Prescott Prayer Letter: B is for Boulders and…

B-IS-FOR-BOULDERS

Taryn writes:

Dear friends and family,

We have made it to the end of the first term of our third nine-month Revival and Reformation DTS! You might have guessed from the length of time between the last newsletter and this one that we’ve been Quite Busy. It’s been thirteen weeks with eight trainees, five live-in DTS staff, three off-base staff couples and us – teaching in the mornings, lunch together, staff meetings/work duties in the afternoon, a mad cycle ride into town for two hours of prayer and worship with Cambridge House of Prayer, sandwiches for dinner together, a mad cycle ride back, and then a few hours in the evening off, and so the schedule trundles on. Fridays are a meeting marathon, with five meetings one after the other, and on Saturdays we do a big cooked breakfast at our house, and then head out for some street evangelism. Then there’s Sunday lunch and Bible study, and then a much-needed day off on Monday, phew! Add an active and ever-growing toddler to the mix and voila! This is our life and we are grateful.

God has been doing a deep work in all of our hearts these past few months. You might have heard us talking about digging up the ‘ancient wells’ of revival and reformation in this city, just as Isaac in Genesis 26 reopened the wells that his father had dug, which the Philistines had blocked up. The metaphor of wells also applies to our own hearts, and as we’ve been asking God to take us into deeper waters of revelation of who He is (Psalm 42, Ezekiel 47) we feel like He has been highlighting ‘boulders’, sinful attitudes or issues from our past which are stopping the ‘streams of living water’ (John 7:38) from flowing. He has been doing a deep work of sanctifying us as we embrace vulnerability and openness to challenge or encouragement (James 5:16, Galatians 6:2) within the safe context of family (1 John 3:1, 1 John 1:7) and friendship. We have been blessed with a wonderful group of people this year who have been willing to wholeheartedly pursue God and allow Him to work in their hearts even when it is painful, and so we have seen a lot of tears, laughter and growth, and experienced such sweet fellowship together. We are not the same people we were three months ago, by the grace of God!


This year, YWAM Cambridge was asked to host the ‘DTS Gathering’, a sort of evangelism ‘boot-camp’ when different DTSes from around England and even Europe gather together for a week of worship, teaching and practical evangelism training. We spent the week with eighty or so other YWAMers camping on the church floor of St. Andrew’s Street Baptist Church, going out on the streets to share the love of Jesus with people in various creative ways. We saw about thirty people responding in faith to the gospel on the streets, and many DTS trainees testifying to a new boldness in evangelism! It was a huge challenge and encouragement for YWAM Cambridge, young as it is, to host something this big – but by the grace of God and through many people’s prayers and hard work, it was a huge success.

We have been pressing on with Sunday Lunch house-church and recently celebrated the baptism of our friend Linda, a single mum who lives next-door to one of the YWAM houses, and who we’ve gradually got to know over the last year or so. She’s been joining us most weeks with her energetic eight-year old son Adam, and the transformation Jesus has worked in her heart is evident for all to see. “He’s changed the way I think and feel! I speak to him all the time and I am not worried any more!” she testifies, with shining eyes. Also a part of our little but lively living-room congregation is Mrittunjoy, a Hindu friend who is doing a PhD in Quantum Physics at Christ’s College who has come numerous times with searching questions about Jesus and testimonies of how God has been revealing himself to him. And we’ve recently connected with Anna, a Polish lady that one of our team met during the recent Gathering we hosted, who has been coming with her two-year-old son. One of the highlights of our year was the day she said, after Bible study, “I have a question: if you heart is closed to God, how do you open your heart to him?” We all froze, praying we wouldn’t mess this moment up, and then one of us suggested that she pray and open her heart up to Jesus, and, spontaneously, she prayed these very words: “Jesus, please cleanse my heart”! It is moments like that that make all the busyness worthwhile.

And now for the other word that begins with ‘B’ – you guessed it! Peter and I are going to have another baby! The due date is July 1st, 2016. We are very excited and grateful. We’ve had our first scan and the little one is healthy and happy. Isaac doesn’t quite understand what is about to happen, but he is extremely (if somewhat boisterously) delighted whenever he sees a baby.

