Our missionary partners
St Andrew’s supports four missionary partners in prayer and through regular financial support through the Mission Fund. Please remember then in your own prayers, and if you would like to contribute to supporting their work, the Treasurer will be happy to hear from you.
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News from Martin and Marion Cooper - October 2015
As we both look forward to our 70th birthdays in 2016, we have found our thoughts turning to the subject of retirement! Should we retire?...If so, when?…What does the Bible have to say? And, as we have pondered, an Old Testament passage has been very helpful for us personally. In Numbers 8 v 23-26 God gives instructions about the retirement of the Levites. He tells them that at the age of fifty(!) “they must retire from their regular service and work no longer” …and we can just imagine some of their reactions to this; ‘I’m not ready to retire!…I’m still really motivated and fulfiilled in my work!…I’ve got so much more still to offer!’. Nevertheless, God says to them, “they must not do the work”! But that’s not all he says: he goes on, “They may assist their brothers in performing their duties”.
So, God is commissioning them to different tasks, rather than denying them the sense of personal fulfilment that comes from making an ongoing contribution to the work of His Kingdom. The time has come for them to lay aside leadership responsibilities, but not to relinquish ministry, especially in helping those whose turn it is to lead.
As we have meditated on these words, God has made it very clear that the milestone of seventy years (rather than fifty, in the case of the Levites) should signal a similar transition for us. Leadership is to cease, but ministry is to continue, in new ways, but with the same commitment.
At this stage, we are only just beginning to apply our minds to what this should mean for us, but we would especially value your prayers as we do so…and, we will write again some time next Spring, with news of developments, decisions and future plans, as God leads us.
Right now, there is so much to occupy us fruitfully:
- new doors are opening for our Second Half Living workshops, with churches in Surrey, Kent, Essex and Bucks, as well as here in Southampton, considering us visiting them for ministry in the New Year.
- Martin’s mentoring links with five ministers in the south are especially energizing. Mostly he meets with them on a 1-2-1 basis, but earlier this year he was able to bring them together for a day, and will be doing so again soon.
- internationally, The Navigators’ Church Ministries’ initiatives are progressing encouragingly. Martin continues to lead a small team comprised of those who oversee this work in Africa, Asia, Europe and N. America. Through their monthly conference calls and occasional meetings together, they are able to explore and develop ways in which these varied ministries can be better networked and resourced.
- related to this, he has also been able, specifically, to meet several times with three European staff colleagues, to see how these kinds of ministry can be strengthened and developed by The Navigators in Europe
- last, but by no means least, God has recently opened up some unexpected opportunities to re-connect with old school friends from fifty years ago, most of whom do not know the Lord. Again, please pray with us for open doors to the the gospel, especially at a reunion dinner at the beginning of next month.
We are constantly amazed at all that God is doing! Thank you so much once again for partnering with us in it.
News from Cathy and Charles Asiki - June 2012
Cathy Finn (as she then was) attended St Andrew’s until she graduated as a maths teacher in 1987. After university, she went to Uganda with the Church Missionary Society. There she met and married Charles Asiki and they have four children. Since 1997, they have been involved in establishing and teaching in the Ushindi Christian primary and secondary schools where they live in Arua in North West Uganda. Substantial contributions from members of St Andrew’s in the last couple of years have helped towards the purchase of land and setting up of a sixth form at the school.
News from the schools is mixed. The Primary School, as you may remember, was involved in a court case with some members of the family from whom we bought the land. After many delays, we recently received a judgment which was a great shock to us as the judge said the sale should be set aside and the land should revert back to the original owners. If the school wishes to be refunded the money that we paid, then it is up to the school to seek its repayment in another case. The judge made no provision for the return of our money. In addition, he ordered the school to pay costs and compensation to the family. This really shocked us and the whole community as we felt that we had not done anything against the law and had brought the land through lawyers from the person who had the letter of administration from the whole family.
Our lawyer feels that the judge has misinterpreted the law and so we are advised to appeal. The case is now in the appeal court but, if the judgment is upheld, we could lose the current land, all the money that we paid for it (most of which was a bank loan we are still paying back) and even have to pay more in costs and compensation. We held a day of prayer at the school where the Board, teachers, parents, neighbours and other concerned Christians came together to pray for the appeal. It is very hard to know how long an appeal may take and the judgment is ‘on hold’ until the appeal judges give their verdict. We have begun looking for alternative places for the school in case we have to move out, maybe at very short notice.
