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Yates Report for Prayer, April 2018

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Yates Report for Update and Prayer
April 23, 2018
from Tim
last prayer memo May, 2017

PRAYER AT A GLANCE
FAMILY: Pray for children and their families facing major changes: Jeff & Val Jones and their four kids will be moving to Taichung, Taiwan where Jeff will start high school government and psych/sociology class teaching; for Nat & Doug expecting their first child; for Karen in transition to new life choices after Wheaton graduation with double major in Christian Ed. and Urban Studies.  Pray for our travels back to the US this summer, primarily to visit family. 
MINISTRY: Pray for impact of seminary teaching, relationships, and new writing projects. 

FAMILY NEWS

Jeff completed his student teaching in a Pittsburgh area school in the fall of 2017 and was honored with his online Master's degree in high school history teaching from Drexel University and received his PA teaching certification! We are proud of his diligence in this long process!  After an initial application and long waiting period, Jeff accepted a job teaching government to seniors and either psychology or sociology at Morrison Academy in Taichung, Taiwan, the campus in central Taiwan where our older 5 kids graduated from high school. The Jones family will move back to Taiwan on July 15, spend a week in Taipei visiting old friends and then get settled into their new home in the teacher apartments on the Taichung campus of Morrison Academy. Val has been helping me develop the teacher's guide for a new Sundayschool curriculum called SuperLord, a study in the omni-attributes of God, based on my Foundations book published last summer. I developed the basic biblical content, Val develops the creative teaching content. Val also took a part time job as nursery coordinator at their Pittsburgh PCA church since February. Pray for all the transitions ahead for them in packing, moving, selling and saying goodbye and hello

Nat and Doug are expecting their first child in September 2018,  that's the big news for them! Doug continues to prepare for his PhD comprehensive exams at University of Chicago Divinity School and teach part time/adjunct/ NT survey class at Wheaton College fall and spring.  He also taught a semester at Lewis University (fall 2017--students not very engaged at this Catholic school). Nat continues to work full time as executive assistant for IL state representative Tom Morrison. Pray for a continued healthy pregnancy for Nat and the growing baby Hoffer and Doug's college teaching and PhD exam preparations.   

Jonie & Kaitlyn graduated, then moved July 2017 into a rental apartment in Bakersfield CA, and started their new jobs with the Wonderful Company.  Jonie is in the strategic planning division, and Kaitlyn is in the charitable grants division. Occasionally they car pool to the same office, most days they travel separately to various nut or fruit factories, farms or government or social service sites for their jobs. We enjoyed their company as we stopped there in August 2017 on our way back to Taiwan via LAX (+2.5 hours car ride to/from Bakersfield), and also saw some of the area sights (day hike on Mt. Whitney, overnight in Alabama Hills, visit to Lone Pine Film History Museum, Japanese war relocation center at Manzanar National historic site). Pray for Jonie & Kaitlyn to the excel in their jobs and continue to  develop community and church relationships.  

Janine accepted a new managerial position with Kintetsu air freight shipping division in January 2018, which pays more but also requires more of her time. In January, she moved out from Nat & Doug's apartment to her own place and established financial and living independence.  Her old car "went on the blink" and she decided to take a new three year car lease instead. She continues to enjoy working out at the local fitness center when not at Kintetsu. Pray for Janine's new independent life to grow through wise choices. 

Karen is in her last few weeks as a senior Christian Ed. and Urban Studies major at Wheaton College, graduating May 6, 2018. She is being considered for a position with an urban planning company in New Zealand, and also relocating to Seattle, WA to be near her boyfriend, Brandon Liu, class of 2017 Wheaton graduate. Pray for Karen to have God's guidance and wisdom to make major life choices ahead. 

Trisha (7th) continues to excel in both school and extra curricular commitments, enjoys piano, and sports (volleyball, soccer, and now basketball, where I am also her 7th grade team coach). She is a very conscientious student and needs no prompting to complete her school work with excellence. Pray for Trisha to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ and gradual understanding of her gifts and life calling. 

