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My name is Juliet Kisob. I am a local preacher on note with Leicester North Circuit. I was born in Cameroon to a Presbyterian family and educated in church boarding school. I grew up in a society that at the time placed less value on girls and girls’ education and raised up by a grandmother who challenged that.’ She named me ‘spicy’ meaning ‘child that will make a difference’ and called me ‘Julie my boy’ instead of ‘Juliet’ saying I was worth more than ‘all what sons could give her’. Her symbolic gift to me was a pencil which she called ‘writing stick’. She prayed for me always saying ‘Your writing stick is your hoe’. The ‘writing stick’ represented the freedom and opportunities that education would create for me and for many through me.
I dreamt of becoming a pastor or a community development expert. Worth mentioning are two precious moments. During my secondary school outdoor harvest service of 1978; I sensed the call to serve the Lord through women’s work as I watched Christian Women Fellowship (CWF) dance to the alter with their harvest offering singing ‘How great is our God...forever the same’. Little did I know that many years later the Lord will use the CWF to draw me to where He was calling me to serve Him as a local preacher.
My journey has not been without very tough time. My dream of training as a preacher was thwarted (I thought) by the lack of access for women back then. I turned my energy to women’s activism, education and empowerment. This later shaped my career pathway in teaching, youth and community development and my work in the church with women and girls. In 1988 I joined the CWF, fulfilling what I sensed in my heart as a teenage girl in 1978. It was this same movement (CWF) that drew me to meeting Reverend Rachel Parkinson, who later became the Spiritual mother of the group but also my mentor.
I met Reverend Rachel Parkinson through Reverend Edward Sakwe and his family in 2008. I had just moved to Leicester following the sudden death of my brother, another major blow in my life. I had been speaking to different women about starting the CWF movement. Reverend Sakwe and his wife were a present help; they offered their time and support to nurture and enable the initiative to grow. Through him, the group was introduced to Reverend Rachel Parkinson, who we call ‘Na’ meaning ‘mother’ who provided spiritual guidance, nurturing and practical help in different ways.
I carried on with my membership in Central Baptist Church Leicester where I served as deacon responsible for prayer and preached a few times. Alongside this, I train on Athena Executive Women Leadership Programme at Kings Fund in London from the work side. By the end of the training, participants would have identified what their next level on the career ladder would be. All of them applauded when I said, I was sensing in my heart to become a preacher. They said they were not surprised because they had noticed there was something unique about me. One looked into my eyes and said ‘Juliet, would come to church if you were a preacher’.
My heart became a battlefield. I thought about career opportunities, my age, the future and finance. ‘Where was I to start from?’ I had initiated a prayer ministry and set up a prayer team that was doing well and much valued by people. The Central held very string strong memories for my family. It was my beloved brother’s church for many years before he moved out of Leicester; and when he had passed away suddenly, his funeral was done by the former minister of Central Baptist Church, Reverend Chris White. I went on a retreat to Launde Abbey to seek God’s help to calm the storm that was in my heart. After the retreat, I spoke to my minister, Reverend Andrew Fritzgerald about my sense of calling. He prayed with me and offered me information and advice about Spurgeon College. I called and spoke to Reverend Edward Sakwe who also prayed with me. I shared my sense of calling with Reverend Rachel Parkinson who spent time with me in prayer and guided me through the practical steps that were essential if I were to be trained with the Methodist Church. She informed me about openings with the local preachers training and explained the process to me.
I had another big dilemma awaiting me. Central did not have an opportunity of training as they were going through a period of recruitment for a new minister. If I had to move to the Methodist Church, I had to resign my membership with Central Baptist as transfer of membership was not possible. Central was also dear to my heart for many reasons and especially the aforementioned reasons. I completed my term as a deacon before forwarding my membership resignation letter to the leadership team and the congregation. It was a very emotional time for the church and I but they all saw and understood where the Lord was calling and sending me. They prayed with me, gave me their blessings and sent me off in love. The Methodist Church also received me in love.
I was invited to attend the local preachers and worship leaders meeting to share my sense of calling, which I did with great joy. That is how my journey began. My story is a testimony of how unknown to us, the Holy Spirit goes before us opening the way, and how He orders our footsteps to fulfil God’s plans and purposes in our lives. The Holy Spirit used different people, ordained and lay, family and strangers alike, to rejuvenate in me what I thought was long dead. He has inspired me in different ways walking beside me even when all seemed lost. Life experiences and dreams of harvest fields have kept my calling alive. May our God be forever praised!