Since our last newsletter in May, we have passed through a summer and autumn season here in Lakeland,Florida. I write this the day before Thanksgiving aware that our family has much for which to give thanks. The economic climate in the USA has shifted in recent months, many would say for the worse, yet God remains faithful.
For the most part, Americans will not go hungry this holiday and will enjoy the company of friends and family. In this report we focus on several things that have given us personal hope and encouragement over the last five months. Our prayer for each of you is that you will find both joy and comfort in the good things of the Lord.
Events and milestones in our family and ministry
Completion of PhD in June 2008 Bill successfully defended his PhD thesis at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies in June. This marked the culmination of six years part-time research in Romania. The Viva Voce (verbal exam) was a three hour discussion of the findings and conclusions of the research. Both the internal and external examiners were satisfied with the results and awarded the mark of ‘A—minimal corrections’. Bill said later, ‘I felt like a 1,000 pounds had been lifted off my shoulders’.
Teaching Missions at Southeastern University
Beginning in August, we took up our role as MIRs (Missionaries in Residence) at SEU. Bill has been teaching 4 full time classes in mission and intercultural studies. Our students are majoring in education, theology, church ministries, business, and social science. Some of you may wonder about the future leadership of the church in America and around the world. We invite you to attend our classes and meet some of these students. They are intelligent, enthusiastic, willing to work long hours, and committed to Christ and His Kingdom. We are working with many students who plan careers in mission and international service. Ky and I met with a group at our home last month who are planning to spend next summer in Jordan and the Middle East (see photo). Our role is to train and mentor students; in many conversations we are reminded of the depth of God’s love for our world as He prepares these gifted young adults for a life of service.
Daniel in ‘Of Mice and Men’
In October, Daniel was cast in the role of ‘Lenny’ in Steinbeck’s well known novella/play. This was the University’s fall production and Daniel’s first major drama role beyond his own improvisations and comedy routines. The President of SEU wrote a note saying, ‘Your son was absolutely terrific in the production Of Mice and Men on Sunday afternoon. I was very impressed with his acting ability!’ Needless to say, we agree with Dr. Rutland’s assessment. Daniel is now a sophomore and is finding his stride with film, acting, and writing. He made a trip to Africa this past summer and will be attending a retreat for 3rd culture kids over Thanksgiving.