Please pray for joy and endurance for us as we prepare for the next term. We have another couple of months of DTS lecture phase in a similar vein to the last three months, before our team flies out on outreach to engage with the European migrant crisis, seeking to serve and share the gospel with the stream of Syrian refugees seeking asylum. Peter has also been asked to be one of the speakers at Leeds University Christian Union‘s mission week, so pray for him — and for all of us, in all we do — to persuasively give a reason for the hope that we have with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15).

Thank you for your prayers and all the ways you support us. We really couldn’t do this without you.
With much love and gratitude,
Peter, Taryn, Isaac, and the Littlest One.

PS. Oh, and as a belated gift: the new, messy, joyous sound that has been the soundtrack of the journey we’ve been on as the YWAM Cambridge family is now available for free online – please do download it and sing along!

Prescott Prayer Letter: Doors Are Opening

doorsHey Everybody!
Grace and peace to you all from us here in Cambridge.

We’re four weeks into the DTS
We’re just coming to the end of our fourth week of Revival & Reformation Discipleship Training School, and I thought I’d send a quick update. Danny and Sarah Wickstrom (they’re siblings), two of the fantastic young leaders on our DTS team, have put together the below video to try and give you a glimpse of what the rhythms of our life look like:

Particularly exciting is that the couple that you can see me talking to a minute into the video actually gave their lives to Christ and became Christians! Their names were Sabari and Nitesh, and they were visiting Cambridge from Leicester, and they’d just stopped to have a look at the raise map of the city when we struck up conversation with them, using our using our multicoloured gospel bracelets to talk about the meaning of life. They were from a Hindu background but mentioned that they’d recently lost faith! We were able to share the whole gospel message with them, and when we reached the end and asked if they had any questions the response was a sincere and genuine ‘Yes, I have one question: How do I actually receive this?’ In spite of being overwhelmed at the way the Holy Spirit had swung open the door of their hearts, we managed to stay on track and lead them in a simple prayer receiving God’s gift of salvation! We then gave them a copy of Mark’s gospel and encouraged them to tell one of the Christian friends who they had mentioned had invited them to an Alpha Course some years before (‘–but it hadn’t quite made sense then’) As Jesus told his disciples: “Others have laboured, and you have entered into their labour” (John 4:38).

I’m speaking at Oxford Brookes CU Retreat this weekend
I’d particularly value your prayers right now for me as I’ve been invited to be the main speaker at a weekend retreat for Oxford Brookes University Christian Union. It was very much a God-ordained thing that I was given the invitation: I bumped into a friend from YWAM Harpenden during the summer who is now a student at Oxford Brookes and on the CU committee. She was expressing the difficulty they were having finding a speaker, and suddenly said ‘It would be great if you could come–but of course that would never work!’ ‘Why not?’ I asked, and that door swung open!

I’ll be doing three sessions on Revelation 12:11: And they have overcome him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Please pray for an impartation of faith and joyful confidence in the finished work of Christ on the cross.

I haven’t had the chance to speak to university students since I first started working as an evangelist in Cambridge, when I was asked to do a session on the Holy Spirit at a CU retreat involving my own Churchill College. And so it’s exciting and encouraging to have that sort of opportunity again!

Preparing to host a week of Cambridge mission
Please also pray for us as we prepare to host a Gathering of a few different YWAM teams for a week of worship, evangelism training and outreach from 25-30 October. We’ll be joined by DTSes from Spain and England, as well as some of the IMPACT team from the Netherlands and from Spain who will be doing an event on the Thursday night. Please pray for the logistics and administration in the run-up, and for the week to be a time of breakthrough for the participants and of the advance of God’s kingdom in Cambridge.

Grace and peace,
Peter

Prescott Prayer Letter: Awakening Is Coming!

Beloved friends and family!

Two things: –we’ve recorded another album that will be available soon;
-and the R&R DTS is about to start, but it’s still possible for people to join!

So first, we’ve been busily preparing for this upcoming Revival & Reformation DTS, which starts in a week, on September 21st, and continues until June. It feels like the most prepared we’ve ever been, but there’s still a lot to be done — as well as a huge amount of excitement about what God is going to do in all of our lives over these next nine months. I believe that this is a time when those involved with the DTS will have the chance to deepen their roots in God, through delighting in His word and receiving from His Spirit, so that they can produce much fruit — filled with seed, to grow more trees, to produce more fruit, filled with more seed, for more trees, for more fruit, for more seed… and so on! I believe it will be a time of individually awakening to a greater sense of the reality of who God is, so that each one can take their place in all that God is doing on the earth in our generation.

