'They listened and they cared about us'
Wendy Shiu arrived in England in September from Hong Kong. She describes how a Baptist church helped her family settle
My name is Wendy, I am from Hong Kong. My husband Eric and I, together with our two kids, migrated to England this September. Having been in London as a tourist decades ago, settling down in the UK is a totally different issue.
In the first couple days after arrival, while we were struggling in the midst of the “whereabout” and “how about” of tons of issues, we were introduced to the Revd Steve (Barnwell), minister of Chesterfield Baptist Church, by Connie and James - a nice couple whom attending this church: they mentioned our situation to him. Rev Steve’s welcome SMS and invitation encouraged us to pay a visit to his church on our very first Sunday morning in UK.
James offered us a lift to the church on that morning since we still have not bought a car. At the church, two warm-hearted ladies chatted with our little ones because they are shy to the unfamiliar environment. They invited our children to the kids’ activities, which helped them to feel less nervous, they enjoyed very much.
After the service there were refreshments, and several couples approached us with friendly smiles and greetings. We met Rev Steve and he asked if we have anything in need. He showed concern and he offered if he could do anything to help us settle down smoothly. All these have made us feel welcomed.
After a few visits, we got to know the brothers and sisters better, we shared about worship experiences, Hong Kong’s recent situation and church life. They listened and they cared about us. They told us about the neighbourhood and recommended us some nice sightseeing and interesting spots.
There is a mother of two, Cindy-Ann, who shared information on schools, which was very useful to us. She also gave us her contact number and invited us to gather around with her kids. After two months, we are settled down quite alright, have made new friends and blended in current life.
Rev Steve (pictured) still texts us after we left Chesterfield and moved to Derby. We are so touched by all the warm and kind gestures made by the brothers and sisters of this church. The home-like atmosphere made us feel accepted and loved. We deeply appreciate their hospitality and caring.
Being embraced as One in Christ gives us the strength and courage to start this new page in life. What they have done for us might not be remarkable things, but I could surely see that they are demonstrating the love and commands of Jesus in Matt 25:40 ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Top picture - Wendy and Eric (right) with Connie and James
Second picture - Wendy and Eric during their first visit to Chesterfield Baptist Church
Third picture - The Shiu family with the Revd Steve Barnwell
For more on the Baptists Together Hong Kong Response, visit the dedicated page on our website