It's the most wonderful time fo the year. Or is it? For many they may be alone, isolated or forgotten. It is also a very tiring time of the year. Pressure is on people to buy the best gifts, spend more than they have, meet the demands of family and friends. Sometimes, for some, it is a relief when it is all over! It is also the darkest time of the year for many. The winter nights in the UK draw in, the financial burdens can leave many in spiralling debt, and getting by can be a challenge. Yet, Christmas is still celebrated, in some form or another by many across the world, and by Christians who enter the season with joyous smiles and excitement! Why? Because the hope of the world, Jesus, has been born! We remember this season with gladness. The light has come into our dark world. The joy we express is because we have a living hope.
For us this Christmas is a poignant one. It is the last Christmas we expect to spend here in the UK. Next Christmas we will be in South Africa, near the height of the summer at around 30+ degrees, celebrating over a braai (BBQ) without a turkey. In the UK we associate Christmas with cold weather, hopefully snow (although we don't have as many white Christmases as we might think), and being snug and warm inside. Christmas isn't like that around the world. It's different everywhere.
The one constant is Jesus (Hebrews 13:8). However we celebrate Christmas He still shines brightly into every corner of our world that there is hope, an opportunity for new life.
This year I am reminded this will be the last Christmas for a long time that we will see our sons, their wives and our grandson. We will spend some time with each of them in December, and plan to spend Christmas Day (after church) and few days after with Ben and Emma in Southhampton. How will we cope next year? To be honest, we are not sure! Being separated from family on these occasions is not easy for missionaries, or those whose family have moved away. We hope to Skype. A lot!
We take great comfort that heaven was bereft of the presence of Jesus for 33 years for God had sent His only Son into the world (John 3:16). The Father, Son and Spirit, although all One, had deliberately separated themselves to fulfil the mission to see the world saved. It is a mystery and one we don't claim to fully comprehend. We are just glad that Jesus came. As we prepare to go on the mission God has given to us we will be praying the the separation is bearable, that hope is spread through the communities and churches we work with, and that Christmas will remain a time of light and not darkness.
On Sunday 26th November we visited All Nations Christian Centre, the Elim church in Reading, our home church. We left 20 years ago to enter theological college. It was wonderful to catch up with so many who remembered us. We really appreciated the opportunity to share why we are doing what we are doing, to promote the book Exquisite Jesus and to ask for prayer and regular support. We have been overwhelmed by the response (we ran out of books and had to order more to meet demand). It's a great missional church under the leadership of Billy Fenning and his team and we look forward to partnering with them during this new adventure. Welcome to kandbinsa.com all our new Reading supporters! We have posted a few photos on the Gallery page of the website.
We'd appreciate your prayers for the following dates as we minister in various churches and hold events. If you're in the area, please drop in and say hello:
14th January: Life Church, Chelmsford. Paul Hudson, Elim's International Missions
Director, will be speaking at Life Church, Chelmsford.
28th January: Elim Tramway Christian Fellowship, Edmonton.
3rd February: Life Church, Chelmsford, Big Quiz Night, fundraiser.
25th February: Elim Church, Leytonstone.
3rd March: Atlantic Hotel, Chelmsford, Dinner Dance, fundraiser.
11th March: Elim Church, Westcliff.
19th March to 3rd April: South Africa fact finding trip and Emmanuel Fellowship's
22nd April: Riverside Elim Church, Bewdley
10th June: Elim Church, Selly Oak.
We hope to confirm some invitations to other Elim churches soon.
We thank you so much for your financial support that is enabling this new ministry. What is more important to us is prayer partners. Nothing works without prayer! Please pray for the following:
We would love to purchase a buy-to-let property in the UK before we leave. Please pray that funds we are waiting for come through in good time.
Please pray for our sons, daughter-in-laws and grandson as they adjust to this change.
Please pray for more churches and individuals to partner with us as we near our leaving date, that we will have enough resources.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post/newsletter. It is such a joy to know that you're with us on this journey.
May we take this opportunity to wish you a joyous Christmas and a very Happy New Year.
Love and Christ's blessings,
Keith and Barbie