George Durance, president of TeachBeyond, provided an update to Mission Network News on the impact of Brexit on TeachBeyond and on UK Christians in general. Listen to the interview.
By Anna Deckert | Mission Network News
United Kingdom (MNN) – The June announcement that Brexit had won the referendum, struck fear in many. The vote was close with just over 51% of people agreeing that the UK should leave the EU.
But what did Brexit mean on a day to day basis? Groups headquartered or working in the UK wondered about visas and if they should move operations to a different, neutral country. Would the UK cease to be a friendly place to international groups and missions teams?
Little progress. Lots of fear.
George Durance, President of TeachBeyond shares that many people were scared that the country would come to a halt, stopping the UK activities of TeachBeyond. Yet since the referendum they have seen few changes to operations.
“Really it’s been quite amazing. In the last year we’ve been able to get our visas in the same way we could before and of course the British people couldn’t be more hospitable and gracious. And just because there’s been a referendum, it really hasn’t made any difference to us on any level as far as I can tell.”
Seeking courage beyond Brexit
However, as the process continues, Durance shares that the TeachBeyond team covets prayers from the global Church. They are operating well currently, but do not know what the future holds.
“[We need] the prayers from God’s people for us to be filled with faith and courage. And not to be upset about the various things we hear in the press and our politicians are saying. I think that is a huge takeaway. Just to pray that God will give his people deep conviction about what needs to be done and what strategies will need to be fine-tuned as the circumstances change around us. We don’t want to be driven into dysfunction because we are afraid of this or of that.”
Brexit, politics, and the UK Church
Perhaps even more important than just for TeachBeyond, Durance seeks for prayers for all Christians in the UK. Dangerous rhetoric has been creeping into common speech in the country on many issues. One area that Durance calls out specifically is the issue of immigration and having foreigners in a country.
Durance believes that wherever Christians fall on immigration issues, they should have one resounding cry in common.
“For us we are citizens of a different country. We are pursuing a city whose architect and builder is God. And we cannot buy into the really hateful arguments that seem to be circulating on either side of the debate that’s going on. Christians have to stand up and speak clearly about our love for all human beings. You know God so loved the world. And Acts 1:8 is being sort of turned around the other way where the uttermost parts of the earth are coming into the United Kingdom, and coming into the United States, and into Canada and some of these other countries.”
He points out that while governments can and should look to the best interests their people, Christians should love people from every background, cultural group, and population.
Hope and love should mark the Church even in the midst of political uncertainty.
Please pray that TeachBeyond would continue to bring international teams into the UK for training without hindrance. Ask God also to mark His local church in the UK with love and compassion for people (See Prayercast for more ways to pray). And finally, figure out how you can go. Durance notes that God is bringing people into our countries and neighborhoods, we just have to share His love.
Consider today how you can step outside of your comfort zone. Share the good news of the Gospel with a person who has not heard of Jesus before.
Photo: Ed Everett, Flickr