All In Good Time

Dear friends,

This is now my last article and letter to you while in my role as one of the ministers of the gospel in our beautiful community and Christian family. I am taking early retirement on health grounds, and my wife and I are moving abroad to Zambia.

Anna and I never anticipated that we would be leaving within two years of becoming a minister in the Meon Valley Circuit and its wider community just as we did not anticipate Covid-19 as we ended the year 2019. Nevertheless, my leaving the appointment is happening all in good time. We never saw this, but God did. We may question to what purpose then did God allow us to be together for such a short time? While there are varied answers we can give, God in his wisdom determines the times and seasons for us just as he does for all things. To him, there is a time for everything, in his time he makes all things beautiful, and it was “in the fullness of the time” that God sent his Son Jesus Christ to be born of a virgin, to suffer death on the cross, and to rise again from the dead on the third day, all for our salvation from sin.

The hymn “The Day Thou Gavest Lord Is Ended” comes to my mind as I write this letter because as I am trying to say, God sees to it that everything takes place at its right time. That is why he in his word even says, “Today is the day of salvation, now is the time to be accepted”.

For me and my wife, the day that the Lord gave us to be with you in this part of Southampton is now coming to the end. New beginnings are about to start; and all of us must make the most of them, paying particular detail to the leading of the Lord’s Holy Spirit. It will be the only way we will be joyfully satisfied when the new season ends, and it is all change again.

For me and my wife, only one thing remains, and that is to thank you for the wonderful welcome, love, care and unending hospitality you have kindly lavished on us. You have been family to us as fellow human beings and as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. Our Church family, our neighbours, and strangers have all been good to us; and in recent weeks, your generosity, friendship, and physical help has surprised us.

Thank you from our hearts, or should I say “Zikomo ngako” (Ngoni language). You do community really well. It is the best we have ever witnessed in all our travels.

And as I end,

The LORD bless you and keep you;

the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;

the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.

Revd. Joseph Tembo

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