Noah was a shelter guest in November 2016. He shared about his journey from Eritrea to London.
“I came to the UK to be free to follow Jesus”
The problem in Eritrea, Noah explains, is a “religious” one. Noah comes from a family of Pentecostal Christians. He says that the Government in Eritrea follows Orthodox Christianity and that Pentecostal Christians are persecuted. He remembers a time in 2004 when the Government closed down Pentecostal churches and threatened Pentecostal Christians with arrest if they did not follow Orthodox Christianity. “You can’t follow God as you want . . . On Sundays, we didn’t go out of the house,” says Noah. His family had to worship on secret on a Sunday, out of fear that the Government may find out and arrest them. This persecution led Noah to flee his country and head for the UK; he wanted to be “free to follow Jesus.”
Liverpool to London
Whilst claiming asylum Noah was given temporary shared accommodation in Liverpool until he was awarded asylum. Noah found life hard: “I felt lonely, there was no community and I had no Eritrean Church.” After living in Liverpool for a while he decided he needed to move to London to connect with Eritrean Christians, even though he knew he would be homeless.
“I would still be on the street if it wasn’t for GrowTH”
In London Noah slept on buses and in train stations, until a friend told him about the charity Crisis Skylight that assists those affected by homelessness. Crisis referred Noah into GrowTH in November 2015 and work began to try and help him secure more permanent accommodation. Noah shared how great it felt to be able to wake up each morning in a warm, safe place where he could wash before going to college. “It is very hard to do this when you’re on the street,” shared Noah. With the support of his Advocate Worker, Noah secured a room in South East London.
“God has a plan, I always say this to my life”
Noah is still in that house seven months on and is continuing his education. He recently completed his GCSE in Maths and passed his level 1 in English and IT. “Life is busy,” he says smiling. He has an Eritrean Church in North London and now feels like he has a community as well. Just a few months after getting accommodation, Noah began volunteering at the night shelter. Looking back, he says, “I never thought my life would be like this, but God has a plan . . . I tell this to people who have problems.”