YATES PRAYER MEMO
December 6, 2013
last memo 4 months ago on August 7, 2013
Val & Jeff both continue their English teaching jobs, Val at a half day pre-school English teaching job with 2 year olds, Jeff with older kids in afternoons and evenings. Jeff also had a chance to take on some more human resources work with his cram school which has been an answer to prayer and a source of enjoyment for him.
Nat continues in her job as a paralegal. She received a good performance review from he supervisor recently. Doug is in his last year at U. Chicago Divinity School (UCDS), and starting applications for PhD biblical studies programs at Yale and UCDS. They enjoyed having Janine visit them for her Thanksgiving school break.
Jonathan finished his three month Mandarin studies program with a solid A grade that will transfer to fulfill his language requirement for receiving his second degree major in International Relations from Wheaton. He continues to tutor various levels of students in English, riding his bicycle all around to get where he needs to go. He also helps out in the computer lab and substitute teaching at Bethany School. He is still considering graduate school options for fall 2014. His girlfriend Kaitlyn will come on her "summer vacation" from 1/2 way through her 1 year commitment to girls sports coaching Peru to visit us Jan 10 for a few weeks. Jonie plans to go there to visit her in June before she finishes in August 2014, so he's also been studying Spanish on his own.
Janine switched he major to sociology in her 3rd year at Covenant College. She's had some bigger adjustments this semester with relationships and her work-study hours, but she's been handling things better in the past month or so. She will come home for Christmas Dec 23-Jan 13. Her plans for next summer may bring her back here to study Mandarin for her language requirement as well. Pray for her final two weeks of the fall semester (exams and papers and general life stresses), ending Dec 20.
Karen has had a good adjustment to all the challenges of her new ministry life in the Philippines with Kids International Ministries. She's has a chance not only to serve in Manila with the girls home, the children's orphanage and the weekly food distribution, but also spent a week in Malaybulay, visited her former classmate Bridget in Boracay for a few days, and did service for two weeks in two typhoon damaged areas. She just returned early from 5 days in Tacloban, the worst hit area in the recent super typhoon to sweep through central Philippines, because she was throwing up and had diarrhea. She returns home Dec 14 for about one month before she plans to return for her spring service term. She is considering Wheaton or Covenant College for the fall 2014. Pray for her strength and continuing joy in the opportunities she has for such a variety of different ways to contribute herself to others.
Trisha and Nathan have adjusted well to 3rd and 1st grade. We have been especially pleased with Nathan's adjustment from homeschool to a full school day. He has done much better with the daily structure then he did with a more unstructured home school environment last year. They travel to school most days with Bethany teacher Eve Lombard, who lives in the apartment above us, though they leave about 30 minutes earlier than they would need to, due to Eve's teacher duties. They have learned to take the bus home by themselves.
Barbara stays busy volunteering at Bethany, tutoring a few people, her Bible Study Fellowship group on Wednesday mornings (she takes grandkids Savannah and Garrett with her to their kids program) and babysitting Garrett 2 part days each week. She is considering developing more tutoring options or doing Barb's Bake Shop again.
Pray for all the family members to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ and to find a growing sense of direction in their life callings and wisdom in pursuing and choosing options for changes ahead.
I spent two weeks preparing my notes for the China trip at the beginning of September. I completed my China trip as planned to three locations, teaching three classes: Marriage counseling, pastoral counseling and John's Gospel. There were no security problems that I am aware of. It was a good experience to visit two new sites and learn more about their works as well as contribute to their ministries. However, the long days of teaching for about 9 straight days for 6-8 hours/day got to be exhausting by the last site. I found it very hard to emotionally engage with the new class topic at the last site, but God gave me strength to finish. I think I will learn not to schedule so much at one stretch next time. Also it got to be a long time away from home without a chance to go outside for exercise while at two of the sites. But it looks like a lot more East Asia opportunities in 2014 . . .
