YATES PRAYER MEMO
APRIL 13, 2011
from Tim & family members where noted
Last prayer memo: January 5, 2011
FAMILY NEWS & PRAYER
FROM VALERIE: Jeff, Savannah and I have been reunited in our own apartment and live several minutes away from my parents. I continue to work at Jumpstart Language School teaching two to three year olds. Jeff has been going to St. Leo University (the school is located in FL) online working towards his degree in Business Administration. He has been doing well in all of his classes and enjoys the intellectual challenge. He has also been trying to get some part or full time work, but has found less options in the job market now that the semester is already underway. Please pray for continued family bonding and growth, and a job for Jeff. Also, I also would appreciate your prayers for a medical related issue.
FROM NATALIE: So many stressful--but good--things are converging in my life at once (graduating, wedding, job and apartment search) that I've been struggling with being content with where I am...not to mention my sanity in general. Overall, God has surrounded me with people that have been encouraging me to remember that I will never be in this season of life again, and to enjoy it from that perspective (though I'm still a living countdown calendar, announcing the days until we graduate with such enthusiasm and regularity that my friends are beginning to take it rather personally! :) ). And he's also been surrounding me with people that remind me that my grades this semester don't have to define me or my entire college career (one lesson Wheaton never made me learn completely). More than anything, I'm so thankful for how God has blessed me in the last four years--with a great, intellectually challenging education, with deep, mutually-sharpening friendships, and with an incredibly sweet and hilarious, passionate-for-God guy. :) I'm thankful for and always appreciate more prayer for this crazy season as I sprint through the next five weeks until graduation, and for Doug [Hoffer] and I getting ready to be married in July (the 10th). I would love for you to pray for motivation, but also for perspective, in approaching my work, as well as the intellectual stamina to push-through. And I would really appreciate prayers for Doug and I--for wisdom, for patience, for even more laughter and even more growing together, and for guidance in taking on some new responsibilities of adulthood.
FROM JONIE: I am finishing up my junior year at Wheaton. This summer [mid-May until early July] I am planning to spend about 8 weeks in Tushile, Kosovo, working with a branch of YWAM called Water For Life, doing development specifically related to water. I will be doing several projects to clean up contaminated household wells and the local stream while simultaneously doing research to help formulate a policy on how to deal with sewage in the area. God graciously provided funding for this trip through both a research stipend from Wheaton College and a travelling grant awarded throught the Department of State. Please pray I will finish the school year well and make the best of this great opportunity. Kosovo is a Muslim country with a very small Christian population. Please pray I will represent Christ well in word and deed and that the church in Kosovo will be strengthened through Water For Life's work there.
FROM JANINE: I am currently finishing up my last quarter of my senior high school year. I've heard back from the colleges that I've applied to, and I'm figuring out the financial aid opportunities before making my final decision on where I want to go. Gordon College in Massachusetts is my top choice at the moment. I will be leaving today, April 13th, to Penghu island in Taiwan for a missions trip. I will be there for 10 days teaching English and performing skits at schools there. Please pray for team chemistry and for God's work to be done, as well as wisdom in choosing which college to attend this fall.
FROM KAREN: I have just finished up Basketball and was doubling in two sports: track+field and soccer. In track was running the 800m, 1500m, and doing high jump. We had our last track & field meet last Saturday. I recently had my braces taken off my teeth after a year and a half and I'm overjoyed to be free of those. Dorm life has been fun, though it can sometimes be stressful and hard to be away from the family. I can't wait for the summer in the US! Please pray for healing for a left leg injury.
FROM BARBARA: How do I describe my life? Mundanely busy- so many everyday things to do that never seem to ever really get finished. I have been teaching both Trisha and Nathan to read. Trisha is to the point that she can pick up a beginner reader and enjoys making her way through it. Nathan is a reluctant reader, having a difficult time even keeping his eyes on the page. He seems to be only motivated by the reward ahead (mostly Wii Super Mario Galaxy 2 or Luigi's Mansion Gamecube game) but he's gaining ground. Most weeks, I have been spending at least a day baking (done more baking in the past 6 months than I've done in 6 years! ) to help fund Janine and Karen's Varsity sports trips to other Asian countries. On Tuesdays after school, Bethany students and teachers (Morrison's Taipei K-9 campus) can buy cinnamon buns, cupcakes, cookies, breads and more from Barb's Bake Shop. We enjoy Savannah's visits several times each week and the three always make life interesting- either inventively playing or squabbling or pairing up leaving one out (mostly the girls stick together). I (with Nathan and Savannah in the kid's program) have been enjoying the women's Wednesday Bible Study Fellowship Study on Isaiah that will end mid May (in English). Please pray for joy knowing God's presence in the midst of everyday tasks.
