The Final Countdown
It's been a busy few months since we wrote. We have moved out of our home and are 'sofa surfing' for a number of weeks. In everything God has proven faithful and continues to make a way where there seem no other way. Since leaving our paid employment at the end of July we have travelled to see family, friends and speak at churches. By the time we arrive in our new home we will have slept in 16 different beds! Living out of our suitcases is not a glamorous as it sounds, but we have been so grateful for all the kindness and hospitality that we have been shown.
We have also just heard that Keith's second book has been accepted by the publisher and will be released around April/May next year.
Moving across the world and into potentially unsafe areas to minister can be worrying. In one of Keith's quiet times reading through Isaiah the Lord gave this promise to us. It came at a time when it looked like our planned accommodation might fall through and we would have to start the process of house-hunting all over again. Then these words leapt off of the page:
"My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed rest," Isaiah 32:18.
The next day we heard all was going to be well, that we could indeed have the house we had viewed. Again the Lord was reassuring us that He would provide as we continued to step out.
After seven years as serving as the Senior Pastor of life Church, Chelmsford, the time came for Keith and Barbie to say goodbye to this amazing church. Our official farewell service was incredible, with vibrant workship led by Rachel and her team, music from Lisa Pearce and Gospel X (a group of talented teenagers), thank you's from Darren Lee, David Gilbey, Billy Fenning, and Dave Redbond, and an uplifting message from Regional Leader Dave Campbell. Please look through our photo gallery from more images of the evening. We were presented with several gifts, but the most precious was a book that John and Joy Wilson had put together with messages from the church members, young and old and in between, thanking us for our work there. Some of the things recalled in the book we had forgotten about in the busyness of life, and many of these notes brought tearful reminders of God's faithfulness. We were overwhelmed.
During August we returned to Essex to officiate at the wedding of David and Tsisti.
They'd specially asked Keith to return to take the wedding. This lovely couple, oringally from Zimbabwe, are a joy and we pray for their life together to be blessed by the Lord. It was truly a great day.
August has been a particularly emotional month for us. We have visited all of our sons and our lovely daughter-in-laws, spending a week with each of them. We began in Southampton with Ben and Emma, our middle son. Ben works for the Church of England as the Student Development Worker for the Diocese of Winchester. Emma has just been made redundant. We had a lovely time with them. We then traveled to Malvern and spent six days with our youngest son, Sam his wife Susanna and our grandson Joshua. Sam is studying at Regents Theological College and Susanna is a full time mum. Joshua is obviously the cutest grandson in the world (in our opinion). Although hard to say farewell to the children, leaving our grandson is the hardest thing to do. We will Skype regularly (once we have internet connectitivy) so that he does not forget us. Most recently we spent a week in Eastbourne where our eldest son, Matt, and his wife Rio live. Matt took Keith to the gym most days and Keith is still aching! We will return to Eastbourne for our last few days in the UK as Matt and Rio are taking us to the airport.
Over the last few months we wound up our tour of the UK with visits to Crew Elim, Ingatestone Elim, Sholing Elim (Southampton) and Riverside Church, Bewdley.
Crewe Elim: we have known Andy and Sue Taylor for many years and even ministered in churches where Andy pastored before we went to Bible College. It was a joy to meet up with them again and to minister in this friendly church. Welcome to all our new friends and prayer partners from Cheshire.
Ingatestone Elim: Currently meeting in the Village Hall, this church is nearing the end of a renovation and extension building program of their church premises. Lee Carmichael is active in missions and they are the 'sending' church for the Fenners, missionaries who are about four hours south of where we will be based.
Sholing Elim: This is a smaller church with a big future being led by legends (in our mind), Alex and Alethia Grannum. Alex and Alethia established the Elim work in Honduras and, like the Taylors, we have known them for many years. We had a lovely day with this church and were so encouraged by how may have joined our prayer network. Welcome to our newsletter!
Riverside Church, Bewdley: This is a great Elim Church being led by Nigel Tween. Nigel was on holiday when we went but Adam Whitley, the assistant pastor, and his wife Brigette, made us feel so welcome. This church was where Sam and Susanna were placed for their second year at Bible College. They were excited to see them again as they joined us for this service. Again, welcome to our new prayer partners and supporters.
We booked ourselves into 4x4 driver training day with a company in Kent during July. As some of the areas we hope to go are off the beaten track we felt this would be helpful We had a great day and learnt so much.
Our adventure continues as we will be flying out to South Africa on 12th September. Our plan is to spend the first few days with Barbie's family near Pretoria whilst we sort out our bank account, buy a car, purchase a bed and some basic furniture and then move in to our house. We will be living in Phalaborwa, near the Zimbabwe border, next to the Kruger Work. It's really hot there! Its also a great location to begin the work we feel called to do alongside Elim partners Emmanuel Assemblies.
The diary at present looks a bit thin, but this is to be expected until we get there and begin to work. We do have a few dates for your to remember us though:
12th September: depart from Heathrow, UK (8:10pm).
13th September: arrive Johannesburg, RSA (7:30am).
18th September: meeting insurance broker for medical aid, house insurance and car insurance in Phalaborwa; shopping for essentials.
28th September: Preaching at Mamelodi Assembly, Pretoria.
2-4th October: Emmanuel Assemblies National AGM, Bushbuckridge.
Pray for a safe journey to the airport, our flight and onward journey.
Pray our furniture to arrive - due to an internal issue the removal firm have dispatched it late. It's due to arrive in Durban around 5th October and then has to clear customs (up to 28 days) before being transported to us.
Pray for our language learning - we want to learn Northern Sotho and need to find a language teacher asap.
Pray for our children and grandson during this change, especially Matt and Rio who do not know the Lord.
Please pray for our daughter-in-law Emma for wisdom in deciding her next step in this season.
Thank you for standing with us.
In His service,
Keith and Barbie
All gifts towards our ministry should be marked 'Jacksons South Africa' and sent to Elim International Missions, Elim International Centre, De Walden Road, West Malvern, WR14 4DF (cheques payable to Elim International Missions).
If you would like to make regular gifts towards our support please visit our giving page or our contact page.
Thank you so much.
Charity No. 251549 (England & Wales) SC037754 (Scotland)