No Longer Strangers?

“My family's experience of seeking asylum in the West”

Javed Masih

ISBN: 9781912726035

144 Pages

Published Mar 2019


Paperback £8.99 Kindle £5.99
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What is it like to seek asylum in Europe? What welcome is given and what difficulties faced? No Longer Strangers tells the story from the inside.

Forced to flee their native country because of their faith, Javed and his family found themselves living in the Netherlands, sharing a cramped, single room with nine other people. Prevented from working and stripped of their identity, they were surrounded by strangers and having to adjust to an alien culture, climate and language.

Depression was a constant threat, but inspired by their Catholic faith they determined to persevere and change their environment. Seeking to serve their fellow refugees and engage the local community, they brought renewed hope and purpose to many and began to connect with Dutch people.

Caught in a system that can seem designed to keep people on the outside, Javed’s account shows the strength needed to survive Europe’s ‘welcome’ and what we can do to help.

  • The story gives an inside perspective on the asylum process and also how those outside of the system can get involved and make a difference. The story is a must-read for anyone who has questions about the asylum system or who knows someone in it.

    Paul Sydnor, Europe Regional Leader, IAFR, RHP Network Leader
  • What makes this book special in my eyes is that Javed, Nasreen, Nimra and Aroon kept looking for hope in whatever situation they were in, regardless of how they felt. They tried to look at every situation with God’s eyes. They were always looking for God’s guidance and for opportunities to build bridges, to use their talents and to give love to the people they met.

    Diana Baan, Fieldworker, Stichting Gave
  • This book clearly shows on which points the COA, the IND and the Repatriation & Departure Service could humanise their working methods with a few simple measures, because despite the many good things they do, very poignant aspects are revealed, of which I am deeply ashamed as a Dutchman! I heartily recommend this book to you to gain some insight into the circumstances that so many refugees face daily.

    Hans van Delft, Chairman IWAK in Katwijk aan Zee
  • The Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:12 that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”. We see this once again proven in the life of Javed and his family. What a testimony they provide in the way they persevered through the asylum procedure.

    Maarten Dees, President of Open Doors International, Netherlands
  • Once a family arrives in the Netherlands to seek asylum, there is still a long road ahead. The experiences in this book give us a glimpse into all the emotions and practical issues that refugees have to deal with every day. From the smallest things that we all take for granted, like finding a Wi-Fi spot, to the daily challenges of finding Bed, Bath and Bread.

    Fr Sjaak de Boer, Mill Hill, Pastor of the RC Church of Our Saviour
  • This book … is not only engaging, but also powerful and very personal. I work with refugees in Italy and understand first-hand some of the trials these folks face on a daily basis. For all who are called to serve and share the gospel with refugees, this book is a must-read, and gives a rare and profound inside perspective of the refugee world in Europe.

    Leonard Xerri, Missionary, Avant Ministries
  • A “must-read” for anyone who is genuinely involved with refugees, who wants to understand them and wants to stand by them. I hope that many people will read this book. In particular, I hope that church congregations will take the content of this book to heart in order to understand their calling to “the stranger at our gate”. Highly recommended!

    Rev C H Hogendoorn, Reformed Church Katwijk aan Zee
  • This book is a must for anyone who wants to know more about what it means to be an asylum seeker and the hardships that entails. … The power of the book is a simple testimony not to be overcome by this, but to see the good in every situation.

    Rev Piet Vroegindeweij, Reformed Church, Lexmond
  • How good is it that Javed gives us an insight into the life of a Pakistani Christian who arrives as a refugee in the Netherlands with his family … Heartily recommended.

    Joël Voordewind, Member of Parlement-ChristenUnie
  • Faith and good will help to overcome even the deepest crisis – that is the message that this book gives us all.

    Rev R H M de Jonge, Reformed Church
  • An impressive, moving, yet inspiring narration … At some places their story is painful to read. There are moments of hope, and some of despair. But it is told always with the example of Christ in mind!"

    Javed and his family practised the words of the gospel, even in the darkest moments of their life. “God taught us to trust him”, is the key message he gives us.

    An inspiring message, from a family that was supported by the pillars of their faith.

    Marten van der Meer, Parochiekern Joannes de Doper, Katwijk
  • It is a book that not only tells the life story of a family, but it will also help believers and churches in their interactions with refugees. I hope and wish that it will be a blessing to many.

    Marianne, Javed’s mentor in the integration project of (the municipality of) Leiden
  • The honesty of this book really struck me … This book also shows how loving one’s neighbour and praising God can be practised in both the smaller and the bigger things, which is a great word of encouragement for every Christian to incorporate into their daily life.

    Mirjam, Dutch Christian student, Leiden
  • This book is a fascinating, beautiful and moving report of their journey. The refugee in our midst lives so close and yet in a different world.

    Fr Michel Hagen, Parish Priest, H. Augustinus (Katwijk)
  • In Javed's story, we see an inspiring example of steadfast faith in a God who can be trusted. Time and time again, facing challenging circumstances, Javed put his trust in the promises in God’s word, and with prayer and thanksgiving made his needs known to his heavenly Father.

    Revd Ruan Crew, Chaplain, St James Voorschoten; Area Dean of the Netherlands, Diocese in Europe
  • This story illustrates, among other things, how learning Dutch has helped Javed and his family to become familiar with the Dutch culture as well as to establish relationships with the people living in this country.

    Marjolein van der Plas, English Language Teacher
  • The Dutch Catholic priest, Henri Nouwen, once said, “Ministry is entering with our human brokenness into communion with others and speaking a word of hope.” The refugee experience shared by Javed’s family is that resounding voice of hope and living faith.

    Mark Farrell, Catechist at RC Church of Our Saviour, The Hague

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