On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples [...] he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces. (Isaiah 25:6-8)
There was a tinge of sadness to last term. A student I've been meeting with for more than a year finally shared with me that she's been struggling with depression for a while. Another student has lost her boyfriend of three years and is hurting badly. Poppy, who I've mentioned in previous newsletters, seems to have turned away from Jesus. Discouragements like these help me meditate more on the future that awaits us in God's perfect new creation, in the verse above. Praise God for this joyful home that awaits all of His children!
Thanks for your prayers for Focus bible studies in 1 Peter. The girls in my group were excited by their imperishable inheritance and were convicted of the importance of living distinctive lives at university . I'm really thankful for the 3 freshers in my group, who are young in the faith but hungry and teachable. Please pray that Emily, Katie and Rosie would grow in their knowledge of Christ this year and their commitment to Him.
This academic year I'm leading a weekly 'prep session' for female Focus leaders to help them prepare for leading their small group studies. This is something that really excites me, as I get to give the women some informal training in Bible-handling, as well as equipping them to write simple, faithful studies. Please pray that the prep sessions on 1 Corinthians (the book we're doing in Focus for the next two terms) would do just that. Pray also pray for Matt, Tom and Rich (student workers) as they're doing lots of Focus talks on 1 Corinthians.
In February the Cambridge University Christian Union is putting on a mission week with several gospel talks. I'm a 'college guest' at Murray Edwards girls' college, which means I'll get to disciple the Christian girls there and encourage them in their evangelism. My impression is that the girls love Jesus but would much rather invite their friends to a social event - they shy away from events with gospel preaching. Please pray that God would give them a deep confidence in his Word as his power to save their friends.
The Clark family who I'll be joining in Athens
My Focus group (minus 3 girls). Left to right: Rosie, Rachel, Katie, Ellie, me, Charly
Me, Naomi (sister) and Stelia (niece)
I had a wonderful 10 days in Cyprus over Christmas - eating good food, playing with my 3 month old niece Evelya, watching cheesy Christmas movies (like 'Fred Claus' - I don't recommend it!!) and going to Starbucks lots with my sister Stella (we love the toffeenut lattes!).
Summer 2014 and beyond!
Thanks for your prayers about my move to Athens this summer, Lord willing. Crosslinks has accepted me as a long-term mission partner on the condition that I raise enough funds for my first 3 years (in pledges). I'll be sending you more info about about the Athens work in the next couple of months.
The current IFES Athens team is made up of Jonathan and Dawn Clark (staff workers), Christos and Manos (part-time trainee staff workers). I will become the third full-time staff worker. You can probably tell that Christos and Manos are Greek. This is a wonderful answer to prayer, as the IFES movement aims to be indigenous.