part of this vision.

This school is essential for the ongoing work at the INF Green Pastures Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre which is presently being transformed into a major referral centre for the western half of Nepal. Without excellent education for their children, medical specialists are often unable to stay which impacts the whole community.

There is an urgent need for two expatriate Christian Primary School Teachers to join the team. There are also opportunities for secondary school teachers. Is this somewhere God may be calling you, or someone you know?

Share this with someone you know, find out moreget in touch or learn more about opportunities to serve with INF.


We also have opportunities for teachers to teach expatriate children is many places in Asia and the Arab world. Get in touch with us!

Introducing new Interserve Teams: Germany and Central Europe

War, conflict and persecution has caused massive movements of refugees. There are many opportunities to come alongside them to support them practically and emotionally, to bring a message of hope or to wait alongside them in the unknown.

There are now new Interserve Teams in both Germany and Central Europe, with the need for experienced cross-cultural workers to minister to Asian and Arab world refugees, children and youth. There are also many other diverse opportunities throughout Asia and the Arab world where you can be involved short-term or in long-term work among refugees.

We are looking for people to join us in serving people on the move – would you come along with us?


Read Joel’s* story about waiting with people as they hope for new and divine beginnings, as he serves among refugees in West Asia.

*Names have been changed.