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CHRISTIAN LIFE IN LONDON | APRIL 2021 EDITION
The Churches of London:
West London Alliance Church Arabic Fellowship

CURRENT COMMUNITY STORIES
April 2021 Prayer Prompt
...around the table
The Churches of London Series
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The Imprisoned for Christ Virtual Event – April 24th!
Register Now!
Integrity
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Published February 2021



An Interview by Tony Kulpa

One of the most important functions of the church is to allow us as individual believers to see what God is doing in and through the lives of others. However, we often are limited to seeing only what is happening right around us, in our own church or in the churches of those close to us. One of the great things that Christian Life in London does is help us to see the things God is doing that we wouldn’t normally hear about.

To that end, I am going to be talking with the pastors of churches all over London and asking them to share with all of us what God has done and is doing in their churches. This month I spoke with Rand Luka who shared some of the exciting ways God is working in his church, the West London Alliance Church Arabic Fellowship. I’m sure you’ll be as inspired as I was by his story, and the story of the Arabic Fellowship.

Please tell us a little about West London Alliance Church Arabic Fellowship.

We started as a small home Bible study group in 2012. I was a member of West London Alliance Church and doing my dentistry equivalency degree at Western University. We started a home group for some of our classmates and family members from the community. It was quite small, just 4-5 families. We were all attending different English-speaking churches, but we longed to worship and study the Bible in our own mother tongue. That was the need.

Then in 2013 we did a revival meeting in partnership with West London Alliance Church. And over 200 Arabic speakers attended! That showed us how much of a need there is and how much God was already working in London, so we became more serious in our endeavor. We started meeting more regularly and taking more of a church form.



In 2015, West London Alliance Church provided us with a room in the church so we were able to meet regularly for worship every Sunday morning. We started doing expository teaching, studying the Bible book by book. Now, six years later, we are continuing to grow. None of us are full-time in ministry, so our biggest challenge is just time. Our vision is to reach the rapidly growing Arab community of London.

Can you share some of the church’s ministries?

Our focus is on teaching God’s word. On Sunday we have our Sunday service of worship and preaching the word, and on Fridays we do Bible study groups. We also have an active women’s ministry. They meet together on a monthly basis, share each others’ burdens, pray, and study together. We also, with the support of our mother church, West London Alliance Church, provide counselling in Arabic to our congregants and those who need support and help in our culture. All of these ministries are now being carried out online since the start of the pandemic. We extend invitations through social media to stay connected.

For several years, we did public evangelism, one of our congregants, Sam, was especially gifted this way and he did it by setting up a table in public venues, such as at Fanshawe and at the downtown library. We engaged with over 4,000 people, handing out pamphlets, The Life of Jesus CDs, books like More than a Carpenter, and Bibles, building long-term relationships with members of the community. The city has limited us from doing that by changing the rules and regulations, even before the lockdowns, but we are looking for new opportunities to continue to reach the Arabic speaking community of London.

These public arenas have given us the opportunity to make long-term relationships with people. We nurture those relationships and minister through them. We believe that we give the gospel message and the Holy Spirit does the work in people. Our role then becomes to model Jesus’ love.



How have the events of the last year affected the church and how have you overcome?

I would say very significantly. The social aspect is an essential part of Arab culture. As an Arabic church, being able to be together, to see and touch and hug each other is really important. Not being able to do that has shaken the church. We are being creative and finding ways to keep people together. My wife and I, and our leadership team, Fadi and Ayman, are on the phone every day, calling people, checking on them, talking with everyone. I can’t stress enough how important this is for us, for the culture and for the church in particular.

The basic elements of teaching the word and of fellowship that was done by the disciples and the 1st century church is still the same today. We livestream our Sunday morning service. I encourage people to participate through commenting and sharing so that we might feel the presence of others watching with us, and to help others feel our presence. It’s not the same, but we can come as close as we can to that reality. Zoom meetings are better because we interact with each other. We talk, we joke, pray together and share burdens together. During the first months, we used to go and visit people in their driveways in order to ease the difficulty, but that is harder to do now. So we try with more intensity to be in touch with people more frequently.

Is there anything else you want to share with us?

As I said, the social life means a lot in Arabic culture. So if you have an Arab neighbor, coworker, or classmate, go build that bond, that relationship. See, people often shy away from interactions with those from other cultures because they are afraid to offend, but I would encourage people not to be afraid to offend. In the end, we should all be able to be good to each other. Creating bonds of friendships create bridges to share the gospel in the future, which is what we are all called to do. Arabs appreciate that friendship. They are very loyal to their friends, and will pay more attention to what you have to say once you have done that.

The other thing that I would ask is that you all pray for us. I know that people come to London and are looking for a church, but don’t know that there is an Arabic church here. Please share with your Arab friends and neighbors that we are here and that we are trying to serve God and faithfully teach His word. Also pray that the obstacles in our way would be lifted so that we can serve Him to the best of our ability.

To learn more about the ministry of the West London Alliance Church Arabic Fellowship, visit their website or find them on social media.
https://www.wlachurch.org/our-programs/arabic-fellowship/
https://www.facebook.com/WLAArabic

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

About Interviewer, Tony Kupla, Christian Life in London Contributing Editor.

Tony is the second oldest child in a family of 11, and, in his words, “I absolutely adored being the big brother and the “responsible one” in the family. As a result I’ve had a lifelong love of children and of leadership.”

Tony has always felt that service lies at the heart of the true Christian experience. Even as a youngster, he was deeply sensitive to others’ needs and hurts, and felt drawn to help. He also has always had a passion for Biblical teaching. More than anything else, he is delighted and excited by exploration and exposition of the universal truths found in Scripture, and the application of those truths in practical ways to problems both global and day-to-day.

It was no surprise that he wound up teaching for most of his career. The first school he taught at was Quisqueya Christian School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. In addition to the Caribbean, Tony has taught in South America and East Asia, as well as in Canada. Mostly Tony’s teaching has been at Christian schools, though he also had the notable opportunity to teach at an Islamic school for a few years.

In 2015, Tony completed a Master of Biblical Studies from Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary in Cochrane, Alberta. He actually started the degree in person and finished it while living and teaching in Asuncion, Paraguay. His specialization was in Biblical languages, especially Greek. Since 2016, Tony has been a London resident.

“I am excited by what God and the Church is doing here. I have learned so much about the community and the everyday heroes that the Lord is using for great things through the Christian Life in London publication”.