“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
The Great Commission has been of great personal significance to us as a couple as we have endeavoured to fully and devotedly follow our Lord Jesus Christ. Through our walk with Jesus and in our years of ministry within the Pastorate, Hilary and I have taken very seriously our calling to reach lost people with the life changing message of the Gospel and to help build up believers, encouraging them to maturity in their walk and faith in Jesus Christ. Taking in, Reaching out, and growing up!
Hilary and I are truly amazed at the goodness of God and the faithful God we serve. It has been a wonderful privilege to serve the Lord in the local church and our hearts will continue to link very much to local church vision, while continuing to inspire the local church to link with the challenge and excitement of sharing the Gospel globally. Acts 1:8, which says, 'But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” This has been a very significant scripture for us in the ongoing process of partnering with the Lord and endeavouring to be available to Him, obediently submitting to His will and being ready to embark on new challenges.
The Great Commission to be a witness to Him in ever increasing expanding ripples that spiral out, affecting and influencing others is an enormousbut exciting challenge. I believe that witness is a partnership process; it passes from one to the other, spreads and grows, changing lives with the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit. It might start with family, grow to neighbourhood, expand to community, ripple on to impact nationally and ultimately exalt the Lord in the 'ends of the earth.'
Did He not say that He would be 'exalted among the nations' ? (Ps 46:10) I believe we need to take each of these areas seriously, witnessing for the Lord within each of them, working in partnership with the Holy Spirit and with one another, recognising that the brighter the light shines in one, the further it will shine in the next. William Carey, a pioneer missionary in the eighteenth century, once said, "The further your light shines the brighter it shines at home."
As we embark upon this new area of ministry, we realise the immense privilege it is - for we know we are standing on the shoulders of giants who have brought the area of International Missions to the place it is today. There are great foundations to build on and we especially acknowledge the faithful ministry of Pastor Cotter and his wife Connie, who have lifted the work to an all time high. Many times I wonder how this man could be followed, and I realise he can't! I will continue to be grateful for all his support and guidance as I 'learn the ropes'. Ray has done the most remarkable job over the past 12 years, raising awareness of the Elim work in Central and Southern Africa and securing support for the missionaries and the many projects on the ground.
We do value your heartfelt prayers and I look forward to meeting up with Pastors and the army of volunteers who work so hard in the background, helping to raise awareness of the work of missions, calling churches to praying regularly for the missionaries and raising finance to help support the work. I know it will be a real honour to work alongside you all, shoulder-to-shoulder, in partnership with the Lord, working together for the advancement of the Kingdom of God across the world and reaching the nations for the Lord. Please also pray for my family as they adjust to the practical realities of my new calling, and the challenges that will inevitably entail.