As we’ve been praying and preparing, I’ve had a strong sense that we should press in and keep asking God ‘the Lord of the Harvest’ to send us a full complement of labourers for the harvest field. We have space to potentially accept one more girl and three more guys. If you know anyone from 18-40 who might be interested, then please inform them of this opportunity. Even if they’re not able to arrive quite on time — the fact that the DTS is nine-months long, gives us a little bit more leeway to make up for late arrivals.

And even if you don’t know anyone, please pray with us for doors to be opened so that all that are meant to do this DTS are able to come: doors of faith, that they would have a strong and certain sense that they are called to be involved; doors of provision, that they would have the confidence that God will supply all of their financial and other needs; doors of favour, that they would have the necessary support from family, friends and church.

______________________________________

And second, we had an amazing time awakening the dawn at David’s Tent during our 5.20am eighty-minute worship session, and we spent yesterday with the YWAM Cambridge family in the studio recording those songs plus a few others — all new songs that God has given us over these last few months.

Taryn explains: To me, to worship in spirit and truth is about laying your whole life down on the altar, just being completely surrendered. Sometimes the sound that comes out of your mouth might sound beautiful, sometimes it might not — but God hears the sound of your heart.

The Bible says man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart. In the same way, man might hear your outward sound, but God hears the songs of your heart, and that’s beautiful to him. So to worship in spirit and in truth is to have your heart tuned to Him and to be singing truly from your heart.

My vision for this album is just to be family and make a joyful noise together. i was talking to some of my friends the other day, as we were doing dishes together, and they said, ‘You know, you write these beautiful songs, and yo want them to sound perfect int he studio’, and I just had this God moment when God helped me overcome my perfectionism and my pride when I said, ‘You know what, I would rather sound messy with my friends than sound perfect by myself’ And this album is about that: about being family and worshipping the Lord together.

This is the most fun i’ve ever had because all my friends are here! It’s just a picture of eternity and what it’s like in heaven–to worship together!

It’s not about having the perfect sound — it’s just about being family!

We are Family. And this is our Sound. This is
AWAKENING.

Available December 1st 2015.

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Thank you for your prayers and all your support! If you would like to give financially, click here.

Your servants in Christ,
Peter & Taryn + Isaac Prescott
(the ‘Praise-God’ family)

Prescott Prayer Letter: See what God’s done!

see-what-god-has-done

Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind! Psalm 66:5

In our travels recently I’ve bumped into several people that have said how much they appreciate these prayer-letters—and then have immediately commented, ‘…but we haven’t seen one for quite a while!’

It sometimes feels like where Paul would start his missionary epistles with a salutation of ‘Grace and peace’ and then an inspired apostolic prayer for the spiritual strengthening of those reading, I frequently begin my letters with an apology that it’s taken me so long to write! Anyway, here at last is our update—and it is our prayer that you would know how grateful we are for all of your support and partnership in the gospel, and that you would be encouraged to shine brightly for the glory of God in every situation that you find yourself in!

One DTS finishes, another is about to begin
As most of you know, our main responsibility for these last couple of years has been leading the 9-month Revival & Reformation DTS which starts each September, continues in Cambridge until March, and then concludes with the team being sent out on a two-month international outreach for April and May, before they return to Cambridge for a final week of debrief in June.

Debriefing our team when they returned from their outreach in Albania and Macedonia was a real joy and privilege. The week of debrief can sometimes be a little tense and difficult, as tensions that have been simmering for several weeks below the surface suddenly come to the surface. But this team had done a fantastic job of dealing with the challenges that came up and using their gifts to serve the work God was doing in the places they were sent. We even had an email from the leaders of YWAM Albania commending them for “being so organised, committed, and resonating God, having servant hearts and working in harmony, being creative and flexible.” I’m sure Bethany and Hannah won’t mind if you take a peek at their first-hand accounts of the highlights.

No sooner had we concluded the ’14-’15 DTS than we were beginning to look forward to this coming September and start making plans. Several of the trainees who just completed the DTS have felt called to return and join our staff team, so we spent the week immediately after their graduation talking, praying and preparing together for the next Revival & Reformation DTS. One of our team has put together this hundred-second video which captures the heart of it.

