When God Says Move...
We want to share some very important news with you all.
One of the reasons we came to Southern Africa was to alleviate the suffering of expectant mothers, babies and new parents. The aim was to commence a mobile midwifery clinic and to deliver free healthcare in the villages where there was little or no provision. However, this has not been possible. Barbie applied to have her qualifications recognised even before we left the UK. Sadly, although several government bodies here have recognised her degree and experience, one department continues to be uncooperative, have been inconsistent with the application of their own rules, and have effectively blocked this demanding that she retrain! Without this registration Barbie cannot practice, cannot get insurance in case anything should go wrong, and cannot progress this ministry. We have tried everything we can think of. We were approached a while ago for a bribe to get this sorted out. Obviously, this is not something we would consider. However, the issue now is time-critical. Barbie has to submit a portfolio of work to the UK Nursing and Midwifery Council every three years or she will lose her registration back home. The next submission is due December 2023, so Barbie needs to begin working in the next six months. We considered sending her back to England for 6-12 months to work there whilst Keith remained here.
So, that with other underlying issues that we don’t feel we can go into here, led us to pray that God would open a door here in SA or back in the UK. We were approached by an Elim church and asked if we would consider joining their team. We prayed long and hard about this for six months and agreed to meet with their elders whilst on furlough. We had two meetings with them. An invitation was extended to Keith to join their team from January 2023 as co-pastor, with a view to taking on the senior role in twelve months, prior to the current pastor’s retirement.
We prayed some more! We realised that selling our house here in Phalaborwa, not the most salubrious of places, could take a long time! In fact, the house we live in was on the market for three years before we purchased it. We have heard of other homes that have been on the market even longer. We contacted an Estate Agent and they came, took photos and began with initially marketing it to existing clients. Four hours later they began viewings. It sold that same day, with two full price offers! We accepted one (things work a bit differently here when buying or selling homes, gazumping is not allowed).
It has become clear that God wants us back home. We have reflected a lot on what we have done here. Churches have been planted; over 3500 leaders trained in various settings and subjects, both here and in Zimbabwe; a conservative estimate of 8500 people were fed during the pandemic with enough to feed a family of four for two weeks at a time; many hundreds of baby boxes have been distributed; churches built up and encouraged through ‘revival’ weeks; some young people mentored; a house built for a pastor and his family so they could move out of a metal shack; a new church plant has its own building; the gospel has been regularly shared at the local police station’s parade; a high school opened their doors to us to lead assemblies; and generally influencing where we are for good. None of this would have been possible without the generosity of people like you partnering with us. Although tinged with sadness at leaving we continue to trust God’s plan for our lives.
When do we leave? Our news was announced in the local church we will be joining this morning (Elim require this news is shared with the church and you on the same day). We are aiming to leave Phalaborwa at the end of October, providing all goes to plan with the house sale. We are shipping some personal items, but not our furniture after the stress of bringing it out here initially. We aim to fly out to the UK on 8th November.
Where are we going? We are returning to Reading, Keith’s hometown, and to our home church, All
Nations Christian Centre. We are very excited to see what God has in store for us and the church there in the coming years, as we work alongside Pastor Billy Fenning, the Elders and wider leadership team. Our induction service is on Sunday 8th January 2023; we’d be delighted if you could attend but understand it may not be possible for everyone. Check out their website: https://www.allnationselim.org
Those of you who are supporting us financially will receive a separate email this week from Elim International Missions regarding this transition period.
We will continue to send out newsletters and updates until the end of January 2023, so that you can journey with us through this time.
Barbie has applied for a job in the community midwifery department in the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust. Pray she gets it.
For our transition period when we will be reacclimatising to life in the UK.
For All Nations Christian Centre, that our joining their team would be a blessing!
For those we leave behind here in Emmanuel Assemblies, and for God’s continued hand of blessing upon them.
hanks for standing with us.
Keith and Barbie
The Small Print
All gifts for ministry should be sent to us via Elim Missions. This can be done:
1) online via the Elim Missions website- www.elim.org.uk/missions,
2) by post to Elim International Missions, De Walden Road, West Malvern, WR14 4DF. Cheques should be made payable to Elim International Missions & marked (Jacksons, South Africa) on the reverse. Or,
3) if you would like to set up a Direct Debit, Standing Order or make a ‘one-off’ bank transfer donation, please contact the Elim Missions office firstname.lastname@example.org to request further information.
On the rare occasion that money is given to projects which become either over or under-subscribed or is continued to be given for a missionary after they have completed their missionary service, we will make every endeavour to contact donors before we divert funds to works of a similar nature.
To cover the cost of administrating missionaries and overseas organisations, Elim Missions withholds a small percentage on gifts given.
Registered Charity 251549 (England & Wales) / SC037754 (Scotland)