Red Community

Freedom Through Friendship

Please do take some time to read this message from our wonderful Embrace Coordinator, Lauren:

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If you are reading this little post, I want you to pretend I am sitting across from you right now and introducing myself and Embrace to you for the first time. Could you do that for me? Because I would love to sit with each person reading this and explain to you how excited I am about this project. Unfortunately, I can't.  But please, sense my excitement as I tell you about Embrace. 

Hi! My name is Lauren. I am a newly 30 year old and have 3 young boys. I live in Merthyr Tydfil with my Welsh husband, but I was born in the USA. That's me!  I have had the joy of being involved in running Embrace for the past 2 years. We are a project that was born out of a desire to love survivors of human trafficking in our local area. Our project consists of two parts: financial support and befriending. We receive all of our referrals from organisations currently supporting survivors. 

Today, I want to tell you a bit more about befriending. Many survivors of human trafficking are lonely. Many are not working, live alone, may not speak English, and are working through the aftermath of massive amounts of trauma. Embrace wants to show survivors the love of Jesus by simply spending time with them as a friend.

All of our befrienders are Christians involved in their local churches. They can commit to a couple hours a week to meet with a survivor to do nice things - coffees, museums, parks, etc. They love people. I wish I could introduce you to some of the amazing people that have volunteered their time to befriend. You would meet a group of dedicated, passionate people that want to love people the way that they have been loved. 

Each week, befrienders meet with their Embrace friend to do "nice" things. Friendships look totally different depending on personalities and preferences, but one consistent factor - each Embrace friendship is a sweet picture of Jesus' love for people. Where survivors of human trafficking would have experienced the worst of human nature, we want to offer a taste of what Jesus' love looks like. 

WE NEED MORE BEFRIENDERS! If you are involved in your local church, can commit to a training day and meeting a friend once a week, and are passionate about simply showing Jesus' love to people, this project could be a fit for you. Please get in touch if this would be something you are interested in. We would love to partner with you in loving people!

Nice to meet you and hope to hear from you soon!

If you would like to find our more about serving as an Embrace befriender please email lauren@redcommunity.co.uk

Embrace Befriender Testimony #2

Further to the post shared on Wednesday, here is the testimony of another of our Embrace befrienders:

Q. Befriender Interview Questions

A. What made you want to get involved in Embrace?
When I read the flyer about the role I was so excited! I thought this is just the sort of thing I have been looking for. I had been looking at volunteer roles to support women in Cardiff as I really wanted to do something practical to help women but didn’t know how to go about it. Then I spotted the Embrace advert via Twitter and thought yes! What an opportunity! I had no idea if I would be accepted but thought I would pray about it, apply and see if the door opened. The issue of trafficking has been on my mind for some time and the issue is so huge and overwhelming. This project is wonderfully simple in that we can just offer friendship and time to someone, to show them they are loved and cared for. Just doing something small but hopefully making a big difference.

Q. How has the experience been thus far (be honest about the easy and hard bits!)?

A. So far it honestly has been a pleasure to get to know my friend. It has been nice to show her things in Cardiff locally that she didn’t know were there, practise bus routes together, take her for tea and cake and enjoy talking about our shared interest of cooking and shared experience of child birth! It has also been good to help her with things such as attending hospital appointments with her or calling GP or housing when there have been some things she has been worried about. Sometimes conversation can be tricky and some issues we have talked about such as family have brought her to tears and I have felt helpless but honoured that she has shared some things of her past. Currently she is quite low and the last few meetings have been more difficult. It is difficult to offer hope when you do not know what will be able to change about her situation as things rest with the home office and this is causing her a lot of stress. 

Q. How do you see that Jesus is using this Befriending relationship for both you and your new friend?

A. This relationship is making me rely on Jesus more and call on him for help. Every time I am driving to meet her I pray Lord what should we do today and ask for wisdom for the right thing for how she is feeling that day. Its amazing that every time He answers that prayer! Also, as my friend is on my mind a lot I am praying for her throughout the day. This friendship is also opening my eyes to others in need in the city. It is changing my attitude and opening my eyes to asylum seekers who are in the city and local services trying to help. I feel perhaps Jesus is asking me what more could I do in the future. 

Q. Why would you suggest others to get involved in Embrace?

A. I would say the training is great, the support is great and you are really able to make a great difference to someone by just doing something small. It is a wonderful opportunity to get to know someone who really has absolutely no one they can call on. 