The start of the DTS is less than four weeks away, but if you know people who would be interested, there is still space available. I just had an email this afternoon from a girl who was all set to start university but said that “during the last three or so weeks God has been really changing my heart to do something else” — and that something else looks like it might be our DTS! We are praying especially for three more men to sign up. So please pass on the trailer and the link to ywamcambridge.org to all you know!

Our House Church completes Mark’s Gospel

house-church-finishes-markAs well as being involved with leading the Discipleship Training School, we are also involved in discipleship week-in-week-out, as we meet each week in our house with various neighbours and people we’ve met from across the city, for simple discipleship and inductive bible-study.

And almost two years after beginning, we finally finished making our way through Mark’s Gospel! If you like, you can read my notes from our bible studies here. And I’ve written a little here about how this fits with our other church involvement — and why I think it’s so important for everyone to try and find a way to lead out and make disciples of others.

The Privilege of Family

The last time I saw my whole family was two years ago, at my brother's wedding in the USA. This summer was my sister's wedding, so again we were all brought together from across the globe: my parents from Vietnam, my brother and sister-in-law from America. The wedding was here in Cambridge, so we hosted my parents in our guestroom and my sister on our sofa!
rebeccas-wedding
taryn-family-gathering
We then had a few weeks in India: particularly so that we could join the the ninetieth birthday celebrations of Taryn's grandfather.
We spent time with family in Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Chennai -- and then had a few days by ourselves at the Scripture Union marriage retreat centre in Mahabalipuram.

Please pray for my sister Rebecca (now Mrs. Harland!) and her husband Andrew as they move to East London where they want to reach out to Muslims in the area. And pray also for Taryn’s brother Micah–he’s about to go to Germany to do a DTS with YWAM Herrnhut!

Stepping back to see what God has done!
In the midst of the other things that have been happening over these last couple of months, we’ve been trying to step back and remind ourselves what we do and why we do it.

Before we joined YWAM Cambridge two years ago, there were just two full-time staff: Connie Taylor, and Andy Henman. This September, it looks like will have about twenty, not counting families. If you have the time, I’ve tried to recount the full YWAM Cambridge story thus far on my blog.

Looking forward, Taryn and I are committing to be in Cambridge with YWAM Cambridge for at least the next five years. Last summer, I mentioned that I was considering Anglican ordination — I have decided that I am not to pursue this any time in the next few years. We want to see YWAM Cambridge established as a worshipping missionary community that will continue to train up and send out missionaries for as long as the Great Commission remains unfulfilled. We want to see night and day worship overflowing in mission to the ends of the earth. We want to see revival and reformation impacting every sphere of society and igniting Cambridge with whole-hearted love for God. We want to see an exponentially multiplying movement of discipleship that would fill the earth with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord.

Continue to pray with us for the ancient wells of revival to be unblocked. Continue to pray that God would abundantly supply all our needs according to his riches in glory. Continue to pray that the gospel would go forth with power, and that we would be bold to open our mouths and speak of Jesus.

The next few weeks
This weekend we are at David’s Tent, where we will be one of the worship teams lifting up non-stop praise for seventy-two hours. We’re excited and privileged to be part of this celebration of the extravagant love of Jesus.

We then head straight to Oxford, for the wedding of our good friend — he was best man at our wedding! — Jonny Reid.

The DTS staff should have arrived by Tuesday, in time for us to begin preparing in earnest for the upcoming school.

Peter then heads to Norway from the 8th to the 10th to connect with other Lausanne missionary leaders from Northern Europe.

Then YWAM Cambridge will be having our annual staff retreat, with teaching from Barry Austin, who was the leader of the first-ever DTS in Europe.

And the Revival & Reformation DTS begins on the 21st September.

So pray for us — that in the midst of whatever we might be doing, we would not lose sight of the fact that it is God who works in us, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Grace & peace,
Peter, Taryn and Isaac

Prescott Prayer Letter: Press On For The Prize!

press-on

I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;
but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14)

This, beloved friends, is what we feel God has been highlighting to us as a family: pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call!

Isaac especially has taken it to heart – he has already left far behind the milestone we mentioned in the last prayer-letter (learning to crawl) and is reaching forward to what lies ahead: books ready to be relocated from the shelves to the floor and bits of rubbish waiting to be excavated from the bin! Having learnt to walk without support two days ago, he is pressing on towards the goal (which, at the moment, is the shoe rack, where all the neatly stacked shoes are simply waiting to be rearranged).

