Steve Jordan interviews Keith Winsor about what made him give up a career in moving for a life doing, what he believes to be, God’s work.
In 2011 Keith Winsor had been in the moving industry for 27 years and had most recently spent 18 very happy years working with GB Liners. But in May that year, he gave it all up, at what he admits was a most illogical time, to dedicate his life to God.
Keith and his family have always had a long standing faith however, until he made radical changes, he was just too busy to do much about it. “I felt I had to make space and the only way I could do that was to leave the moving industry because it is all consuming,” he said.
It wasn’t a sudden revelation. Keith first felt the calling during a holiday with a friend of his in Romania six years ago. It was in the middle of February, minus 15 degrees centigrade, and they were standing by a frozen lake. His friend suggested that they should go to talk to another friend who was fishing through a hole in the ice in the middle of the lake. As they traversed the ice Keith could hear a booming noise but his friend reassured him that it was just the ice moving under their feet. What!
“I felt like Peter walking on the water,” Keith explained. “God was talking to me saying that it was time I really trusted Him. It was time to get away from full-time work in one location and trust in God to provide for me and my family. I had to give some space for God to work with me to do whatever He wanted to do.”
The following Sunday morning Keith went to a Romanian church. On that morning the lead pastor of the church, with no knowledge of Keith’s frozen lake experience, chose to change his speech to the story of Peter getting out of the boat and walking on the water. “It was God speaking to the pastor who, in turn, was speaking to me about what I’m doing.”
Over the next six years Keith tried to put these thoughts to the back of his mind, constantly reminding himself that he had family responsibilities and a mortgage to pay. But he heard constant preaching by people about ‘getting out of the boat’ and ‘making space for what is coming’. “I thought ‘why are You continually talking to me about making space when I haven’t got any?’” It became increasingly obvious to him that he should be living life differently. Some would say that these ‘voices’ were merely coincidence. It was not a message from God but just an internal desire to try something different. “But I believe that I have a personal relationship with Jesus so I perhaps look at life differently. Some may say that the evidence is circumstantial, but I know that it is not.”
“After a lot of soul searching and discussion with my family the decision was that I had to leave the moving industry. I talked to my wife and two girls. I said that there was a real risk that we would have no income. They all, independently, said for me to get on and do it.” It was also at a time when his wife and one of his two daughters were ill and stability was important. A change of this type was probably the last thing they needed. “It was completely illogical and probably the worst possible time, but for me it was 100% the right thing to do. Faith comes with a relationship and an action. You can believe in God but unless you do something about it it’s not worth anything. I knew that I needed to do something about what God was saying to me.”
Keith left the moving industry in May 2011 and started his own company called Winsor Enterprises. This is simply a means to be able to work freelance for organisations that Keith feels are doing the work he is being directed to do. One such organisation is Operation Blessing, an international charity launched in 1978 to fight a war against poverty. Operation Blessing, for example, was one of the first charities on the ground in Japan after the tsunami; it was also the first charity into Haiti after the earthquake and is still there helping to rebuild the communities and livelihoods of the beautiful Haitian people. The company president, Bill Horan, puts its work into perspective by relating the words of a pastor presiding over a funeral for Cholera victims in Haiti. “These people died of Cholera,” he said, “but it was poverty that killed them.”
Another project for Keith is working with an organisation that writes memorial books to celebrate the lives of people who have died. “It makes a massive difference to help people with the grieving process and helps to keep their memories fresh for future generations.
All of this work does not occupy him full-time. It leaves him some space to work with his local church and, occasionally, do something really exciting. In August last year, for example, Keith spent two weeks working to help people living in poverty in Uganda and to help launch a new church campus too.
Keith has created his space and is doing what he believes God wants him to do. He has also found that doing this work provides modestly for his family too. “It’s not about making money, it’s about living and giving,” he says.
Anyone wishing to donate to Operation Blessing, and help Keith and his companions make a difference, can do so at: www.operationblessing.org.uk or email: firstname.lastname@example.org