This piece was published in November’s edition of Praying with Detainees. On the first Friday of each month, our Detention Outreach team send an e-mail focused on those we work with in detention, inviting you to accompany them in prayer. You can find the link to subscribe below.
You don’t know me, but you’ve been praying for and with me since I first met JRS in 2017. My name is Albert*. I first got to know JRS when I was indefinitely detained in Harmondsworth, the detention centre at Heathrow. I was in detention for eight months and two weeks.
The JRS team visited me each week whilst I was in detention. When I was finally released, I contacted JRS to see if I could volunteer.
I began volunteering in the JRS kitchen helping to cook for refugees, as I love to cook for people. I now enjoy volunteering in the JRS Shop, helping refugee friends choose and collect essential food, clothes, and toiletries.
Earlier this year, I was detained again. It was a huge shock.
My first call was to JRS to see if they can help me. I was scared and uncertain of what was coming. I feared I would be deported. But the JRS team were there, helping me to fight. Each time a member of the JRS team called to help me with the next steps of my case, and eventually securing my release from detention, they shared messages from people sending their love and their prayers. It lessened the loneliness I felt in detention; it felt like a welcome cooling breeze during those hot humid days.
I am so happy to have this opportunity to say a huge thank you. Thank you to the hundreds of people who don’t know me – or the people I have been detained alongside – but who continue to hold us in prayer 24/7. I am happy for this. It brings me strength.
I am proud to be a part of the JRS community, of the JRS family. It is my hope that if – when – I get my papers and I can work, I will be able to take a day a week to continue to volunteer for JRS. I want to be able to give other people who are struggling the same as me, what JRS has given me: a second home.
With continued thanks for your prayers, and you can be assured of my prayers,
*Albert is a pseudonym for one of the refugee friends supported by JRS. These words are his words, but we’ve changed his name to a name chosen by him, whilst his immigration status remains precarious.
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