On July 12th 2015 we had several baptisms at St John’s. One of those baptised was Naeem who attends regularly on Sunday mornings. His story is a difficult but fascinating one. He was raised in rural Afghanistan and came across to the UK as a teenager after the situation under the Taliban become intolerable, Naeem having witnessed terrible things in his home town. Naeem now lives in Hounslow as an asylum seeker. He still contacts his mother occasionally, but his home has been here in the UK for 12 years. After just popping in one Sunday and being made to feel welcome, Naeem began regularly attending St John’s. He studies the Bible and enjoys discussing the teaching, life and example of Jesus. He is also a keen helper at Flightpath.
Naeem is not aware of his real date of birth as his family in Afghanistan did not note or document the exact day when he was born. Consequently, he (and many of the other children growing up around him), never knew about or celebrated their birthdays. And so following his baptism, Naeem decided he wanted July 12th to be his birthday – the day his “new” life of hope began as a baptised follower of Jesus in the Christian church. All of which means that this last week Naeem has celebrated his birthday for the first time, and a few of us were able to celebrate with him. If you see him, wish him a happy birthday!
Naeem’s message for us at St John’s and St Mary’s: “Thank you for the welcome I have received, and don’t forget to keep welcoming new people into the congregation who have come here to find peace and rest and the love of Jesus.”