Happy New Year from England
Wait a minute, how did it get to be the middle of January 2013?!?
Ky and I returned last week from a short trip to the USA. We enjoyed sunny days and warm times with family and a number of friends in Southern California. If only there were time to see everyone we cared about there!
We returned to a brisk and now frozen UK, with ribbons still on our garden trees; over the last week temperatures have struggled to get much above freezing and the sun has set by 4:45 PM. In these northern latitudes, people are easily motivated to pray for spring and longer, warmer days.
Our last several months have been a blur of activity. We have been based in England for almost three years now and the pace of life and ministry seems to gather momentum as we gain more traction in our familiarity with our work and networks in Oxford. The connections we are maintaining around the world add to the richness, depth and opportunities for ministry. God is so good!
Highlights over recent months:
In September Ky began her long awaited, year-long Spiritual Direction course. Here is how the ministry of Spiritual Direction has been described:
Spiritual Direction is an ancient ministry, sometimes called spiritual counsel, prayer guidance or soul friendship. It can be a way to make better sense of ones’ faith journey, to find clarity and support at times of significant life choices, and to respond more deeply to God’s presence and move forward towards wholeness and freedom. Many people find that at particular points in their pilgrimage, this pattern of reflective companionship can be a significant help. The companion or guide’s role is to support the discernment of God’s activity in one’s life.
In October 2012, we welcomed eleven new PhD candidates to our Fall Research Induction School at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies. Students came from Ethiopia, Tanzania, Liberia, Romania, Philippines, Germany and Canada. I was assigned to work with two new scholars who will be examining holistic child development and faith-based care for children in Eastern Africa. Every autumn and spring a new cohort of students is inducted at OCMS and I am typically assigned to tutor several new scholars from the group. Currently I am overseeing the progress and field research for 18 scholars working in the 10 nations.
I was in Brussels in early November at the Compassion Care Network meeting. This is a group of Assemblies of God missionaries working throughout Europe in what we call ‘Compassion Ministries’. One highlight of this trip was a visit to the ministry of April and Jerry Foster that intervenes and cares for women who are working in the red light district of Antwerp, Belgium.
While our American friends were celebrating Thanksgiving in the USA, Ky and I hosted a consultation at OCMS tasked with writing a new book, Reimagining Missiological Theology and Practice with Children and Youth. Twelve scholars and practitioners met for two and half days in Oxford. Participants came from India, Philippines, Romania, USA, UK, Brazil, and Australia. This book will be a collection of papers from 20-25 contributors worldwide and will bring together the insights of various leaders, movements and mission engagements with children in the world at present. It will also discuss the neglect of children in theology and mission, a dilemma that is still widespread.
In December, I traveled to Southeast Asia at the invitation of Assemblies of God missionaries and to meet with two of my OCMS doctoral students who are doing their field research in Cambodia. The Cambodia Bible Institute was just developing when we lived in Phnom Penh in the mid 1990s. Now CBI has over 100 students studying in residence and by extension. I spoke to the students this time concerning the Kingdom of God and God’s compassion for all people regardless of ethnicity or culture.
Pictured are former students who now work in the province of Takeo with the schools and churches of that region. There were no established churches in this province in 1990 and today there are over 80 churches and several schools assisting children.
Prayer Points for the coming months:
Ky will continue her Spiritual Direction Course through to the summer months. Please pray for ongoing depth and wisdom as her ministry expands and also for safety as she travels some distance to and from Douai Abbey for the course.
Bill will be traveling in March to Zambia and Moldova for international conferences and to present papers. Prayers for safety and insight into the issues confronting children, youth and women in these countries are appreciated.
Also, please pray for the book mentioned above. Bill is one of three editors who must coordinate with the 25 contributors to bring the book together. It is sometimes said that ‘working with missionaries is like herding cats’ – the same thing can be said about editing a volume with so many contributors!
As always our prayers include our thanks for each of you–your interest and support of the work the Lord has enabled us to do is humbling. May He sustain you, strengthen you, and be celebrated in you!
Bill and Ky Prevette
Oxford January 2013