Hi, my name is Rich Jobbins. I am married to Sharon, and we have 2 children, Charlotte and Jamie. We live in Bishops Cleeve, near Cheltenham.
My Macedonian journey began in 2005, while we were living near Southampton. A man from New Zealand had been called by God to come and live in the UK and to preach the Gospel in Eastern Europe and Russia. His name is Malcolm Milligan, and he and his wife Margaret came to our church. One day he announced that he was planning a trip to Macedonia and he invited others to join him. For me, this was like hearing the words “Come over here and help us” (spoken by the man of Macedonia to the Apostle Paul in the vision in Acts chapter 16), and I new immediately that I had to go on this trip. The man of Macedonia was Jimmy – he is an evangelist who has started and runs a network of about 27 churches across Macedonia, and is now my good friend.
I have been out to Macedonia every year since, and in recent years it has been twice a year. I’ve met and worked with loads of lovely people, many of whom are now good friends. I’ve also taken my family out to Macedonia twice, and have worked on numerous projects such as training up young leaders and bringing irrigation water to a poor village.
Being involved with Macedonia has also been instrumental in my personal spiritual growth, as I have been encouraged and given many opportunities to teach and preach and to pray for others. God has given me a love for the people of Macedonia and I seek to share His love with them.
Being part of Mission Macedonia is a great way of growing the links between the UK and Macedonia and to increase the impact of what God is doing.
My name is Jason Bryant, I am married to Hellen and have two children.
I met Richard when I was attending St Michaels Church in Bishops Cleeve.
I have always been keen on issues of social justice and reaching out to those in poverty, ill health or who are just in a tight spot.
Though I no longer attend Church regularly I am still passionate on these issues and as a Christian I believe that true Church is found reaching out to those in need.
Through Richard I met Jimmy, one of the most humble and genuine people I have ever met. Jimmy is one of those amazing people who really dose put the needs of others before himself.
Richard and I decided that we wanted to look at ways we could offer Jimmy more sustained help and Mission Macedonia was born.
Thanks and best wishes – Jason
Hi – I’m Kevin Elliott. I was baptised on my 18th birthday, but got to know Jesus better at University, where I was first introduced to mission work.
After graduating as an engineer I went on three mission trips to North Africa with World Horizons. I was offered a full-time post in Africa but decided to stay as an engineer in England, and follow a path of music and youthwork, playing in a Christian rock band, and later producing a Christian techno dance worship album.
As a young man I also did both a Lay Preacher’s diploma and Lay Pastors diploma over several years, and started taking church services. I stayed in youthwork for nearly 30 years , working for long periods in both the Baptist Church and Congregational Church, but also doing detached youthwork for Youth for Christ on a local estate. I was fortunate to see many young people come to faith in Jesus, including a good number which are now ministers or vicars, and some have become life-long friends.
During this time I kept my heart for overseas mission, and supported friends I met in World Horizons. Jason had been in my first youth group many years ago, and we met up again on a church holiday weekend in 2011, where he found faith. I prayed that decision through with him then, and we have been praying together ever since. I finished doing youthwork in 2012, and felt God prompting me to preach 100 sermons on every parable, miracle and life-event of Jesus, then make them into youtube movies!
With help from a good friend, Jason’s brother-in-law, I set up my web-site 'www.allaboutjesus.info ‘ and am nearly half way to my goal. When Jason moved house and church, we decided to still meet up for prayer, and he invited along one of his new church friends Richie Jobbins, who also had a heart for prayer and to see God move in power. The boiler house prayer meetings were born.
With Richie’s prior involvement in Macedonia and our own hearts for mission, it wasn’t long before the work in Macedonia become a focal point for our prayers. In one memorable prayer session over the Macedonia map, we were getting words and pictures. I had a verse for one town Delcevo, then 5 weeks later, I found myself over there sharing it in the Macedonian church of that town, which was a real blessing to me.
