St Mary’s Mission Partners
At St Mary’s we support a number of individuals and projects looking to share the life-changing love of Jesus with others, both in the UK and abroad.
We're pleased to be a Tearfund “Connected Church” with our chosen project, ZOE. ZOE stands for Zimbabwe Orphans through Extended Hands and provides help to some of the many orphans and vulnerable children in Zimbabwe.
Zoe encourages churches to take responsibility for vulnerable children and, because of their place at the centre of a community, they are able to identify the children and households most at risk, but often they just don’t know how to help. When a church leader approaches ZOE for help with caring for orphans, they first ask the pastor to gather all the church leaders in the area. ZOE staff then envision the leaders together about the biblical message to care for orphans.
The leaders go back to their churches and share the vision. They ask those in their congregations who have a heart for orphans to become volunteers. ZOE then trains these church volunteers to visit and support families who are caring for orphans.
“Connected Church” means that, together, we at St Mary’s receive regular news about ZOE’s work in Zimbabwe,and have the opportunity to pray in an informed way for ZOE, and we also support ZOE financially as well. We have already donated £12,931.31 from our church missions giving, special collections and Zimbabwean-themed events to ZOE and we have committed ourselves to do even better.
It is our prayer that all of us in our groups and individually will take ZOE ‘on board’ and will look actively for ways in which we can help.
This year we were looking forward to visiting Zimbabwe in October, to get to know our Christian friends at first hand and to further build our relationship by meeting individual folk there. Unfortunately this trip is now in the balance now due to the unstable economic and political situation. Please pray for wisdom regarding this trip and find the right path to go down.
What can I pray for?
Please pray for ZOE’s volunteers. They regularly visit households of orphans and vulnerable children and monitor different livelihoods projects to help families flourish. Pray that each volunteer remains energised, and does not get tired or discouraged by challenges, instead finding strength and courage for all that they do. Please pray for stability and a revival of the economy.
You can get to know more about ZOE by visiting http://connected.tearfund.org/en/partners/zoe/
BRUCE AND JAN ROSSINGTON
Bruce and Jan are based in Kenya with Africa Inland Mission, whose aim is to plant churches in every part of Africa, and equip them with a Bible. Bruce is Scripture Engagement Consultant for AIM’s Eastern Region and works in Bible translation to make God’s word available to people in the language and medium (either written or audio) that best enables them to engage with God’s word. Jan teaches French and oversees the IGCSE programme at Rift Valley Academy, which supports mission partners by educating and mentoring their children. Their three children Zoe, Martha and Joe study also at the Rift Valley Academy. This year we sent £3,000 in general support of their work.
Bruce's next trip will be at the beginning of March, when he is due to go to Goma in the DRC. This is a town in Eastern Congo in North Kivu Province. There has recently been a major outbreak of Ebola in this Province, further north than Goma, so this time Bruce will go to Gisenyi, a neighbouring town over the border in Rwanda and will meet them there. If there was to be a new case of Ebola near Goma while Bruce was there, the Rwandans would close the border and Bruce would not be able to get back. He worked in Rwanda for 5 years and speaks the language, so that will be no problem.
What can I pray for?
Bruce has been asked to give a talk about the potential for increased partnership between church planters and Bible translators. Please pray for Bruce as he participates in these meetings and catches up with Cameroonian friends and colleagues. Please pray for good health and sufficient sleep in the Central African humidity. Please also pray for Jan, Martha and Joe as they carry on with their schedule at RVA. Pray especially for good health for Jan as she juggles additional responsibilities in Bruce’s absence.
St Mary’s partners with the charity Open Doors to support and serve persecuted Christians who are living out their faith in countries where to do so can be dangerous, illegal or life threatening. In over 50 countries, Open Doors is supplying Bibles, training church leaders, delivering Bible-based literacy programmes and supporting Christians who suffer for their faith. In the UK and Ireland Open Doors works to raise awareness of global persecution, mobilising prayer, support and action among Christians. Open Doors' core belief is that trust in God’s faithfulness is central to having the courage to persevere as a persecuted Christian – and it’s central to our work as we serve them. St Mary’s is now a Partner Church with Open Doors, and recently welcomed Open Doors' Coen Van Wyk to speak to us. Open Doors provide some great resources which you can pick up from the back of church. This year we gave £3,000 to Open Doors to be used where the need is greatest.
