This will be a brief update to share a few highlights from the last couple of months and to share a prayer request. I write this update on a wonderful Sunday afternoon from Oxford. It is one of those rare days with brilliant blue skies and full sun and I think almost everyone in England is watching the Wimbledon finals. In case you missed it, for the first time in 77 years a Brit brought home the big trophy – congratulations to Andy Murray!
Graduation at OCMS
When I finished my PhD five years ago, I never imagined we would be asked to return to Oxford and assume a faculty role with the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies. I often explain to visiting faculty, students and donors that we are seconded as ‘fully supported missionaries’ with the Assemblies of God World Missions and in this way the AG contributes to and joins in the honor of all that OCMS accomplishes. In early June we celebrated with 13 of our scholars who had recently completed their PhD studies. Pictured are friends Doug Birdsall (USA) and Barbara Mahamba (Zimbabwe). Doug researched leadership in the Lausanne and evangelical global church since 1972 and Barb examined the role of the church in girls’ and women’s education in her country over the last 80 years. It is a special privilege to work alongside these and others like them who return to their home countries as highly qualified scholars and better practitioners.
Conference at the Romanian Parliament
From 1947-1989, a repressive Communist government ruled Romania; the dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, built a structure that is almost the size of the Pentagon in Washington, DC. He called this building the ‘House of the People’ but he intended it for his personal use. Today the Romanian Parliament uses the building and it is open to the public for tours. Several weeks ago I was invited to attend and address a special conference at the Romanian Parliament on the topic ‘Religious Freedom and Conscience’. OCMS scholar, Nelu Burcea convened the conference and 200 government officials, parliamentarians, academics, and Christian leaders attended. Romania is now a member of the European Union and is a predominately Orthodox country; religious freedom and expression of conscience are being vigorously debated in parliament and society. Please pray for the leaders of the church in Romania–this conference brought together Orthodox, Catholic, evangelical and secular voices. I am sure Ceausescu could never have imagined such an event happening in his ‘house’!
Celebration of 30 Years of Marriage
Ky and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary on June 18th. We are incredibly grateful for God’s provision and grace in our lives. We had a chance to visit Bolton Abbey in Yorkshire a few days after our anniversary. God has blessed us over the years and we are both growing in our love for one another and our love for Christ.
Prayer for Knee Surgery – July 8th
Tomorrow I will undergo a ‘partial knee replacement’ surgery at the Manor Hospital here in Oxford. The cartilage in my right knee has worn out and the surgeons have recommended a procedure aptly named the 'Oxford knee' (you can Google it) for the consultants here who developed this new technique. It is said to require less recovery time than a total knee replacement. The joke at our house is that after receiving this new Oxford knee I might be smart enough to balance my checkbook!
Thanks for your love, support and friendship,
Bill and Ky
July 7, 2013