‘[The Lord] gives his king victories; he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants for ever.’
2 Samuel 22:51
There is hope! Jonny preached on this section of 2 Samuel at a partner church recently. There is so much failure, sadness and sin-induced brokenness in the story. But it is so encouraging to hear God’s promises of unfailing commitment to his king. King David’s supreme descendant Jesus is now on God’s throne for ever and, through faith in him, we get to enjoy God’s ‘unfailing kindness’ that he pours out on us in his kingdom! So in the midst of any sadness, failure or sin, may we rest more and more secure and joyful in that unfailing kindness of God. Please pray for our partner church to embrace that, for us to do so ourselves, and why not pray it for yourself too?
We’re back in beautifully green and cool and familiar England. June-July were full of goodbyes and leaving ceremonies in The Gambia. Culturally, they’re much more into elaborate ceremonies than us - not ideal for awkward self-conscious Brits, but very touching and encouraging! We asked you to pray for our hearts to trust God and have peace in him as we transitioned and we thank God for answering those prayers. We were sad to leave dear friends and co-workers but we have been full of gratefulness for God’s goodness in so many ways, and glad to arrive back here, see people and begin to prepare for what’s ahead.
In England, Beth was greatly encouraged by serving at Sparkford 1 (a camp for 14-18 year olds), enjoying the camaraderie of serving alongside a great team and seeing God at work. Meanwhile Jonny gathered and moved our things into a lovely new home in London (details below), for which we really thank God. We're particularly thankful for running and hot water and not a single insect yet seen! We’ve enjoyed some quality time with family and friends, a refreshing holiday in Cornwall, plus visits to three of our four partner churches (Fowey, Toxteth and Croydon) that have partnered with us faithfully over the last four years of our ministry in The Gambia. It's such a blessing to have these congregations to enjoy this gospel partnership together - they've been a big encouragement to us, and we hope we have been to them. Please pray that these churches would be encouraged and spurred on by Jonny's preaching and by hearing of how ‘the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world’ (Colossians 1:6), including in The Gambia.
We thank God that a SOW (Servants of the Word) summer school has successfully taken place in our absence, beginning to train SOW students, alumni, and others in agricultural skills that are hugely strategic and even essential for sustainable pastoral ministry in The Gambia. We're thankful that Pastor Steven (SOW Director) has had a fruitful trip to the USA for encouragement, refreshment, training and support-raising. And we're excited that very soon SOW alumnus and faculty member Daniel will be arriving here to begin the Cornhill Training Course.
We are excited now about what’s ahead. We are really looking forward to getting to know people in Streatham Hill, where we’re living, and Balham (where Jonny begins as Assistant Minister at Christ Church Balham on 1 September). Please pray we’d be faithful witnesses to Jesus to neighbours (we’re thankful we’ve already met a few) and quickly build relationships at church that will help and equip people for works of service of our Lord Jesus. One key area of responsibility for Jonny will be overseeing the church small groups - please pray for insight for training and teaching, quick relationship-building and all he'll need to serve effectively there. We're also delighted to share that we are expecting a Baby Burgess to arrive in February! Praise God for his amazing creation! And please ask for his strength and help in every way with this thrilling and daunting new responsibility!
Our new address is 100 Hailsham Avenue, London, SW2 3AH - please let us know if you're in the SW London area! And we'd love to see you if you can drop in on Saturday 26 October (any time from 4pm) for a housewarming party. We'll dig out the Gambian bunting.
We can't fully express how grateful we are to God for all of you supporters and faithful gospel partners. You have been an invaluable means of God's grace. We feel the need to reflect more on so many very formative experiences during our season of ministry in The Gambia - here's a promise for a blog post to come with more thoughts and thanks.
We love you. Thank you so much.
Jonny & Beth
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