A desire to help the churches over there, strengthened within me. I worship at St. Pauls Cheltenham (Anglican) but I also accept speaking engagements in all types of churches. I am married with 3 children, and after all these years of volunteer Christian work, I am still an engineer !
My conversion is not as many are, for as you will see I had to have a Jonah experience before I was ready to listen to God. God is not restricted to how He awakens people, each of us is an individual.
I am one of seven children, the 3rd in order of birth, and Nigerian by birth. I am privileged to have been brought up in a Christian environment. We children were taught to read our bible and pray every day. The scriptures were the yard stick through which everything was measured or said. Sadly, like so many others, I was deluded, and was of the understanding this was what it was to be a Christian. However, this is not according to the scriptures.
Later, I left home to go to boarding school. This was a turning point in my life. Being away from the shelter of home I began exploring and searching for truth and questioning if there was a God. If I had believed in God up until this time, I had done so with the belief of that which I had been taught by my parents. It had not become a reality to me, consequently, I thought it was time I found out what the truth was for myself.
During this time of searching, one thing that was very evident about my parent’s home training. Even though I was having these second thoughts about God, I never for one day missed my daily reading of the bible (Proverbs 22:6).
Then, one night I was awakened in the middle of the night, the Holy Spirit of God was dealing with me. The Lord opened my eyes and I began to see the world around me totally void of anything. No trees, buildings, mountains or hills, and as I began to look closely I could see a direct source of light coming from somewhere above. I tried to lift up my head to see this light and couldn’t. Something seemed to stop me. I began to look all around me, and it was then I realized that all over the earth, as far as my eyes could see, all that I saw was something like a mist. Suddenly, and looking up, I saw hundreds of thousands of men and women, all in white long robes being air borne, being lifted up. I tried to look downwards again and this time I saw the earth far away, but the light source was getting closer and closer. I awakened but could not make any sense out of this.
Soon after this I took seriously ill, and at that point of time, there was very little choice of hospitals in our area of Nigeria. The doctors were not able to even diagnose the disease, much less talk of healing me. Eventually I was left to die. All that the doctors could say was that I was dying quick and fast.
Based on all counts I should have died, but the Lord God Almighty showed me mercy and let me live. One of those days when my mother was intense in prayers for me the Lord gave her a vision. In this vision she was shown a vine like plant spreading its branches as far as the eyes could see, only the strange thing was that this plant from its roots to the spread branches was totally dried up. Mother understood this to indicate my death as forecast by the doctors. As she continued to look closely in the middle of the dried branch, she could see a very tiny sprout of a green leaf (I mentioned middle of the branch, remember I was my parents 3rd child) coming out. The understanding she was getting from the Lord was that though by all the doctors evaluations I was supposed to die, yet the Lord was going to show mercy to me and I would live, live to declare His goodness on earth.
Soon after recovery, I deliberately started to forget the Lord, and tried to run away just like Jonah. Jonah tried to go to Tarshish, I to Yugoslavia. Like Jonah, at the beginning it appeared that I had run away, but one can never outrun God.
I started a business that went down so quickly, and I knew I could not run from the Lord. It was hard learning, and as a broken man, I decided to rededicate my life to God again in the summer of 1997.
When I was visiting Nigeria from Yugoslavia I joined a tiny church that fasted and prayed, almost like fanatics. It was here, for the first time, I learned to fast and one night at about 4:30 AM, I heard a loud voice, calling Jimmy! Jimmy! Jimmy. It was so loud voice that fills the earth, yet it did not burst my ear drums. Three questions were asked. “Do you want to prosper in life? Do you want to advance in life? Do you want to move forward in life?”
This sound was so sweet to my ears, and startled I answered Yes! Yes! The voice came again: “DO MY WORK! DO MY WORK! DO MY WORK!”
I responded: “Who?? Me??” I came back to the town of Stip in Macedonia with a reluctance, but knew I had no alternative but to start serving the living God.