For the latest news visit https://www.opendoorsuk.org/news/stories
What can I pray for?
Pray for safety from attack for Christians in Nigeria as the election period looms, and for any Christians persecuted or in imminent danger around the world.
You can also sign up online for their prayer diary and other updates here: http://opendoorsuk.org/pray/
FAITH INITIATIVES AT LONG LARTIN PRISON
This is an exciting opportunity to support Rev. Stephen Blake in his prison ministry at the local Long Lartin prison and to be able to provide some much-needed resources to the Christian outreach to prisoners. The hope is to see men with troubled pasts being transformed as they come to faith.
In the last year we've provided nearly 60 Bibles to Long Lartin prison. Chaplain Rev Stephen Blake explained to me why the Bibles are so popular:
"All the bibles and study bibles you kindly supplied us over recent months have flown off the shelves into cells across the jail now. I had a long chat today with Shaun, one of our Christian lifers, who explained why the study bibles are so useful – it’s because many of our men do their individual bible study after lockup, when they can’t ask for help about difficult verses from friends & chaplains, but can get immediate guidance from a study bible. He said they are absolutely invaluable and was so grateful, because it’s a resource they’ve never had before. For the record, these are all given out on a long-term loan basis – they are stamped up that they must be returned when the men move on to other jails so we can keep circulating them here. The hope is that our guys will buy their own when they have got in the habit of using them."
As well as the study Bibles, we've also supported the chaplaincy at Long Lartin in providing Christmas gifts of Scripture-based coasters for each of the men who came to Christmas day worship at the jail. These were gratefully received, as the Chaplains at Long Lartin have no budget from the Prison Service for these sorts of items.
The latest news can be found here.
What can I pray for?
Pray for those in prison, that through the provision of bibles they will come to know the living Christ who can comfort and heal them and bring them peace plus a new perspective on life.
Najoom is a group of followers of Jesus Christ from around the world. They believe that
his message is for everyone, full of grace, love, and peace and they seek to spread his word particuarly across the Muslim faith in the Middle East. Najoon invites you to join them in believing all God has for the Arab peoples.
St Mary's has supported Najoom with a gift of £1000. Najoom is a media ministry that reaches Arab Muslims with the good news of the love of Jesus. Through creative and contextualised media, they reach Arabs who are seeking online. Then they connect the seekers up with local and expat believers to disciple them. They send out short, engaging prayer emails fortnightly with current encouraging stories. St Mary's gift is going to be used to dub their animation series into Urdu. Najoom's thank you letter is here.
Rasha saw an advert and started asking questions through private messages. The first time she engaged with our content she downloaded a Bible, read Mark’s gospel and more. She’s asked questions of ‘What does unforgivable sin mean?’ ‘What is the difference between the types of forgiveness?’ (Arabic has two words, one for God’s forgiveness, one for people forgiving each other), ‘I've never heard this before, these verses hit me like an earthquake in my life and I can't get them out of my head that God completely forgives our sins through death of Jesus’.
What can I pray for?
Prayer is turning the tide amongst the Arab peoples as unprecedented numbers of Muslims are turning to Jesus as Lord. The latest video prayer letter from Najoom is here: https://vimeo.com/264224384
You can get to know more about Najoom by visiting https://najoom.org
Innovista works to identify and develop young leaders - in their twenties and thirties - to bring hope to their communities with the Christian faith. Leadership development involves a range of initiatives including training, coaching, mentoring and a wide range of service projects with a focus on areas that are under-resourced. By 2020, their vision is to train 2,500 leaders a year who will bring the hope of Jesus to 250,000 people every month. This year we gave £1,000 to Innovista towards their general project funding.
Over a long evening, a little girl’s father asked lots of questions. As Helena told him about Jesus, his suspicion turned to searching. And at the end of the night, he – and the whole family – decided to follow Jesus ...And the latest news from our local team in Central Asia is that God has grown this ministry to twenty small groups of new disciples.
What can I pray for?
Pray for Mary as she inspires supporters, builds authentic relationships with them, and helps them to understand the impact of their giving.
You can get to know more about Innovista by visiting https://innovista.org/