Nathan (5th) continues to complete required school work and grow up to accept more responsibilities. His greatest joys are in internet gaming after his school work is done (Minecraft, Roblox, EpicGames Fortnite) and joining with classmates online (Google chat) to conquer the virtual world. Pray for Nathan to grow in proactive concern for how to help others in the real world. 

Barbara continues to regularly tutor 9 students in English and other school related subjects (ages 5-13), some students once and a couple twice/wk, some at their schools, homes or local community centers, some at our home. She bikes around Taipei to all of these appointments. She continues to enjoy participating in Taipei Bible Study Fellowship on Wednesday mornings, this year studying Romans. She is currently working on filing our US taxes, complicated by my starting a publishing company last year (overseas filers not due until June 15). Pray for Barbara to have safety in biking travel, joy in her tutoring work and skill in  figuring out US taxes.   

MINISTRY NEWS  

My 270 copies of the English version of the Foundations book brought back to the US last summer were mostly given away to family, friends, church supporters and some were mailed to a few teachers in colleges and some Westminster Seminary faculty. I sent 60 copies to Amazon for online sales, and 10 of those copies have sold. I may do a second printing soon, with numerous minor errors corrected since the first printing, and replace the Amazon stocked books with the second printing and use the remaining first print copies for more promotional give-away copies.      

My Foundations book was translated into Chinese in September 2017 and forwarded to the Reformed Press Co. Taipei for professional final editing, typesetting and page size reformatting using their Adobe Indesign software, with the Press functioning as a hired contract helper. Redoing the illustrations and reformatting the hundreds of Bible references from Arabic chapter numerals (1,2,3 etc) to Chinese chapter numerals (一二三) in the footnotes proved to be quite time consuming. The Reformed Press is not the publisher, but the sole Chinese market distributor for a small per-copy-sold fee. I used my US publishing company name with a new US issued ISBN to publish and print the book in traditional Chinese here. You can see the book and sample Chinese pages listed here: http://www.crtsbooks.net/product/godsglory.aspx  As a well established publisher, they also have agreements with other bookstores in Taiwan and East Asia, such that I could do a search using the Chinese title and see online ads for my book posted on other big Christian book store websites within several weeks of it publication (Taiwan, see attached screen shot; Hong Kong and several websites in China and a seminary new books catalog). We also ran a promotional in the CRTS Bulletin using an excerpt from chapter 11 that just was mailed out last week (pages 3-7  http://www.crts.edu/index.php/bulletinindex/k2/2018-springbulletin . The Reformed Press has already sold about 300+ copies of my book in East Asia, and it looks like I'll need to do a second printing soon, since I only printed 500 copies for the first printing that came out December 29, 2017. The simplified Chinese PDF version is posted for free downloading (created in the unedited draft translation Word.docx format used for the English book layout, under a slightly different book title, using an alternate Chinese word for "foundation") on the Chinese page at www.bethoumyvision.net  

My spring class on Counseling Theology is using this book as the required text, and I wrote another more detailed Study Guide that was translated in February, providing a chapter summary and about 20 detailed review questions per chapter to help students process the chapter contents more carefully. My class is structured around 1 hour of student small group discussion on the review questions (3-4 in a group), plus my summary lectures on each chapter and adding some application themes from relevant chapters in Wilhelmus a Brakel's A Christian's Reasonable Service. Due to the publication of my book, it's a completely different class structure focused on memorizing the key catechism Q&As I have in the book, small group discussion of the study guide, review and links to a Brakel's application themes. The main additional assignment for students is to lead a small group discussion on the book with someone else outside of class. 

Secondly, I was asked to teach this Counseling Theology class in China this semester as well, but instead of going myself, they will use my pre-recorded video for the first 1/3 of the class, and I have recruited one of my former Biblical Counseling students, Mrs. Lee, also a pastor's wife in Taipei, to finish teaching the last 2/3 of the class using a similar format. 