The Headteachers of both schools have also been sick. Rose, the Headmistress of the Primary School, suffered a minor stroke in May but has recovered very well and is already back in school. She has no lasting effects from the stroke but needs to be careful not to get stressed or overworked. Isaac, the Head of the Secondary School, had back surgery recently to try to correct damage to his spine which he got in a motorbike accident some years ago. He is also recovering and back at work but cannot sit for long and gets a lot of pain in his back which may not improve.
The schools continue to get good results in the national exams and demand is still high for the places.
Thank you for the continued support. We were happy to hear of the new Minister.
With our thanks to you all,
The main building, staff offices and entrance. Flags flying from the flag poles are the country of Uganda and the school’s own flag
News from Pedro and Luz Stella Arias - November 2013
Pedro, Jeremy, Sammy, Paula and Luz Stella Arias
Pedro is a journalist and broadcaster with Reach Beyond - formerly known as HCJB Global, the Christian radio station which broadcasts to the world from Quito, Ecuador. Pedro has particular concerns for providing support for persecuted Christians, especially in his home country of Colombia which is now one of the worst places in the world for the disappearance and killing of Christians. We pray for his safety and well-being when he visits Colombia.
Pedro and his wife Luz Stella are also the Pastors of the Spanish-speaking Iglesia Cristiana de Newham (Newham Christian Church) in east London which worships in the premises of the River Christian Centre in Canning Town and ministers to the Latin American community across a wide area of London. Recently they have opened and pastor to a further church, Iglesia Cristiana Maranatha in the Elephant and Castle area of south-east London.
So much has happened in connection with our ministry and with our activities here in UK and abroad, that again, the time has flown.
HCJB Global....Sporting events around the world from a Christian perspective
We are preparing our trip to Brazil for next year. It’s a big responsibility as a journalist, missionary and pastor to report from one of the world’s biggest media sporting events. Already a team went to Rio last month to arrange accommodation and other logistic ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Pedro is going to be part of a team of reporters and programme producers, based in Rio, will report on the World Cup and its surrounding issues. Pedro has been the Spanish producer for the Olympic Games in Barcelona (1992), Sydney (2000), Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008). In 2010 he reported for over 1000 Spanish-speaking stations at the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, all thorough the Latin American countries, Spain and the latinos in USA. Last year, for the Olympic Summer Games in London he was invited to be part of the host broadcasting organization, Olympic Broadcasting Services London as a commentator.
As you may know sport dominates the media. It’s a religion for millions, reason why it dominates lives. God has given us the knowledge and experience to do something different in media in order to impact lives with the message of salvation of our Lord Jesus. In Luke, chapter 5 we can read: “…and the Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples saying, ‘Why do You eat and drink with the tax gatherers and sinners?’ And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
The Christian faith is for sinners and sport is a great tool to bring people to the knowledge of Jesus. Across the world millions tune their radios and TV because they love sport. We report from major sporting events with news and comment reflecting a belief in Jesus Christ. We aim to show that following Jesus Christ is relevant for the sports fan in the 21st century and that living according to Jesus’ teaching offers the best lifestyle around.
Once freed from slavery, God’s people didn’t know how to live in freedom
The Great Commission of Christianity is the instruction of the resurrected Jesus Christ to his disciples that they spread his teachings to all the nations of the world. In radio and in our churches we preached that it’s important we obey Jesus’s instructions. Our life is always busy especially that now we are pastors of two growing Spanish speaking congregations in London. This year we’ve been twice in South America (Chile, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador) preaching in churches and giving seminars to professionals there. Also we went to help some pastors as we’ve discovered that many of today’s pastors are privately hurting and desperately need help.
As part of our pastoral work the Lord has opened doors also in Spain. Luz Stella is helping some pastors and his churches and like here, she has the School of Christian Counseling in two Spanish regions: Santander and La Rioja.
This week we have a special Congress “Flying Like Eagles”. More than thirty people are coming from outside of UK and we’re expecting in our meetings around three hundred people.
Our children Paula, Sammy and Jeremy
They are well, working, studying and all three helping us in our ministry. Sammy (with spina bifida and hydrocephalus), as usual plenty of support is needed with his daily life.
Once again, thank you for all your love and support!
Pedro & Luz Stella