(Written 11th January 2018.)
I was taken aback midway through 2017 when my local GP said to me, “You really must cut down on the things you are doing”. I had had quite a lot of inner infections and asked him why he thought this was. Dr Stephen said I must remember my age (68yrs. at the time) and know that my body was already weak with chronic conditions including the laryngectomy, chronic breathing disorder (pulmonary obstruction), type two diabetes, night time epilepsy, and historically two total knee replacements, with two more recent prostate obstructions (non-malignant) zapped away by a laser beams – the latest near the end of 2016.
Brenda and I took stock of what we were doing, especially me. We believe this was a timely message from the Lord we were given. I had technically retired at 65yrs. but was still very busy with ‘ministry’.
To decide which ‘ministries’ to stop and which to keep on going involved making very tough, yet we hope realistic, choices.
We felt our help for our Sudanese and South Sudanese Christian colleagues was priority, and I was three quarters of the way through editing our 7th book published in either Khartoum, Sudan, or Juba, South Sudan. (This last one has just been published with 6,500 copies in Juba: “Leadership, Integrity and Nation-building.” It can be read elsewhere on this website, as can all of the books).
We decided to keep
1. at least one writing, editing, fund-raising and publishing project for our African friends, annually
2. writing and emailing 6 per year ‘BiMonthly Encouragements’ on subjects relevant to the one hundred or so Christian leaders who receive them in the two countries (plus a few others elsewhere)
3. adding to and updating our website www.colinsalter.net on the last evening every month, so making Christian Bible teaching resources available to many pastors and others in both countries.
All three of these projects involve some time, in studying and preparation, presentation on the computer, and regularly keeping in contact with our dear believing friends in Islamic dominated Sudan, and in the varied sufferings of South Sudan.
However, in keeping these three serving opportunities AND trying to obey the doctor’s strong advice, some things we have had to lay down and make way for others to do them.
1. Secretary of the Cornwall Speak Easy Club for laryngectomees.
We still attend some meetings, but not all. We visit friends made over the last 11 years and pray that our Christian witness allows Jesus Himself to shine through to people. We stopped directly serving some 20 people who were ‘on the list’.
2. Leading a fortnightly (latterly monthly) Homegroup from Redruth Baptist Church. Brenda hosted/led the prayer times while I usually led the Bible discussions/study times. This group is presently stopped, with some folk absorbed into other RBC groups, but not all. This was probably the toughest service for us to finish, especially since we had known and ministered with some of the folk since coming to pastor in Redruth in 1981. The church elders have been very understanding.
3. Periodic preaching, about once per month, at our home church, Illogan Parish. I wanted to assist our Rector as much as he needed, but after two years or so, found speaking – even for 15 to 20 minutes – was taking so much out of me. After homegroup and after preaching I generally had to sleep most of the afternoon, evening, and sometimes into next day. So, on 31st December 2017 I preached what will probably be my last sermon, to a congregation of about 70 people, on the assigned Bible reading of Galatians 4:4-7: God’s two Christmas gifts to us
1. His Son, and
2. The Spirit of His Son.
Brenda and I are still getting used to these changes. We are hoping to have a weekly day out to enjoy the beautiful Cornish coast and countryside. And a friend from church is helping with my model railway, which now takes almost half of my study!
We hope we can still serve and honour our Lord Jesus in all we do, as Paul urges: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters”, Colossians 3:23 New International Version - UK (NIVUK).
Please pray for us as God prompts you to do so. Thanks.