Third, the Family Counseling Center has adopted the book as one of its core BC Foundations training courses, by asking four of our BC students to develop a two chapters each of an application workbook on the derivative attributes, which they taught to each other in a trial run from January-March, and from March-May they opened a class to the public, limited to 12 students, to teach a summary of one of the eight omni-attributes and some derivative application themes each week, followed by lively small group application discussions lead by each of the students with three students in each group. This will serve as a pilot training that FCC hopes to continue to revise and reuse in the future. 

Fourth, I was also invited to teach two Saturday seminars in biblical counseling theological foundations in China for local believers interested in this topic, which I also saw as a good opportunity to delegate to two trained disciples instead. In my parenting class last spring 2017, students were assigned to develop a 10 lesson workbook on the derivative attributes for children, and one of my students, Joan Tan SyiYi did an excellent job, so she agreed to let me post her curriculum on my Chinese page of the free download website www.bethoumyvision.net set up especially for China using simplified Chinese.  Joan will travel to China to do this training on a Saturday in June using her curriculum and other resources that she has developed with the FCC Foundations training. Mrs. Lee will do one of the first Saturdays in May after her Tues-Fri class is finished.  

I'm very grateful to the Lord for opening up these four paths as opportunities for multiplying disciple-trainers who are training other faithful disciples on the theological foundation themes my newly translated Chinese book provides for biblical counseling. This is the fulfillment of years of labor in teaching, training and writing in biblical counseling, moving to multiplication by the publication of my first book. 

As these expanded discipleship opportunities develop, I continue to write the next books that will show how these foundation themes are related to the practical topics that Christians are concerned about. I have started a new draft for a book called Mentoring Ministers of the New Covenant: Delighting in God's Glory to Discern Him in Bible Interpretation and Display Him in Word Ministries, starting with personal delight in the Triune Lord, to Bible interpretation that discerns the Triune Lord in the text and then proclaims the Triune Lord various kinds of Word ministries (preaching, teaching and counseling). You can read a preview of a key draft chapter on "Rewiring Multiple Circuits to Delighting in God" by downloading from www.bethoumyvision.net English page. This material will be an expanded development of some core ideas used in my Biblical Theology and Counseling course, but with a new focus on the Gospel of Matthew as the example text throughout. I show ways that biblical theology applied to a single Bible book can generate often overlooked contextual insights on one of Matthew's most quoted texts, the Great Commission, in Matt 28:16-20. I also develop a unique direction in an example of audience-contextualized teaching of that text, when I was invited to speak January 17, 2018 at the Gospel Fellowship lunch break at the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (see attached picture of the 1/3 of the group that stayed around for the post talk photo). I'm also working on an application of the Foundations book adapted to a children's Sunday school curriculum on the attributes of God called SuperLord, under development with our daughter Val (curriculum teaching methods, creative instruction and layout) and niece Mikayla Lewis (graphic art). 