Peter mentioned in the last newsletter struggling with the feeling that what we are doing is ‘insignificant’; in this past month, God has addressed that struggle head-on, confirming us that He has indeed called us to be part of raising up a new generation of missionaries and evangelists.

First, we went to Devon on retreat. We weren’t planning to connect with any local ministries, but ended up stumbling across the North Devon House of Prayer on our very first day. Before we knew what was happening, we were being prayed for and prophesied over, anointed with oil and commissioned as revivalists – what an unexpected encouragement! We got to spend some time with Jim and Mary, the couple running the house of prayer, and were amazed and encouraged by similarities in our journeys as couples, too numerous to be coincidence. We were reminded that God is building his House of Prayer, and all the seemingly meaningless struggles are actually allowed by Him in His sovereignty.

Then, we attended the YWAM UK & Ireland Gathering in Harpenden. A brother from Argentina, Alejandro Rodriguez, brought a simple but profound word which hit the nail on the head: “If God has called you to be a missionary, then obey Him, persevere, press on! Unless He leads you clearly in another direction, commit for life to what He has called you to do.” Peter and I found ourselves on our knees in tears, re-surrendering our lives to the Lord’s call, and Peter felt the Holy Spirit encouraging him:
“…I had a mental image through which I felt God speaking powerfully, of a butterfly: small, fragile, beautiful, yes–but almost insignificant in its vulnerability. And yet a single flap of its wings can make the difference in the chaos (to our finite minds!) of the atmosphere between there being a hurricane (and the “love like a hurricane” of which the song speaks) or a mere breeze; and God wants those of us who feel small and insignificant to faithfully flap our small, vulnerable, but-to-Him-beautiful wings, and thus release these hurricanes of love!; and God wants those of us who feel like caterpillars to not be afraid that we don’t appear able even to flap, for he can transform us completely.”

Third, Peter finally signed up to attend the official graduation ceremony where he would receive his Cambridge M.A. degree (a peculiar long-standing tradition states that that Cambridge graduates are automatically entitled to this two years after completion of the B.A.) His grandparents were able to be there, and, amidst much pomp, doffing of mortarboards and ceremonial Latin, he received his certificate. After taking pictures on the Senate House lawns, the graduates dispersed, perhaps to go to pubs with their friends and subtly compare accolades and pay checks. But as we sat in a little sandwich shop with two dear friends and supporters, Peter still in his fur-trimmed graduation gown, and they asked us about our ministry and poured love and encouragement into us, it was as though God was affirming what we have chosen to do with our lives after graduating from college.

As part of our response to the call to commit, I am in the process of applying for British citizenship. This means I will have to give up Indian citizenship, but I am still eligible for something called an Overseas Citizen of India card, which is like a lifetime visa. When all three of us have the same citizenship, it will make it much easier to travel together.

In a week, our DTS will return from Albania and Macedonia, and after a week of debrief and feedback, they will graduate! We give thanks to the Lord for His great faithfulness in getting us through another DTS. We celebrate what He has done, and press on towards summer outreach, the September 2015 DTS and our first ever Cambridge SBS (the ‘School of Biblical Studies‘, in which participants spend nine months in in-depth inductive study of every single chapter of every book of the Bible). We lift our eyes even further, and press on towards seeing night and day prayer in Cambridge overflowing in missions to the ends of the earth!

With much love,
Peter, Taryn and Isaac

Prescott Prayer Letter: Pierced For Me!

he-was-pierced
Happy Easter!
In this season of Easter let’s lift our eyes to heaven and rejoice as we member that

There is one who was pierced for me
I see you now hanging on that thorny tree
you were lifted high like a lightning rod
taking all the wrath of a holy God
and your strength was yielded to His will
as the angels stood, amazed and still
as the Champion of Heaven died
You were beaten, naked, crucified…

(The lyrics are Taryn’s; you can listen to the full song here)

Change of Season
In this last week, so much has happened.

The DTS team that has been in Cambridge since September left for Albania last Saturday. We rose at 5am to wave farewell to the eight students and four staff members who will be on outreach for the next two months.

On Saturday night the clocks moved forward an hour, signifying the change to British Summer Time – and what an immediate change of season, for no sooner had the September 9-month Revival & Reformation DTS left on the Saturday, than the first arrival for our April 5-month Revival DTS got here on the Sunday afternoon.

