Yates Prayer Memo
November 2, 2014 (last memo March 21, 2014)
As usual my work continues full time as academic dean, and Dean of Distance Learning at China Reformed Theological Seminary www.crts.edu(since 2009) and Dean of Biblical Counseling (since 2001) under Friends of CRTS www.friendsofcrts.org (our sending agency since 2002, with 4 full time missionaries serving together here in Taipei), working mostly in a spoken Mandarin environment all the time and doing most of my ministry in this language.
Our total full time student enrollment continues to increase by about 5 students each year so we are now around 60 students in our onsite BTh, MA or MDiv programs, and about 10 students studying part-time by distance learning. One fourth of our 80 graduates have become full time pastors. Four MDiv graduates have become Reformed church planters, three just within the past year. Our graduates mostly serve in various Taiwan churches, but we have a growing group of international Chinese students from Hong Kong, Malaysia and our first 2 students from Mainland China this fall!
Since we received Asian Theological Association accreditation for all the programs we applied for last May 2013, Dr. McCafferty (our former Academic Dean) & I had been working on proposals to the faculty and board to respond to the ATA final report recommendations. In May the faculty & Board approved some major improvements to our academic catalog degree programs and we changed our credit system to align with other ATA schools. Students seem happy with the changes as well. I proposed starting a D.Min. program in Biblical Counseling to help prepare seminary faculty for the next generation of biblical counseling teaching, which passed the faculty, but the Board vetoed it until such time as someone else can take over some of my duties as academic dean.
My teaching load is about the same, with 3 classes this fall: Critiquing Psychological Theories, Psalms, and Counseling Interns Supervision. I took on several new teaching projects over the summer that took quite a bit of time for preparation and then teaching: I taught a new 20 hour class on Biblical Leadership Principles in English for the Bible Presbyterian Churches in Singapore, along with evening seminars and Sunday preaching (one was a Chinese church) from June 20-30, did an evangelistic seminar with power point on a Christian View of Love & Self-Esteem in Taipei (I was feeling very sick with stomach virus that day, but managed to give the talk: Aug 9 recorded and posted https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=bzc5QAqrUy8 ) and taught another seminar for the Truth Path group serving the Malaysian Chinese churches in Kuala Lumpur (Western Malaysia) and Kuching (Eastern Malaysia) on church discipline from August 29-Sept 2. I also taught for several small group events hosted by the Family Counseling Center last month and at our Saturday seminar one month ago on counseling the homosexually tempted. These trips and seminars have been good opportunities to recruit new students for CRTS and connect with alumni serving overseas.
I’ve had a number of preaching opportunities on Sundays over the past 6 months in various churches here in Taiwan (avg 2xs/mo). I’ve had 2 premarital counseling couples and officiated 2 weddings over the last month (students or family members of students).
Pray for wisdom shaped by the Word, integrity to live what I preach and the Spirit’s anointing to continue to serve in academic administration and teaching, preaching, counseling and writing ministries to the edification of the Chinese believers and for the raising up of the next generation of Reformed leaders to serve among the Chinese people.
Our oldest, Val, recently gave birth to their 3rd, a healthy boy, Blake Andrew Jones on September 17 in a surprise delivery at home assisted by her husband Jeff! (they live near us in Taipei). They just had to move out of their apartment since their landlord planned to sell their place, so they relocated to the same building, elevator down from 5th floor, 20 yards across the courtyard, elevator to 4th floor (so an easier move than some!). Val is at home full time now while Jeff is working for an English cram school (they teach regular Chinese public school students after school gets out) and taking online classes toward a Master’s (& certificate) in High School History teaching.
Natalie is married to Doug Hoffer, living in Wheaton IL, where she continues to work as a full time paralegal (processing foreclosure paperwork) and Doug received a scholarship to the University of Chicago Divinity School’s PhD program that started this fall. Nat is studying for her GRE in preparation for a possible graduate studies application as well. They are enjoying having Karen at Wheaton this fall.
Jonathan, who was with us Nov 2012-Aug 2014, got engaged to an internationally minded, servant-hearted girl, Kaitlyn Le Baudour last May (a fellow graduate/classmate from Wheaton College who served with an NGO in Peru as a girls sports coach for the past year—she’s fluent in Spanish). He moved to California in August to work and establish residency in the state. They are both considering applying to graduate school for International Agriculture next fall at USC Davis. They are planning an August 1, 2015 wedding in California.
Janine will finish full time studies at Covenant College (Sociology) in December and look for full time work and finish up a few final elective credits to graduate in May 2015. She is dating a Covenant classmate Nathan Clark and working part time for college housekeeping. She moved off campus to a shared apartment at the beginning of the semester.
Karen finished her gap year with Kids International Ministries in the Philippines in May. She spent her summer with us here and did English tutoring. On August 21 she started as an excited freshman education major at Wheaton College. She’s already signed up for the spring mission trip to Honduras and playing intramural beach volleyball.
Trisha (4th) and Nathan (2nd) live here at home with us and attend Morrison Academy (an international Christian school near our home). Trisha is taking piano lessons. Nathan had some study-attitude issues earlier this year, but recently he seems to be getting into the routines of school work with a better attitude. He joined a Saturday soccer league.
Barbara is involved with women’s Bible Study Fellowship weekly, English tutoring, helping out frequently with grandkids and volunteering or substitute teaching at Morrison.
We had the rare opportunity to have the whole family together for two weeks last summer here in Taipei at the end of July. Though we couldn’t get everyone on the same schedule to travel, since some were working, we enjoyed family time, board or card games, a few local hikes and beach trips and good food in the evenings here at home.
Barbara & I enjoyed a 30th wedding anniversary one week get-away to a small island bungalow-resort in Palawan, Philippines last May, and our kids surprised us by collecting money gifts from family and friends and assembling a book of encouraging letters from everyone who donated about how we had served or blessed them or been a good example for them, which they presented right as we left for the airport.
Pray for all our family to continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ and stay active in service to him in the capacities they are able.