Faith in action
Common Grace have joined the National #TimeForAHome Campaign calling for a permanent resettlement solution and the end to detention.Read more
My name is Betelhem Tibebu, I am from Ethiopia.
I came to Australia on 11 November 2013 by boat. I lived in Nauru offshore detention for 2 years and then spent another 2 years in Brisbane transit immigration detention and a further 6 months in community detention in Brisbane. In my experience, living in detention was a big challenge and it was very hard.
I would like to share my journey from Indonesia to Australia. I spent 6 days on a boat and was very scared. I was in my early 20's and I came by myself. I was the only Ethiopian nationality, and Orthodox Christian, in our boat. Other refugees were Sudanese and Somalian. They treated me well even though I was different. Those 6 days were the scariest in my life. It was life and death. There were waves, wind and rain at midnight on the fourth day. We got very wet and all our property and clothes also got wet. I covered my Bible in a plastic bag so it would be protected from the rain. I was so scared. But, I had a strong faith in my heart. I just prayed and read the Bible all those 6 days.
After all those scary days, I faced another horrible life. I was locked up in Nauru for 2 years and then in Brisbane detention for another 2 years. I then lived a year in community detention in Brisbane. I have experienced offshore detention, onshore detention and community detention. All of them are horrible. I lost everything in those years. My health, my time, my golden age (21 years - 26 years) and my friends who died in detention. But one thing I didn't lose was my faith. The reason is, I grew up in Ethiopia, one of the first regions in the world to officially adopt Christianity. Let me share one verse written about Ethiopia in the Bible: "Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God" (Psalms 68:31 KJV).
Australia's offshore detention regime is cruel, inhuman and degrading. It is unlawful. I believe we are created in the image of God. Loved by God. We also need to be loved by Australian people and politicians because to love your neighbours like yourself is one of the most Christian commandments that is written in the New Testament (Matthew 22:35-39).
This is God’s will and every Australian person, or Christian, should love their refugee neighbour because everyone was once a foreigner to this land except Aboriginal peoples.
In the Old Testament it is explained too. Exodus 23:9 “Do not oppress a foreigner: you yourself know how it feels to be foreigners.”
Refugees need help, need love and need to be welcomed.
JOIN Common Grace in calling for justice for people seeking asylum: https://www.commongrace.org.au/people_seeking_asylum
EXPLORE other ways to participate in Refugee Week 2021 Home - Refugee Week
READ Last year Common Grace shared a week of diverse voices that led us through a series of Daily Disruptions exploring the 2020 theme of Welcome. As we celebrate Refugee Week together, take this opportunity to revisit this beautiful series as a reminder that we are all responsible for creating a welcoming country. www.commongrace.org.au/refugee_week_2020
PRAY Please join us as we pray for asylum seeker and refugee justice this week. Spend time praying through our prayer resources, such as Prayer for A Just Future by Common Grace’s Justice for People Seeking Asylum Team.
BOOK REVIEW Dr Ebony Birchall reflects on a new book 'Refuge Reimagined' and discusses the need for us to keep talking about refugees given Jesus has much to say on this issue. Read her book review here. https://www.commongrace.org.au/we_must_keep_talking_about_refugees
Betelhem Tibebu is from Ethiopia and came to Australia in 2013 by boat. Here she shares her story and encourages us to respond with compassion, love and welcome to those seeking safety on our shores.
Christians in particular have reason to keep talking about refugees given the Bible has much to say on this issue. Dr Ebony Birchall reflects on a new book 'Refuge Reimagined'.
Common Grace member Christine Morris reflects on how her desperation at the experience of people seeking asylum in Australia drives her to action.
#NobodyLeftBehind Open Letter
After ‘exercising’ in solidarity with the asylum seekers and refugees detained in a Brisbane hotel, Bianca Manning calls us to see their faces, learn their names, and pray and take action for their freedom.