The final letter?
Long-serving mission partner Jenny Green writes one last time to the people who have supported her all the way
Twenty-three years late, Jenny Green sat down to write a final letter to the supporters who have seen – and prayed – her through 26 years as a CMS mission partner in south-west Uganda and in Bradford. It’s a moving glimpse into the faithfulness of God, of Jenny, and especially of those many supporters.
This is my final letter as your Church Mission Society mission partner. It was scheduled to be written in 1997 after the three years I signed up for. But I had just started to find my feet in Kisoro [south-west Uganda].
Kisoro was just recovering from the horrendous Rwandan genocide and there was so much to do. [Many refugees from Rwanda had fled just over the border to Kisoro.]
Learning to be a local
Back in 1994 the stars shone brightly with no electricity or light pollution and nights were absolutely silent apart from the call of owls and the squeak of bats (and the occasional rattle of gunfire). Water arrived in jerry-cans on the back of a bike and there was no rice, bread or breakfast cereals and sometimes no toilet paper either! I walked everywhere because I had no car and I learned to eat, enjoy and cook local food. Wonderful!
By the end of my second three years, I had been made diocesan children’s ministry coordinator (having moaned that there was no children’s ministry, despite 50 per cent of the population being under 14).
All for the children
Since I couldn’t coordinate the children’s ministry until it was there to be coordinated, I put off my final letter until 2000.
By then we had thousands of children in churches, but struggled with AIDS, malaria and far too many funerals. Hannah [who would later become Jenny’s first adopted child] was born and needed 24/7 nursing care along with God’s intervention.
There were 133 Sunday schools to coordinate and millions of youth who loved to congregate in their thousands for residential camps. Again I postponed my final letter!
By 2003 Potter’s Village was being born, AIDS was still real and motherless babies were everywhere. Potter’s Village scooped them up and set them on the path of life. Then in 2006 Joseph [Jenny’s second adopted child] joined our family.
“You made it possible”
Potter’s Village was growing, visitors and volunteers came and went, Hannah went to school in Kenya, Joseph struggled with local schools and seizures, more babies arrived and there was no time for final letters.
No mission partner has had more loyal, faithful, generous, caring supporting churches than I had. Your love and support continue to humble me and I pray God rewards your loving hearts. So it was your fault I didn’t do my final letter – you made it possible for me to stay!
Then came the day I had to leave after 20 years in Kisoro – I had given up planning to go, so it was shocking and sudden. That was very hard, lots of tears and unknowing. But it was the right time because God had worked it all out.
“God was faithful and so were you”
I came back to chilly old England with a heavy heart and a very poorly boy. But that wasn’t the end – CMS relocated me to Bradford. Back to the place where I had heard God call me to mission.
You have faithfully supported me, my children and my work all the way. Through war, illness, siege, joy and sorrow, in strength and extreme weakness, through earthquake, volcano and flood, through surgery and famine, through success and failure, God was faithful and so were you.
After that you helped to keep me in Bradford, where I struggled with the climate and missed the babies and tried to remember how to work in England. God and you made it possible.
I signed up for three years and stayed 26. I can only conclude that my maths is limited and you being such wonderful supporters, prayers and encouragers helped to keep me where I loved to be, so I never realised my time was up and I was supposed to write a final letter!
“My heart overflows”
I guess you originally signed up for a three-year stint too, and I thank God for you every day.
Often in my dreams I’m on my way back to Potter’s Village, where most of my heart still is. But Potter’s Village is in good hands and the God who made it happen will keep it happening for as long as he needs it.
My heart overflows with thanksgiving for all he has allowed me to do, see and be, and because you were a vital part of that, my heart overflows with gratitude for you.