Refugees Pray for Their Hosts
by Maggan Johansson, TWR Women of Hope National Coordinator for Sweden
Every Friday, Asmarina* and her Eritrean friends meet at their church in a large city in Sweden to pray together. For many years now, they have also been part of the TWR Women of Hope global prayer network. The story of their devotion is inspiring.
“Coming to Sweden as a refugee was difficult as I could neither speak the language nor understand how their society worked,” Asmarina said. “It was so different from Eritrea.”
Having left everything behind, Asmarina learned that our Father is a God who restores what has been taken away and brings wholeness to every part of our lives. In 1986, she came with her family to Sweden and discovered that the nation was a “good, safe and humanitarian country that really cared about its citizens.” Grateful for all the support and encouragement they received, the family thanked God for providing for them.
Asmarina and her Eritrean friends meet each week to pray together and read the Word of God – a meeting that has moved online during the pandemic. Together they visit the sick, those who have lost hope in life, those who have lost family members and many others. They visit moms who have recently given birth, and they bless the newborns. Reaching beyond their church group, the women visit any who need support and prayer.
The number of participants in the prayer group is steadily increasing as friends and neighbors become a part of this community. Wherever this team of praying women go, they are doing God’s work and touching people’s lives.
Our Swedish national coordinator invited Asmarina and two others to join her in attending a TWR Women of Hope conference in Bratislava so they could learn more about the ministry. Inspired by what they absorbed, this Eritrean team of three went back to Sweden with the goal of translating the prayer calendar into their heart language, Tigrinya. They wanted to share it with other Eritrean refugees in Sweden. Joined by another friend now, two of them complete the translation each month, and the other two distribute the prayer calendars.
What they did not know at the time was how far their efforts would reach. Not only does the translated calendar bless many living in Sweden as they pray for the needs of women around the globe, but it also is sent to Ethiopia, where it is used by Eritrean prayer teams in that Horn of Africa nation.
And the blessing does not end there. Haben,* one of the translators, is passionate about praying for the salvation of the people of Sweden.
“God has touched my heart with such gratitude for the Swedish people,” Haben said. “Prayer has become my gift.”
The Swedes originally introduced the gospel in Eritrea. Today, however, Sweden is one of the most secularized countries in the world.
Our TWR Women of Hope national coordinator in Sweden has been blessed by this Eritrean team and how they lovingly pray for their host country. These women who faced great challenges but were restored by God in this land of refuge now return the blessing as they pray that their Father in heaven will restore the Swedish people.
*A pseudonym to protect her privacy