A house church group in southern China sent two representatives to CRTS these past two weeks to get to know us better and audit some classes. They met with me twice to discuss options for assisting them in training their church leaders. I may be taking a week-long trip there in early February to teach Counseling Theology. This group has also initially told me they would translate all my revised English notes to Chinese for the class, which would be a nice benefit to teaching there now and in the future.
I've been invited again to Malaysia 2 times next year, visiting several major cities each trip, teaching on counseling related topics (March & August in Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Kuching) and also a trip to Singapore in the end of June to teach a course on leadership and discipleship as well as some Sunday preaching and Bible application & counseling seminars.
I also made two connections in Shanghai with people who are interested in biblical counseling, so that may develop into a trip there before too long.
Pray for the preparation and scheduling for these coming East Asia options.
The faculty passed my proposal for starting a Doctor of Ministry program in Biblical Counseling. That will move forward as a motion from the faculty to the CRTS board in the May meeting for another evaluation & vote. If it passes there, I will begin to advertise for a January 2015 mini-term for me to teach the first class. This could be a significant development for training future seminary teachers for biblical counseling. The needs for capable teachers in biblical counseling in East Asia continue to grow. Pray for wisdom to present a fuller proposal to the Board at the May 2014 meeting.
My Counseling Theology class this semester has gone well, with 3 more classes to go. I have used the teaching preparation for class notes as an opportunity to work on my book writing project. I've made some good progress and had some greater clarity in how to connect the themes I am developing. It's still a work in progress, but I hope to have a book proposal for P&R by the end of January. I also had the good providence to come across two fairly new "kindred spirit" counseling resources by Robert Kellemen Soul Physicians (BMH 2007) and Spiritual Friends (BMH 2005) both of which develop topics that echo my two major courses, Counseling Theology and Pastoral Counseling. While my courses aim for a simpler set of topics with a different overall structure, we share significant similarities. Pray for continuing progress on course lectures and the overall book project.
After reading another one of his good books called Equipping Counselors for your Church by Robert Kellemen in September, I took some ideas from his training strategies and changed my approach to the counseling practicum this semester. Previously we only met in large group 6 times. Now we meet in large group 3 times, I assigned each student to takes 4 turns counseling with a classmate, then they had to meet with me individually twice, once to counsel me (as a role play) and once for me to evaluate their progress over the semester. The results of this counselor training upgrade has shown me how much more work I need to do to get them more familiar with the process of counseling. Early feedback from the students is positive as well.
Pray for wisdom to do the work of administration for CRTS. There are some significant seminary issues to deal with recently related to faculty. Also I am working with the faculty to do a complete restructuring of our credit system to fit with Asian Theological Association standards. Our credits are worth less total hours. Though the total degree requirements are ok, our current numbers of credits required to graduate look weird to any other school seeking to evaluate our student transcripts. We also need to re-evaluate all our course titles and add field education to all our degree requirements.
We've had a difficult conflict among the Family Counseling Center co-workers that I continue to mediate that may set back the growth of the center significantly. Pray for God's Spirit and Word to bring peace! There is so much that needs to be done to advance biblical counseling in Taiwan and East Asia that every co-worker is a precious gift that needs to be stewarded.
I also had one difficult marriage counseling case this semester and a premarital counseling case, as well as teaching two evenings for our premarital counseling class, and teaching for one hour at the FCC seminar on practical strategies for dealing with anger as well as a one day marriage seminar in Taichung (central Taiwan). I have had an average of one preaching opportunity each month in local churches. Pray for fruit to grow in the lives of those who hear the Word.
I continue to ride my bicycle back and forth to work daily about 10 miles round trip (since last March). Now it gets dark around 5:15pm so I'm usually riding home in the dark with my bike lights on and my reflective neon yellow shirt on. Pray for safety on the busy streets!
Thank you all for your prayers. May the servant humility of the incarnate Christ be seen in and through you this Christmas season and beyond! (Phil 2:1-8)