Fay Wyatt recently returned from a placement in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, with USPG’s Journey With Us short-term mission programme. Fay wrote the following reflection for her church magazine…
To introduce myself, I’m Fay Wyatt from the county of Kent in England. I’m blessed with our children, James and Philip, aged 29 and 27, and Ruth and Bethany, aged 25 and 22, plus a Red Fox Labrador called Amber. I’ve been part of a church since I was seven years old and found Christ for myself in my teens. My church is also an Anglican church, but located on a busy high street in a town centre.
Last year, in August, I was in a low place and sought God for direction. At a church service while I was on holiday God reassured me through the sermon that out of death comes life, and out of devastation comes beauty. I offered myself to God; I was totally in God’s hands, and he just proved what an amazing God He is, as he mapped out a path for me!
The last weekend in August I went to the annual Christian Music Festival, known as Greenbelt.On the last morning I discovered an Anglican Mission Society called USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel www.uspg.org.uk). They needed volunteers… I gave my email address to learn more.
In October I visited the Diocese of Kondoa in Tanzania, with my Diocese of Rochester, specifically to support our church link with the village of Kidoka. God lit a flame within me for the African people, and the desire to be more than just a visitor. I returned to a USPG’s invitation to explore mission further. Through my interviews and training week, God so strongly confirmed in my heart that He had things in hand. Then in June the St John’s invitation arrived, and I was pleased to accept.
I’m a Senior Exams Invigilator to a local school and university in the UK. Whilst it’s surprising how many hours are given to exams and mock exams each year, it’s not full-time work. I now had a financial challenge as to how I could go. In my daily bible readings God had challenged Moses ‘Do you Trust me?’ when leading the Israelites out of Egypt across the Red Sea. He was posing that question to me! I organised three dates for cake sales and raffles, had a donation box and a display board outlining the work of St John’s Centre of Concern and USPG’s mission throughout the world. I needed £750 (about R13800) for my flight, and I’d raised this on my first morning. This was a further confirmation that God wanted me to join you! Other monies came in to cover my insurance and other costs.
I saw this placement as an opportunity to serve God. Then to my amazement, Mark’s first sermon on my arrival was the very same sermon… Moses leading the Israelites across the Red Sea; God challenging Moses ‘Do You Trust Me?’ It was God’s reassurance to me that I wasn’t here alone. It had taken an incredible amount of courage to honour God’s calling, as I’d never before travelled alone overseas.
At the Centre I’ve integrated with the three ladies’ support groups where they sew, knit and do beading three mornings a week, learning life skills. I’ve been part of the team, making peanut butter sandwiches, chatting and knitting towards a blanket. On Thursdays I’ve been part of the monthly food packing, and helped sort donations of clothes.
Much of the Centre’s work takes place in Gqebera, and I’ve been to the two Soup Kitchens that make and serve homemade soup with bread,three and five days a week. There at 10 o’clock, I’ve assisted the staff serve some weeks.
The ‘Play and Learn’ children in the township have welcomed me affectionately, singing their songs each time before I leave. On the same site, in St Augustine’s Church, the Ruth Project ladies meet daily having fellowship together. I’ve had the pleasure to share time with them, joining them also on their outing to The Happy Valley Carnival in celebration of Heritage Day, and their Christmas Meal.
During my stay I’ve come to love the Haven children, helping with their homework and school runs,attending their school events, and enjoying your fabulous beach! They are lovely children, to be proud of.
You as a church have received me with love, and ministered to me in Word and fellowship. Three months have passed so quickly, and I’m sad to leave, but do thank you for the opportunity to have shared in your church life and the outreach work you do.
Each Sunday after Communion we say…‘Send us out in the power of your Spirit to love and serve the Lord’. As Mark said one Sunday …these are dangerous words! But when you are challenged TO GO you must; it’s scary, but with God … it’s exciting!! I’ve come to realise since I’ve been here that the willingness ‘TO GO’ is as important as ‘WHAT YOU ARE CALLED TO DO’. This Christmas, whether in SA or the UK, let us be faithful to God, wherever we are, as that is what we are called to do, whether at home, at work, in our own country or abroad!”
To find out more about our overseas placements visit http://www.uspg.org.uk/travel/