And not only that, but we have a DTS outreach team from Australia (from YWAM Newcastle to be precise) with us for six weeks. They arrived on the Monday night.

Thankfully, we’re not directly staffing this DTS — although in these last few days we’ve helped with leading worship and helping the new arrivals capture the heart of our vision and get oriented in Cambridge. But over the next few weeks we’ll have some much-needed space to slow down a little bit and refocus on what’s truly important for us to be doing, rather than merely urgent.

The Last Couple of Months
Of course, it hasn’t just been this last week since we last sent out our newsletter–it’s been more than two months and much has happened.

Isaac’s been learning to crawl!

And we’ve been partnering with other Christian organizations in different ways: with OMF and WEC to celebrate the legacy of the Cambridge Seven, with Youth For Christ during their Be The Change mission week; with Hills Road Sixth Form College Christian Union, equipping them to use the gospel bracelets to reach their classmates with the love of Jesus.

And of course there’s been the general rhythm of DTS teaching and life. This term we’ve had the chance to look in more depth at what it means to engage Christianly with the different spheres of society. We’ve had Jonathan Tame from the Jubilee Centre speaking on ‘Christianity and Public Life’, Charles & Jill McLachlan from the Academy for Chief Executives talking about ‘Business and Social Transformation’, and YWAM’s Western European leader Carl Tinnion talking about ‘Christ-like Leadership’.

Speaking of DTS, we had the great joy of witnessing incredible financial provision and generosity for our staff and students (Bethany, who’s been overseeing our accounts, tells the story succinctly here, and Hannah describes the reactions of astonished surprise) to enable several of them to afford the cost of outreach.

These last few months have also been a challenging time in many ways–and I think a number of people in YWAM England have felt that in the uncertainty that has surrounded the visa situation. Even though the situation has been resolved some of that sense of having been thrown off balance remains.

Calling Forth A Generation
As I’ve wrestled a little bit with the feeling that what we’re doing is all rather insignificant, it’s been helpful to shift perspective and realize that I’m not just battling against the devil’s accusation that God’s call on my life to be a missionary is futile. But in fact I’m coming against a spiritual principality that is attempting to prevent this whole new generation of missionaries that is rising across the nations from entering into their destiny. Like the Psalmist, one sometimes wonders whether “in vain have I cleansed my heart?…”. But what we need is the conviction that “If I had said, “I will speak thus”; behold, I would have betrayed this generation of your children.” Pray for us that like David, we would serve God’s purpose in this generation!

On that note it was a huge encouragement to hear that I have been selected for the Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering which will take place in Indonesia next summer.

Anyway, this email has been delayed long enough — I should probably finish off and send this out!

Finally, dear brothers and sisters, pray for us. We greet you all with Christian love!
(1 Thessalonians 5:25-26)

For God’s glory in this generation,
Peter, Taryn & Isaac

Prescott Prayer Letter: We Have Good News!

good-news

Breaking News: YWAM visa licence reinstated
Breaking news—and it’s good news! YWAM’s visa licence has been restored! Thankyou to everybody who prayed with us—this is a genuinely miraculous turn-around.

Since the UK Visa Authority’s inspection in September (which highlighted some areas in which YWAM record-keeping was not up to the new standards), we have been aware that there were three possibilities: at worst, we could completely lose our visa sponsorship licence (meaning everyone on YWAM visas would have to leave the country, and no more could be granted); or, we could be down-graded and have our licence suspended (meaning those already in the country could remain, but no new visas could be granted for six months); or at best (but this seemed almost too much to hope for!), we might be forgiven and our Grade-A status maintained.

A month ago we were told that it was going to be the worst-case scenario. Now, after an appeal and much united prayer, that decision has been completely reversed – and we can rejoice in the best possible result! This is fantastic news for the whole of YWAM England, and especially for our pioneering YWAM Cambridge team. It means that we can go ahead with the April DTS that some of our team are hoping to run after our current DTS leaves Cambridge to go on outreach; it means that we can continue renting the properties which are our little foothold in the city; it means that the current DTS trainees who have felt led to stay longer-term in full-time mission as part of our team will indeed be able to do so.

Hallelujah! And thankyou again for your prayers. It’s 2 Corinthians 1:11 in action.

