“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” Jeremiah 29 v 11
Our Dear Friends, Warm Christian greetings, and a blessed, healthy and peaceful 2021!
No doubt you noticed that from among the Christmas cards and newsletters you received over Christmas, ours was missing? Yes, owing to various circumstance we decided to wait for the New Year.
Many words were used during the year such as Coronavirus, Masks, Vaccine, Unprecedented, Lockdown, Restrictions, Tiers and sadly, Deaths to name but a few. People are talking about the new normal. Soon, we will not remember what the old normal looked like!
During the year we stood outside our homes and joined with neighbours in applauding the NHS and other Care workers. We continue to thank all those who are working so hard to keep us healthy and safe.
For Kathryn last year began in a very painful way. An MRI scan revealed two slippages in her spine. The Orthopaedic Surgeon suggested two options – injections and surgery. She had two injections just prior to the first lockdown which relieved the pain and brought back a measure of mobility for which we are both grateful. Other health issues will be dealt with when convenient.
In our Christmas 2019 letter we mentioned that David was waiting for a hip replacement which was diagnosed in June that year. This past December (30th) he had his pre-op appointment at the RD&E and now waits for the operation. (Covid 19 willing)
Also, in our Christmas 2019 letter we shared about our Grandson Benjamin having brain surgery for a non malignant tumour. The operation in Orlando Florida was carried out on January 8th but, owing to its size only about 50% of the tumour was removed. He made a good recovery and was scheduled to have an MRI scan last July, but the restrictions of Covid 19 prevented it until September. Sadly, the scan revealed that the tumour had grown and another operation was required. This twelve hour surgery took place on December 8th again in Orlando.
Following is an update from Matthew and Wendy.
“Please share our sincere gratitude to everyone who has been praying for Benjamin. We are SO overwhelmed by the concern shown for Benjamin and the prayers offered on his behalf. It has made a difference! It has been a roller-coaster, but we have seen God's hand at work and have been filled with His peace.
We were very thankful that Benjamin was able to be discharged from hospital and our family could spend Christmas together with Wendy's parents in Winter Haven, Florida. It has definitely been good medicine for all of us. And since coming home Benjamin has made enormous progress in his strength, mobility and balance. He is receiving intensive therapy. His attitude has also been amazing throughout the whole process. He hasn't complained once and has been a tremendous example to all of us.
The surgery (12 hours) was a lot more difficult and much longer than anticipated, and the surgeons were not able to remove the entire tumour. However, they believe they took enough of the tumour so that the remaining 20% can be removed via gamma radiation. We won't know for sure until further scans are done in March.
The surgery left Benjamin with swallowing problems, paralysis on the left side of his face and hearing loss in his left ear. The swallowing problem means Benjamin has had to be fed through a feeding tube until his swallowing improves. We continue to value your prayers for his complete healing and we trust that God will use Benjamin's experience for his good and God’s Glory!”
We are so thankful to God for Wendy’s parents, Edison and Eunice for their gracious hospitality in caring for not only Matthew, Wendy and Benjamin but, Naomi and Gideon also. It looks like their stay in Winter Haven could be a Month or two.
As for the rest of our family. Rachel, Tristan, William and Holly are all well and living in Ferndown, Nr Bournemouth. Being Key workers (Nurse and CID Officer) they have been working all through the pandemic. We have really missed seeing and being with them.
The last time David preached to a “Normal” congregation was on March 15th. Since then he has preached four times with the restrictions and on Zoom to churches in Devon, Somerset and Cornwall which has been a new and exciting way of keeping in touch. He has also sent out printed sermons. Kathryn has Zoomed to two Ladies meetings. We are both still open for this kind of ministry.
Pastoral ministry has been much in demand mainly by telephone and e-mail. We share in leadership of a fortnightly Fellowship at Pinhoe Road Baptist Church here in Exeter, made up of mainly twenty or so senior citizens to whom regular phone calls are made.
Kathryn has been using her culinary skills as meals etc. have been delivered (doorstep) to many older friends.
David has conducted or shared in a number of funerals of cherished friends with restricted numbers. Since March we have lost thirty personal Christian friends (Just one from Covid 19)
David is still deeply involved with the Good News Paper. Prior to the Pandemic some 2,600 papers went from our home each Month. During the past Months some felt unable to continue delivering them so at present the number is about 1,600.
This Month (January) brings to an end sixty years of “Full time” ministry for David. How we thank God for the great privilege of preaching the Gospel with His enabling, protection and provision and for all the friendships formed.
While Pastoring in Nassau, Bahamas, we were privileged to meet the late Dr James Blackwood President of Global Outreach Mission. When we returned to the UK and Pastored a church in London, Dr Blackwood said that he would like to set up a branch of GOM in the UK. James Alexander Stewart of Greenock, Scotland started the European Evangelistic Fellowship, which in 1940 became GOM. So in 1980 the Rev Bill Turner and David founded Global Outreach UK as a charitable Trust. From that time scores of people came over from North America for ministry. The Prince of Peace teams for six weeks each Summer, also short term workers for 1 – 2 years and career missionaries. Some went from the UK to other parts of the world. David has served as chairman of the Trustees and honorary UK Secretary. GOM is now known as MissionGO.
In recent years the numbers have declined mainly due to Visa problems and at our Annual General meeting on December 4th via Zoom, the Trustees voted unanimously to terminate the Trust. It was a sad but realistic decision. Over the years we have held a Monthly Prayer Fellowship and lunch at our home and enjoyed fellowship with Missionaries and a lovely group of prayer partners when we have shared news from our Missionaries serving here in the UK and overseas. We will continue to be a part of the growing MissionGO family.
This is quite an important year for us with David being 80 years old in June and our 50th Wedding Anniversary in August, both God Willing! So, that is another reason why we are changing seasons!
God bless you, and thank you for your Friendship and Fellowship.
David and Kathryn