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.
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%.
Find out more about opportunities to serve in South Sudan
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!”