Outreach locations decided
Meanwhile it has been decided that for the international outreach phase of the DTS (ie. April & May), our team will be going to Albania and Macedonia. The wonderful people at Prayercast have put together some fantastic videos to help you begin praying for these places (here’s Albania and here’s Macedonia). Having a little baby means myself and Taryn won’t be leading the team on outreach — we’re entrusting that task to our four of our fantastic staff team.

Just a few decades ago Albania was run by a totalitarian atheistic communist regime — those with the courage to be counted as Christians were actually sealed in barrels and rolled into the sea! One of our speakers on last year’s DTS, Reona Jolie, shared with us some of her story of entering the country during that closed period — if you’re interested you can read her book, Tomorrow You Die. But now we have the opportunity to freely visit and reach out to the Albanian people (who are mostly Muslim), as well as serving and encouraging the young and growing church. Pray for us as we communicate back and forth with the YWAM Albania team to work out the best way to use our time there.

25% of the population of Macedonia is actually made up of Albanian Muslims, so connecting with them will likely be a focus of the time in Macedonia. In thinking of Macedonia, I’ve been encouraged by the story in Acts 16 of Paul & Silas’ first missionary journey to Macedonia — even when they were imprisoned, their worship released the power of God in such a way that the jailer was compelled to ask ‘What must I do to be saved?’ Pray that our team would have opportunities to answer that same question–and to boldly respond that all you need do is to ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ!’

Seeking Sons of Peace
Just as the decision was finalized to send our team to bless Muslims in Albania and Macedonia, the Paris shootings have provoked another crisis in relations between the Muslim world and the Western world. While much of the Western world seemed to be declaring #IamCharlie, what I found most inspiring was the slightly less loudly trumpeted tribute to Ahmed Merabet, the Muslim police officer who was killed by the terrorists.

jesuisahmed

I have said before that I am a little skeptical about an absolute right to free speech. I have in the past justified the teasing of atheists, but in a world where technology means that all the world is within earshot of each other, it is a dangerous thing to prioritise liberté over fraternité.

Pray for our team as they go to Albania and Macedonia, that they would find people of peace with whom they can communicate the truth and love of Jesus across whatever cultural and religious obstacles they might encounter. Pray for us likewise here in Cambridge that our conversation would always be full of grace, seasoned with salt. And praise God that regardless of whether specific prayers (whether for visas or whatever) are quickly answered, we always have good news to share: the message that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners!

Jesus said to them, “The harvest is indeed plentiful, but the laborers are few.
Pray therefore to the Lord of the harvest, that he may send out laborers into his harvest.
Go your ways. Behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves…
Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’
If a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on him…

(From Luke 10)

Your partners in the harvest,
Peter, Taryn & Isaac

Urgent Prayer Request:
Visa Crisis means YWAM England will lose half our Staff

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YWAM England’s official statement:
In September 2014, following procedures introduced by the UK government to reduce immigration numbers, YWAM England and Wales was inspected by the UK Visas & Immigration office to review our status as a visa sponsor. The inspection concluded we were compliant in 5 of the 7 areas audited and found some clerical issues in the remaining two.

We immediately formed a team to rectify these issues and submitted an Action Plan. However, we were warned that we faced the possibility of being downgraded, limiting our sponsorship ability for a few months, or that we would have our license revoked entirely.

We were told we would have a decision from the UKVI office within 4 weeks, but it was only on 23rd December that we were notified that our license has been suspended for 20 working days. During this time we can make a response to what have largely turned out to be fresh issues not raised in the initial inspection. If unsuccessful in our response, the UKVI will pursue revoking our license, as it has already done to several other faith-based organisations this year.

If our visa sponsorship license is revoked over 350 YWAM missionaries and their families will have 60 days to leave the UK. That is about half of our current workforce, all of whom are volunteers with YWAM who support themselves through personal fundraising, according to YWAM’s values as a charitable organisation. This would inevitably mean shutting down some of our training and service opportunities in this nation.

Whilst we recognise and support the UKVI’s legitimate right to concern over compliance to the rules, we do not feel that the issues raised in the letter from the UKVI justify such a draconian outcome as losing our licence would produce. We are cautiously hopeful that through dialogue and by demonstrating our determination to follow the regulations as carefully as possible they will allow us to continue our operations in the UK as part of a global charitable faith-based movement.

