Interview with SAF Programme Coordinator

1. What is your background?
I am British Gujarati, second generation, born in the West Midlands. Like many others, my dad came to England to work in a factory to provide for his pregnant wife, widowed mum, younger brother, abandoned sister and her children.
In England we lived around working class white British people, few Indians were around. My mum said the nurses in hospital where I was born came to see me as an Indian baby was a rarity.
There were few Hindu temples then. Wedding and religious celebrations were in school or town halls or sometimes at universities around the country. My extended family attended. Some of us were involved with singing for special events. The Hindu temple in West Bromwich was built around the early ‘70’s.
2. What was your faith journey?
At primary school a teacher invited my older sister to Sunday school. My parents were thrilled that an English woman would befriend us. I remember attending a Don Summers event at Dudley Town Hall. He said ignoring the voice of the Holy Spirit could make the conscience numb. I remember the illustration of moving house and living next to the fire station, being woken by the bells of the fire engine, and how it would eventually become background noise.
I knew I needed forgiveness. I had done wrong before God.
I raised my hand to accept Jesus and walked forward for prayer. At home I told my parents. They were very upset as they thought I wanted to abandon my family. Decades of misunderstandings gave way to reconciliation and both of my parents coming to Christ.
3. What is your ministry experience? My earliest attempts at ministry were disastrous! I would sit at the front of the bus and sing hymns hoping to share Jesus.  Needless to say there were no reports of mass revival on West Midlands Transport Services.  Some bus drivers smiled, others learned to pass me when they saw me at the bus stop. Later I worked for a wonderful homeless ministry in Birmingham for a few years. My heartbeat is for missions. My husband and I have served in foreign mission mostly with refugees, migrants and victims of trafficking for almost 30 years.
4. What are you studying?
I am researching for a PhD at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies. My interest is British Gujarati religious experience. How can the British Gujarati follow Christ, remain in their family and embrace aspects of their cultural background? As a British Gujarati Christ follower I seek ways for Jesus not be seen as foreign and irrelevant by South Asians.
5. What are you passionate about?
The obvious one is sharing Jesus in a way that is understood. I am also passionate about seeing the Majority World church, now bigger than the Western church, take confident steps into new approaches of worldwide mission. I long for increased partnerships with the Western church and the Majority World church.
On a personal level, I am passionate about family, not just my husband and 2 children and the extended family by blood, but the international family of God that I have had the honour to meet.
I am also passionate about long distance running which is on a bit of a hiatus due to a knee injury.
6. What is your role at South Asian Forum?
As programme coordinator I plan events to bring South Asians together to engage in ways of growing the church. In addition I get the benefit of talking to people about my research and encouraging them to explore God’s plan for the church outside of their culture and community.

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