Nat & Doug were encouraging me to consider using one of my planned writing/publishing projects in combination with getting a PhD, through a non-residential, dissertation-writing-only type of program. I knew of one possible low-cost program at NorthWest University in South Africa, under their theology department, so I did some research on their theological faculty to see if their  specialties and theological commitments would be compatible with any one of my planned projects. One faculty member's written work available online showed a strong commitment to presuppositional apologetics, using ideas from Van Til and John Frame. One of my planned writing project is to turn my Critiquing Psychological Theories class notes into material for a book on this topic. As my approach already uses Reformed presuppositional apologetics, the actual possibly of combining this writing project with a PhD dissertation suddenly clicked. I wrote to that NorthWest faculty member, Dr. Henk Stoker, in early February, having no idea how he might respond, or even if he would respond, suggesting the dissertation topic, attaching a few of my lecture notes and my Foundations book, and asking if he might have interest in being my advisor. He wrote back the next day with an immediate affirmation of the topic and his willingness to be my advisor (he also has a bachelor's in Psychology). So after some initial application paperwork, I'm officially admitted to the NorthWest University Theology department to write an apologetics PhD dissertation in a non-residential capacity (I will continue with my normal work in Taipei, and visits to US for missionary reporting). There are no course work requirements. So I have been spending a few days in the past two months refining my general topic proposal and doing some more careful reading in the sources. My basic idea is that the biblical counseling movement has developed 3 or 4 ways of engaging the psychologies (there is no monolithic field of knowledge called psychology, but many competing authors and theories), but without a lot of explicit deductive, Bible-demonstrated ways of how various contra-biblical worldviews and various types of observational science are engaged. There is no consensus within evangelical Christian circles about the scope of the sufficiency of Scripture. Is it only sufficient for theology and narrowly defined Christian life topics and thus needs to be complemented by "scientific" research and psychological theories and the abnormal psychology of the DSM-5, OR, as the Reformed view proposes, is Scripture sufficient for shaping and critiquing any field of knowledge as Lord over all the universe? I will try to support the latter view. I hope to explore ways the Bible teaches her ambassadors to locate their own biblical, God-centered worldview, and God-centered standards and power for human change (such as that proposed in my Foundations book), then to engage other worldviews, other types of knowledge (epistemology question, theories of what sources of knowledge are valid, and how various sources of knowledge interact) and use those examples to try to engage the psychologies.

AT CRTS, I continue to teach three classes each semester (Fall 2017  Pastoral Counseling, Parenting, Case Studies Practicum; this spring 2018 Counseling Theology, Youth Counseling, Case Studies Practicum). I have been supervising a very large number of student graduation theses this semester (about 7) as the pressure to complete these and graduate becomes real to the students. We usually meet 5 or 6 times minimum over a several month period until they have completed the required minimum number of Chinese characters and the content is solid. 

We will have a record number of CRTS graduates this year on May 26, twenty two students, nearly double the usual figure (previous high was 12). We are grateful to the Lord for bringing students to this important transition point as (on average) half of them will enter into full time ministry (pastors, church planters or church coworkers, pastor's wives), while the rest will use their training in less formal ways, some with their own children or grand children. 

I did a brief interview with one of our best biblical counseling students in Chinese then added English subtitles, which you are welcome to watch, (it's about 4 minutes long).  https://youtu.be/zy4A7K5XdDs
  
We will undergo our first re-accreditation evaluation this weekend April 26-28, 2018 by the visiting evaluation team of the Asian Theological Association (five year increments for re-accreditation since we received it first in 2013). We are not expecting any difficulties being re-accredited, but there will be challenges for growth issued in their final report. 

We enjoyed our usual visit back in the US last summer 2017 with family, friends, churches and supporters. We did our usual busy schedule trying to visit as many churches and people as possible during the 9 weeks there.  We managed to plan our first trip to Niagara Falls on our transit between NY and PA, and viewed the impressive falls from the Canada side, along with a boat ride up near the falls into the torrential spray

As usual, I continue to be invited to preach in local Chinese churches around Taipei on average of about 2 times each month, with occasional more distance Taiwan opportunities in HsinChu (30 min high speed rail) or TaiDung (45 min. flight to SE Taiwan). Most of these churches are connected with our CRTS graduates, churches where our interns are serving, or churches that financially support CRTS. 

Last Saturday I spoke for an hour at the spring Family Counseling Center seminar on the "Power of False and True Words: Job's Story", following the two hour graduation thesis presentation by our M.A. Biblical Counseling graduate Sylvia Wong,  who has been leading a Chinese church-based counseling center in Penang, Malaysia, since her graduation about 5 years ago. The message outline is uploaded to the English page of www.bethoumyvision.net at the bottom if you want to check it out.