Our family church life has alternated between Friendship Presbyterian Church English section when Janine & Karen are home from boarding high school, to attending Amazing Grace Reformed Pres when they are not home or I am not preaching at another church. We do feel a bit disconnected from alternate places week after week.
Trisha's kindergarten teacher asked us to do a 5 minute performance representing America for her school's weekly assembly, so after much prayer, thought and consideration about appropriate content, we decided on Barbara & Trisha doing a live English reading of the Berenstein Bears, The Bike Lesson, while Nathan & I "acted" it out using a few teddy bear props, then I said a few lines in Chinese about the meaning of famous holidays in America =Christmas & Easter, since many were Christians, then we all sang acapella the first English verse of Joy to the World twice. After we did this for the whole school, Trisha's teacher wanted us to do The Bike Lesson reading & drama again for Trisha's kindergarten class while I provided line by line Chinese translation (see photo).
MINISTRY NEWS AND PRAYER
We are about half way through our 12 week spring semester. My class on Parenting is coming along nicely with revised content in that has at least kept it interesting for me to teach :>) The new book by Tedd & Margie Tripp Instructing a Child's Heart has been translated into Chinese,which is a much more thorough approach to Gospel-centered parenting that the Shepherding a Child's Heart book that was translated earlier,so I am more pleased about that book and the Sacred Parenting book by Gary Thomas that students have for the Parenting class. This class has also helped me integrate the Counseling Theology material from last semester in several more practical ways related to how Christian family life images the Father in relation to his own Son and his adoptive children using the themes of WORK, PLAY, REST, & RECONCILIATION. Seeing these patterns helps define the standards for what healthy human family life aims for and with which all family counseling/teaching goals must compare (26 students).
In my class on John's Gospel, I have finished the broad thematic introduction of sub-themes to prove the main point of John 20:31 that the book was written to demonstrate that 'Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and by believing you may have life in his name.' I link that with the major anointed roles of the OT (prophet, priest, king, and in a more limited way, judge & elder) and show how Jesus both fulfilled & superceded all of those roles, and that John's selection of material suits that purpose beautifully. Students just finished presenting their John's-Gospel-based evangelistic tracts in class on Friday and I was encouraged by their grasp of the material and ability to present important themes in a coherent and attractive way (15 students).
Pray for a good finish to the semester and wisdom for the students in integrating the material taught into their final papers and projects.
I have spent a good bit of time administratively in the past three months working on drafting the plans with an interior designer and getting approval for fund-raising to remodel our second floor into a student center and Chinese library. Currently we are using it as a dormitory for three Malaysian women students. The fund raising and redesigned interior floor plans just went public last week in our seminary bulletin. I also wrote a vision article based on Psalm 111 that highlights key verbs of response to God's great works as the purposes for which the new second floor student center & library can be used: "Remember and study the wonderful character and works of the Triune God so that we may fear, delight in, and praise him." If we have the approximately $40,000 US raised by this summer,the board will likely give the go-ahead for the remodeling work to be done this summer. Currently we have raised about 1/2 of the projected amount. Pray for Taiwan donors to help fund this extra project.
Grading my students' Counseling Theology course work from the previous semester,along with DVD course grading,continues to get put on hold. Pray for discipline to get these tasks finished soon.:>)
My 5 weeks of teaching of Pastoral Counseling at the local Christian drug rehab. with the co-workers (who have themselves completed the rehab program) finished two weeks ago. I gave them a mini-class on how the Gospel superceded family of origin issues, how the power of God in the Gospel can change people, though we should be realistic about the relative slowness of some changes. I also did a mini-study and wrote a 2 page summary "Anger & Remedies in James" that instructs believers who are prone to rash, angry speech="quick to speak, quick to get angry" 1:19, to change into those whose tongues are tamed by God with wisdom 3:8,17-18.
Also in response to the current heightened awareness of disasters in Japan, I wrote an article for the seminary bulletin on "A biblical perspective on suffering in the world."
You can see both articles just uploaded to www.friendsofcrts.org under my name and counseling articles section.
The other major administrative projects that I'm working on mostly all relate to preparations for the June 3-4 CRTS Board meeting: a draft core values statement, a proposal for granting degrees overseas, finalizing the paperwork for the motion regarding a call to a new full time Malaysian-born Chinese faculty member expected to come in fall 2012 (Moses Wong, now finishing his PhD dissertation at Westminster Seminary Phila).
