This week we have had many ‘performances’ of the church ‘Julespill’. Unlike the UK and USA where it’s usually the children who put on the play for the adults, here the adults in church are the actors and the ‘audience’ are children from the local nurseries / pre-schools (ages 1- 5). The actors are a mixture of staff and volunteers and the church is transformed into several stages with seating for the children who walk with the shepherds from their fields to Bethlehem, to greet Jesus, closely followed by the wise-men.
Yesterday was the final day of performances and today is St Lucille day, which is widely celebrated here with songs, special food and hats with candles (rather dangerous). So, today we came expecting a bit of a party, but just as we gathered for coffee and cakes we were all totally shocked and deeply saddened by news that Dilani – Mary in our Julespill – and her parents had been ‘collected’ from their home without warning this morning and deported back to Sri Lanka. They had been refused asylum, so everyone knew that it was a possibility, but after nearly 3 years it is still shocking, and made more so by the manner in which it is done, with no opportunity to say goodbye, phones confiscated, etc. We only know the country where they will go back to danger; we have no method of contacting them or offering help.
They are lovely Christian friends, always ready to serve, and always with a smile. When I arrived in Norway, they were some of the first in the congregation to welcome me. The irony in the midst of on-going debate about immigrants coming and taking Norwegian jobs, is that despite living in very humble circumstance they volunteered in Cafe Pluss (without pay) to help and serve others, many of whom have fallen through the social safety net.
Please join us in praying for them, where ever they are.