Q. What would you like prayer for?

A. I would like prayer for the home office to process my friends application urgently. To call her for second interview and for her to be granted to make Cardiff her home. For a home to be found that is secure for her and located centrally with access to all the services she needs. Prayer for her mental health, for strength, for healing of her mind and body and for her children that they will have peace and a happy life here. That one day she will be able to fulfil her dream of being a nurse.

Embrace Befriender Testimony #1

As the Embrace project continues to expand and develop we thought it would be helpful to post a few articles on the blog this week that will help to provide a glimpse into what is going on. In this first post one of our befrienders shares her testimony of how her befriending relationship is working out:

Q. What made you want to get involved in Embrace?

A. I have always had a passion to come alongside and support  women and families who have been trafficked and this has been something that has been on my heart for many years so when I received the e-mail from Red Community about Embrace I knew I just had to get involved.  

Q. How has the experience been thus far?

A. I met my befriendee roughly four months ago and see her weekly for a few hours. ‘G’ is from Eastern Europe and speaks little to no English. My involvement initially was to simply support ‘G’ with her English and for the first few months this is what we did with help from google translate. We would head out for coffee and I’d help her with her English. It was great to see ‘G’ develop in her language skills although it wasn’t easy using a phone every time I wanted to say something to her and vice versa, however we muddled through and it’s now just part of how we communicate together. During our support sessions, it came to light that ‘G’ who was pregnant had no one to support her when she was giving birth and this literally broke my heart. I spoke to her support worker and it was agreed, if ‘G’ was happy, that I would be available to support her when her baby was born, what better way to show the love of Jesus and be his hands and feet! It was with such a joy and with great emotion that ‘G’ recently had her baby girl and I was there supporting her during her delivery, I even got to cut the cord. This was such a great honour and something I will never forget.

Q. How do you see that Jesus is using this Befriending relationship for both you and your new friend?

A. Even though ‘G’ speaks little English, I really feel she knows she is loved by me, her friend. She may not always be able to understand my words but she understands my actions and I am excited to continue befriending ‘G’ and her family.  I would say that befriending has shown me what it means to love like Jesus, love without expectations and agenda.

Q. Why would you suggest others to get involved in Embrace?

A. It is a pleasure to be involved with Embrace and I would recommend it to anyone who has a few hours a week to support someone who simply needs a friend, and isn’t that who Jesus is, our friend?

Befrienders: All set to serve!

On Saturday our first draft of befrienders gathered together at Rhiwbina Baptist Church to receive training and orientation for befriending trafficking survivors here in Cardiff. Our Embrace coordinator, Lauren, reflects on a fantastic milestone moment for Red Community:


Exciting times with the Embrace Project! Last Saturday, 7 individuals from 5 different churches around Cardiff gathered together over lots of coffees, cakes, and biscuits to be trained as Embrace Befrienders. Everyone had been briefed beforehand regarding the background history of human trafficking, leaving us the day to dive into information pertinent to the project.

We were joined by two professionals in the field to help guide conversation, answer questions, and provide wisdom that comes from life experience in their roles.  

First, we watched videos with stories of people that have survived after having been trafficked and discussed the ramifications that their pasts would have on a Befriending relationship. These videos were harrowing and reminded all of us why we were volunteering to befriend: to show the love of Jesus to people who have been treated as invaluable and worthless by others. Many tears were shed throughout the videos as we were re-exposed to the reality of human trafficking. 

Second, Nici Evans (of Cardiff Partnerships and Citizen Focus)  led us in a discussion regarding effective communication. We learned how to actively listen and respond appropriately when disclosures are made. 

Third, Dai Hankey reminded us of how our faith in Jesus Christ fits into this project. We aren't Befriending with a hidden spiritual agenda, but we are Befriending to be Jesus's hands and feet to a broken world. It is an honour to be Befrienders. 

Lastly, I was able to lead us through the Volunteer Handbook and review Safeguarding, Lone Working, and Boundaries. Basically, all the "practical stuff" related to the Befriending Project. 

It was a very full day. But we now have volunteers that have been DBS checked, trained, and prepared to effectively love survivors of human trafficking.

Stay tuned for more news and please continue praying that God uses this project to touch lives in Cardiff.