I was asked to be the representative for CRTS at the annual Stephen Tong lectures this year, which basically entailed reading several announcements at the beginning & end of the meeting, and leading in a time of prayer (all in Chinese) related to the lecture theme of Resisting Pre-marital Sexual Temptation, his second in a series of family related themes (he usually does systematic theology topics). Dr. Tong has a ministry similar to R.C. Sproul, though with a very large following among Chinese all over Asia. I was leading for the first seminar session, attended by about 2000 mostly young people or youth leaders at the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall auditorium. Though my role was brief, it was rather stressful to have to read Chinese announcements using terse grammar patterns and vocabulary about seminar information that I was not too familiar with (so I had to practice a bit for that :>) (see photo)
I spoke last Saturday at the spring Family Counseling Seminar on "Caring for the Elderly". This was based on one of our Biblical Counseling graduate's dissertation topics about how to start an elderly day care center through the church, then we augmented her talks with other people, including Family Counseling Center director Lily Zheng and myself. My topic was adapted from my James study above with a focus on 1) Methods: individual families caring for their own parents/grandparents & how the church deacons can set up individual family care groups to help families in need 2) Two kinds of preparation a) preparing for trials ourselves (some of them related to the aging of our bodies) 1:2-4, 12; 5:13-14 and b) visiting others in their distress from 1:27 and showed how God does this with his people (Exod 4:31; Ruth 1:6) 3) Why we need this preparation (looking at the sin problems noted in James with quick to speak anger and selfishness, envy about money or health and 4) How to prepare: from James we can see the character of God (1:5, 17-18; 5:11) and pray that his wisdom (3:17-18) changes us to speak carefully and care for those in distress in the ways his character demonstrates for his people. About 70 people attended. (see photo: speaking in Chinese, but my outline in English on the blackboard behind me :>)
I will also be preaching in several churches in April & May. I'm also teaching a mini-series on Ecclesiastes at Amazing Grace RPC for the adult career fellowship one Friday night a month. Pray for wisdom and God's anointing to preach & teach in Chinese in the upcoming opportunities.
In addition, preparing for our summer return to the US is underway. I have redesigned our Friends of CRTS brochure (also posted on our website above). Pray that I can get the CRTS Annual Report (in English) finished before we leave, prepare our new family photo card and do some planning for the missions powerpoint report & sermons to preach while in the US. Thankfully, our friends and families will again provide housing and Christian Missionary Technical Service in Bernville PA will again supply a rental van for us to use.
Our basic 2011 summer schedule is as follows (pray that we will be able to manage the summer schedule and get good family time together as well):
Arrive Newark NJ on at 11:20 pm Monday June 13
To FELAKS in Ephrata PA until 16 or 17
LAWSON Farm Butler PA June 16 or 17-June 30/July 1
June 19 morning ?Visit Chapel Pres in Beaver PA? (not confirmed)
June 26 morning Visit Westminster Pres in Butler for minute for mission
Back to Ephrata FELAKS June 30 or July 1
July 3 Sunday ?Providence Pres in York PA? Sunday morning, (not confirmed)
Carlisle Reformed Pres Sunday evening 6:00 share ministry powerpoint
Natalie & Doug's Wedding in Harrisburg PA July 10 afternoon
to Vestal New York YATES family July 11 -July 22 or 23
July 17 visit New Hope Pres Vestal NY
Back to Ephrata FELAKS July 22/23-August 11
July 24 Sunday morning visit Reformed Pres to preach and share following service
Sunday night July 24 visit Westminster Pres Lancaster to preach and share in 5:30 service
July 31 morning service visit Lancaster Evangelical Free Church for minute for mission
evening July 31 visit Crossroads Community Church, Upper Darby PA (west Phila) (not confirmed)
Aug 4-6 Tim to Wash DC (Grace Christian Church, Herndon VA) for 24hr mini-class on Galatians at our CRTS US extension seminary site
Aug 7 Morning service at Grace Christian Church Herndon VA (details of participation not confirmed)
evening of Aug 7 Annapolis MD Evangelical Pres for minute for mission
Back to Ephrata late Aug 7
Depart from Newark NJ August 11 returning to Taiwan
Due to shortened summer schedule (arrive one week later than usual) and wedding on a Sunday, we will not be able to visit as many churches as usual.
May God's glory in the face of Christ Jesus shine on and through you by the power of the Holy Spirit (Num 6:24-26; 2 Cor 3:18)