Benjamin has been the minister of Arran Free Church of Scotland since 2015 but will be moving onto pastures new. We caught up with him recently to find out how he has enjoyed his time in Scotland and what he's going on to do next.
How long have you been in Arran, have you enjoyed your time in Scotland?
In 2015 I accepted a call to Arran Free Church and we are sad to be leaving Arran and the wonderful people here. We have enjoyed getting to know the people of Arran through the church and school, the tennis club and various community events. We’ve done some Scottish dancing, enjoyed haggis, neeps and tatties and walked the hills on this beautiful island! I will continue to be a Free Church minister and we will relate with the church through the Mission Board.
What are you moving on to do?
After a wonderful time of ministering on the Isle of Arran, Elaine and I will be moving to an island in the Indian ocean region where I will be serving as principal of a theological institute. The institute was founded 20 years ago and is at the forefront of theological education in the region.
The island has a population of 1.3 million people and is at the hub of the Indian Ocean region and therefore very strategic in terms of education for the whole area. The rich cultural mix on the island provides an ideal context for theological training for anyone interested in working in a multicultural context. The island has no indigenous population and the people living there today are from Indian, African, Chinese, British, French and Dutch background with Hinduism being the main religion, followed by Christianity and Islam.
Elaine will be teaching Physics and Maths at a Christian school that aims to provide quality education to the local population. The students are multi-cultural and representative of the diverse nature of the local society.
How has God prepared you both to minister in a cross-cultural context?
I grew up in South Africa where I was deeply impacted by an Indian congregation on the East Coast where I worked as a student during the holidays. After completing my seminary training and postgraduate studies in Missiology, I moved to Istanbul, Turkey in 1993 where I gained valuable experience in cross-cultural ministry in a Muslim context. After an initial period of language learning, I worked in tourism while also lecturing at a Bible Institute for Turkish believers, and latterly served as the senior pastor of the Union Church of Istanbul, a multi-cultural inner-city congregation with services in English, Chinese, Turkish and Amharic.
Elaine grew up in Yorkshire but moved with her parents to Zambia and attended an Anglican boarding school in Zimbabwe for two years. Her parents then moved to South Africa where she studied Science and worked for a few years as an industrial chemist. Elaine always felt a call to India and after a few years of theological study, she moved to North India where she lectured in biblical languages at the Allahabad Bible Seminary. Despite us being thousands of miles apart, God brought us together and we married in 1996 and Elaine joined me in Turkey.
We are both excited about the opportunity to use our education and experience to serve the people of Mauritius.
How can we pray for you and your family?
We have two daughters, Sarah and Rachel, who will both be students at Edinburgh University next year. Sarah will continue her studies in Social Work and Rachel will be studying Maths and Economics. We will appreciate your prayers for us as a family as we settle in a new country while also ensuring our daughters have all they need for their studies in Edinburgh. Pray that God will bless our work and efforts as we minister to the local people. If you would like to receive regular updates by email please contact the Mission Board.