“PATRIK HAD been a physics lecturer in Hungary, his home country. He was quite broken by the needs that had led him to seek shelter in Britain.”
Elaine Baker teaches ESOL, English for Speakers of Other Languages at the Northampton Jesus Centre. She told Streetpaper Patrik’s story.
“Patrik had been in my ESOL class for a while,” says Elaine, “We got to the part of the lesson that day in which we practice talking about our week. He told us about how he now had a menial job (working at a factory in an industrial area) and that he regularly had to walk for two hours to get to work. He was grateful for the work but it really brought home to us the difficulties some of our students face daily.”
“He explained that sometimes it took three hours to get back home because he was so tired,” she adds, “In fact that week, after finishing a difficult ten-hour shift at 10pm he didn’t get home until 1am because his legs were so tired. He wasn’t complaining about it, it was just a fact that he reported.”
Elaine was moved by his predicament and put out a request for help to her friends on Facebook and within an hour she’d been offered a bike for him.
“The person giving the bike felt blessed in being able to help” says Elaine, “It made us all feel closer as a group.”
The students were able to see a great demonstration of the ideals of Jesus Centres: “The love of Jesus expressed daily in worship, friendship and help for every kind of person.” With help from other volunteers, Elaine managed to get the bike to him that weekend. He was overwhelmed by the sense that he mattered to others in a country where he was a ‘stranger and a foreigner’.
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