We would like to open this Fall 2013 Update with a short reflection from Ky:
We are your gift…your offering…
That’s a rather extraordinary thing to say, isn’t it? It doesn’t seem at all humble or self-effacing. In fact, it makes me think of the far-from-flattering phrase, “He thinks he’s God’s gift to women!”
Maybe some backstory will help…
Dr Wonsuk Ma, the Executive Director of the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, (and also a member of the Korean Assemblies of God), asked for specific prayer during the OCMS community chapel this week. His request went like this:
“Most of you scholars don’t realize that OCMS has been given a gift. We have a gift that may look like a full-time, paid faculty member and his wife, but they are really on going mission-funded gifts to OCMS. God has provided our action research tutor, Dr. Bill Prevette and his wife Ky. The Prevettes are funded from churches, family and friends in the USA. They do not receive salaries from OCMS. Let’s pray that those sending supporters know of our gratefulness for such gifts. May they understand the importance and value to us and continue to offer their help in this giving way.”
Does that give a different perspective to the opening statement “We are your gift…”? I hope so. We are not boasting, unless it is in you. You are being thanked. We thank you very much, indeed!
So, what has your gift been doing? Here is an email excerpt that Bill wrote to a close friend recently who asked how he could pray for our work:
Update since knee surgery in July
‘Thanks to many of you who prayed for my total knee replacement surgery in July, the recovery went well and I was able to return to work within a few weeks.
I wear several hats in my international work and ministry. One important 'hat' is my role as PhD tutor at the Oxford Center for Mission Studies. We have 126 PhD candidates working at OCMS from 40+ countries; these are senior leaders of churches, denominations and Christian organizations. We focus on developing leaders from the Global South – Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. I am supervising or mentoring about 15 of these doctoral students, they are at various stages of their research, some just beginning and others are well into their work. My specific focus is around 'practice based research' that is research on what is actually being done in specific contexts with reflection on theology, sociology and wider mission studies. Most of my students are engaged in research that concerns how the church is making a difference in marginal situations such as human trafficking, poverty contexts or where children are at risk.
Another of my ministry 'hats' allows me travel internationally and work with our PhD students, national church leaders and AG missionaries. In September, I did two conferences in Romania. One of these was a gathering of 60 ‘emerging leaders' in Bucharest. Most of these leaders were under 35 years of age. We spent two days discussing and thinking about the role of the 'newer' churches in shaping Romanian society with the values of the Kingdom of God. The other conference (also in Bucharest) gathered 54 seminary leaders from neighboring Eastern European countries (Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria, Poland) the theme of this conference was 'Re-imagining the Seminary'. The photo includes seminary presidents and deans who were challenged to think afresh and imaginatively about seminary education in the changing context of this region of the world, it was a very important conference and a book will be forthcoming.
Most of October has also been spent traveling. I made a trip to Stockholm, Sweden where several of us planned for an All Europe Conference to combat human trafficking see: http://www.europeanfreedomnetwork.org/equip-conference.html. This conference will gather about 120 practitioners from around Europe in Cyprus in November.
I just returned from a 10 day trip to Thailand and Cambodia to speak with a group of Korean and American missionaries who are conducting research on the state of the church in Cambodia, I met with two of my doctoral students on that trip, one of those candidates is coordinating work with 40 faith-based agencies combatting human trafficking in Cambodia. Pictured here are students at the Cambodian Bible Institute where I taught for one of the days I was in Phnom Penh.
In early November, I will travel to Germany to speak to church leaders on the theme: Human Trafficking – from East to West and then down to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We are convening a second Pan African conference on the theme 'Re-imagining the Seminary'. We expect 70 key African leaders from schools and seminaries to participate. I will finish the month with the conference in Cyprus mentioned above.
I feel like this last 45 days has been a blur of activity and I am especially grateful for the prayers and support of our friends and supporters as they partner with our on-going work around the world. ‘
We appreciate you and thank you for your faithfulness in giving and praying for our ministry. We pray you will have a great Fall and upcoming holiday season.
Grace and Peace to each of you,
Bill and Ky