Andrew Beckham

Phoebe

Sent from Emmanuel Church, Bramcote

Andrew, his wife Anna and their daughter Phoebe lived, along with an international team, among the Laarim people and sought to share the hope of the gospel with them.

The Laarim are spread in small settlements across the rugged Boya mountain range, around 250km east of Juba. Laarim life revolves around their cattle and for many is also dominated by traditional African beliefs and spiritualistic rituals.

The Beckhams joined a Focus team working among the Laarim in August 2016. Their initial focus was on cultural understanding and language development, learning from the Laarim and by sharing their lives, building relationships with them. Ultimately, we and the Beckhams wanted the Laarim to have the opportunity to hear the good news of Jesus and to see God powerfully at work, changing lives and growing his church amongst them, through his gospel message. The Beckhams worked with this fledgling church to enable, encourage and disciple the new believers.

The Laarim live much as their ancestors have lived for generations, keeping livestock and living from the land, isolated from the outside world, devoid of modern development and without resources other than word-of-mouth communication to broaden their horizons.

Andrew and Anna believed that God had specifically equipped and impassioned them to be part of this work through their medical and midwifery training, seeing their healthcare roles as a loving adornment of the gospel they proclaim. They looked for opportunities to care holistically for members of the Laarim, addressing both their physical and spiritual needs in Jesus.

In the summer of 2018 the family returned to the UK for medical leave. After an intense fight with stomach cancer, on the 18th November 2018 Anna Beckham was called home to find long-awaited rest. Andrew shares, “Her death is a terrible loss in the lives of those that loved, admired and respected her. And yet, despite our tears of sorrow, it is with great joy we witnessed her resilience, and humour, and faithfulness as she followed her Lord Jesus to the end. Our Anna, has always been, and wonderfully will forever be, his Anna. Praise God for letting us enjoy her for a while!”

Latest Prayer News

Andrew will finish serving with AIM at the end of this month, but shares some news of the clinic that he and Anna were involved with among the Laarim: “Our Laarim brother Angelo Lowuyo has decided to seek healthcare training in Kenya so he can be of greater assistance amongst his people group. He hopes this will enable an increased role in the local clinic, providing better pay and a platform for ongoing evangelistic outreach to the Laarim. He is currently in the application process but may be going to Nairobi this summer… Denis and Alice continue in their respective roles as Clinical Officer and Midwife at the clinic in Kimatong. They have also been joined by another midwife and a nurse for a year. Angelo also still works at the clinic every week. This is such a huge change from two years ago, and an amazing and encouraging answer to prayer.” Please pray for God’s guidance for Angelo, and for sustained transformation of the health system.

Please pray for a number of retired AIM missionaries who are currently in hospital; especially for Netty Sinclair who has just received a difficult diagnosis and is very ill.

Andrew served among the Laarim with his wife Anna and daughter Phoebe, but the family had to return to the UK last year when Anna became seriously ill. Sadly, Anna passed away last Autumn. Andrew and Phoebe are currently visiting their Laarim friends in South Sudan. A week ago, Andrew wrote: “It is a year ago today that we left Africa and came back to the UK. Phoebe and I continue daily to miss and mourn the loss of Anna. I am sure that comes as no surprise. Having the opportunity to return to our home in Laarim, and revisit many of our favourite family places in Uganda and Kenya, is such a blessing. To retell stories to Phoebe and help refresh any memories of her Mum that might be fading… We said a fleeting goodbye to many as we hurriedly packed our bags one year ago. Others we did not have the opportunity to see. Since we left, news from our village has been hard to come by, with no direct way to communicate with any of our Laarim neighbours. I am eager and anxious in equal measure to see what has changed, hear news of births and deaths, share in the joys and sorrows of the last year. I pray the group of believers we left in Cauwa continue in the Lord. My prayer for them this year has been that of Epaphras (Colossians 4 v 12); that they may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. It will be a joy if we can mutually encourage each other towards this end.” Please pray for safety for Andrew & Phoebe as they travel to the Laarim; for sweet reunions with those from their village; and that the believers there will be strong in faith and they and the Beckhams will be an encouragement to each other.

Andrew & Anna are currently in the UK on Medical Leave. Andrew writes, “After two weeks on the ward [Anna] was discharged back home to continue her rehabilitation, aided in large part by the necessity to negotiate a floor strewn with Lego pieces and cuddly toys. Having made reasonable progress we attended the oncology appointment and we are grateful that Anna commenced chemotherapy this morning. Due to continued significant symptoms and general underlying weakness this has been started as an inpatient in hospital while the medical team assess how Anna is able to tolerate the proposed treatment plan. God willing Anna will be able to come home later this week and continue chemotherapy for the coming two months before further reviews to assess its efficacy. This is not a stage we thought we would be at one month ago. We praise God for many answers to prayer that have brought us this far. This afternoon Anna and I sat together to commit her, our family and this medical process once again to God’s good and perfect plans. As we read together of God’s steadfast love for us… we were encouraged to put our hope not in the chemotherapy drugs themselves, nor in the wisdom and skill of the medical teams, but in God alone. Only his faithfulness is unfailing. We pray that he will be our portion whatever the coming months hold.”

The Beckhams were serving in South Sudan amongst the Laarim although they are currently in the UK. Andrew writes “Information gathered over the last 2 weeks has proven that Anna definitely has cancer of the stomach as suspected. Additionally, and sadly, it appears to be both aggressive and advanced. The surgeons believe it to have almost certainly grown beyond a curative operation. We received this news earlier this week, and have since been waiting for further tests to help resolve any lingering uncertainty… Phoebe and I are still adjusting each day to this new rhythm of life, and learning how to express and share our sadness. We are incredibly blessed to be well supported by our families and church community. We have felt extremely privileged, and greatly encouraged, to experience your love and care, and to know the prayers being offered on behalf of Anna at this time.”

South Sudan

South Sudan became the world’s newest country on 9 July 2011. It was the outcome of the 2005 peace deal that ended Africa’s longest-running civil war. The majority of the population adhere to Christianity. Only 18% call themselves Muslim unlike Sudan, which is 97%. LEARN MORE

Church Planting

Our desire isn’t just that there will be individual Christians among every people group in Africa but that there would be Christ-centred churches among all African peoples. LEARN MORE
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