To help others belong – interview with Jenny Robinson

Jenny Robinson
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First year diploma student Jenny Robinson is training for ordination through CMS Pioneer Mission Leadership Training. I asked her about the inspiration and call that has brought her this far.

Jenny, you started studying with us back in September 2020 as an ordinand. I know you have had a very busy past life in many different roles. What did you learn from being head of boarding at an international school? Have other roles you have had been influential?

Creating belonging and tradition in the boarding environment was very important. Each boarding house needed to feel they were their own family unit. In terms of management lessons, I think I learnt not to react immediately to situations unless it required an ambulance! But to try and step back and pray first. I found that often just being present was one of the most important things I could do for my staff and the pupils.

Before boarding I had been teaching maths, I learnt from this role that just because I can do something doesn’t mean I should. I enjoyed some elements of teaching but this was not the role for me. Something always felt off and I am glad I left this profession. It takes a long time to learn to know ourselves and to listen to the call God has placed on our lives.

You’ve also had some charity work experiences, could you tell me something about Footprints Foundation for Children in Zambia?

I felt the Lord call me to go on a Mission Direct trip to Zambia where we worked with Footprints Foundation for Children in Zambia on the streets. We met the team and participated in the work, listening to children, showing we cared about them, playing games with them, praying with them, seeing to any medical needs.

I have always had a heart for orphans and wondered if the Lord was going to call us abroad. However, I realised that this vital work had to be done by people from their own culture and those who had been through similar childhoods. I could support this work by becoming a trustee and helping with all the paperwork from the UK end. We pray with and support the team who are on the front line.

When you applied for the course, you told us about the stirring in your soul you had when you read the book Blood Brothers by Elias Chacour. Can you tell us how this book influenced you?

I was brought up with a sense of responsibility to the community that I lived in. My grandparents were a big influence and wonderful example. They were the people who welcomed new neighbours, organised the village hall social events, created a sense of belonging. The book developed that witness, by helping me see the desire God had placed in me to help others belong.

In this story Elias describes how God used him to transform a village community from desolation to flourishing, all through relationship with God and creating a sense of family and belonging. I realised that I wanted to do this for my community.

And after all that, what specifically brought you to study with us?

I had never heard of CMS until we had a visiting speaker at church one week, and after the service when we were chatting, she suggested I looked into studying with you. I thoroughly enjoyed the open day and found the way that the college looked outside the box very freeing and wanted to be part of it.

It’s been a weird year with Covid and lockdown, but how is the study going so far?

Dispite the sadness of not being able to meet fellow students the hours saved on travelling have been a gift. I have found something wonderful in each module we have covered. Whatever the subject it enables me to deepen my faith and ministry.

Finally, Jenny, can you tell us how we can pray for you, please?

I would appreciate prayer to be able to let go and let God take control. With the workload mounting as Covid lifts, it is a daily battle to be able to take things slowly, not rushing into activism, but seeking God’s will in every event of the day.

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ANVIL journal of theology and mission

Volume 37 issue 2 is out now. The theme is mission and shame, with articles by Sally Nash, Carlton Turner, Judith Rossall, Linda Fletcher, Trevor Withers and Catherine Matlock.

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