We recognise that YWAM has never been the type of organisation which fits neatly into boxes. Nonetheless, we are doing everything we can to comply with the law and ensure that our missionaries remain a blessing to the UK and, through our YWAM England and Wales teams, to the rest of the world that YWAM seeks to share the love of Christ with.

Please pray with us for a favourable resolution to this inquiry. If you would like to write your MP in our support, here is a draft to help you – we need to write urgently, as we only have until January 20th before a decision is made.

Thank you for supporting YWAM England and Wales!

____________________

And there is an article from Christianity Today, which helpfully puts this situation in the broader context of British government immigration policy, and a shorter Evangelical Alliance article

For me and Taryn personally this won’t affect our right to stay in the UK, and the current DTS that we’re involved with will be able to continue and finish regardless. But whether YWAM Cambridge will be able to continue to run the DTS in the near future after that is now a big question.

Anyway, this isn’t the first time we’ve been forced to pray regarding visas — in the past we’ve had both positive breakthroughs and very difficult challenges. And we have learnt both that God is sovereign but also that we have real power in prayer.

So please join us in praying about this situation–the whole of YWAM England will be joining together in prayer today (7th January) regarding this issue.

“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask,
it will be done for them by my Father in heaven”
Matthew 18:19
(Matthew 7:7-11 , Mt. 18:19 , John 14:13-14 , Jn. 15:7 , Mark 11:23-24 , 2 Cor. 1:20 ; Mark 10: 27 ; 2 Corinthians 1:11 ; Mark 10:9 )

Announcement: Christmas Album Now Available

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We’re back from our week in Herrnhut (meaning I’ve now been to thirty-one different countries!), we’ve had to deal with the disappointing event of a DTS trainee deciding to quit, and Isaac is finally onto eating solid foods!

But we’re particularly writing to tell you that Taryn’s new album is now available! You can now download it in full for free online, and we also have five hundred limited edition printed physical copies to scatter across the world.

We want to give you each one (and if you want to give some away to your family/friends/co-workers, you can buy more for £5 each), which means that we need your addresses! So please pause whatever you’re doing for thirty seconds and reply right now with your address. Even if you think we already have it! Thankyou!

And in the meantime, why not listen to one of the tracks on the album?

My favourite is probably Taryn’s new Christmas song Ridiculous Grace, but you might also enjoy the timely classic Advent carol O Come O Come Emmanuel, or even one of my Bible readings. Let’s be honest, all nineteen of the tracks on the album are pretty amazing.

That’s all for now. Much love,
Peter, Taryn & Isaac

Prescott Prayer Letter: Pilgrims on a Journey

pilgrims-upon-this-earthThough these heroes of the faith did not receive the fulfilment of the promises,
having seen them from afar off they were assured of them and embraced them,
confessing that they were strangers and pilgrims upon the earth.

Hebrews 11:13

Beloved friends and family– It seems I’ve been a fair few places since we last sent our prayer-letter. Thankyou for all your prayers and support! Hopefully this update will give you a flavour of what’s been happening along our various journeyings.

Bleskensgraaf, Netherlands
Myself and Connie Taylor went to the Netherlands for the YWAM European Evangelists’ Consulation. It was being hosted by the Impact World Tour team, which is based in a little Dutch village called Bleskensgraaf, near Dordrecht. We ate together, worshipped together, discussed ideas, shared vision, and did a little low-key evangelistic outreach!

On our way through Amsterdam, we were also able to visit YWAM Amsterdam’s Prayer Room, called the Tabernacle of the Nations, and pop in briefly to their main training base.

If you’re interested, you can read the full report here.

Bristol, England
Hardly had I returned from the Netherlands than it was time to head to Bristol for the DTS Gathering, a week of evangelism training with all the different DTSes from across the country coming together. We’d hoped to go altogether as a family, but decided in the end that the combination of sleeping on church-floors, a deliberately busy schedule of intensive outreach, teaching and worship, and a new-born baby, meant that it probably was a better idea for Taryn and Isaac to stay in Cambridge.
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Rapping on street corners, witnessing to zombies, interceding on the world’s first suspension bridge—and leading people to the Lord! It was a great week. (Again, I’ve written a comprehensive report here.) But having said that, it was a challenge being apart for a second week back-to-back.

Herrnhut, Germany
Our journeyings continue as we are now in Germany! — travelling with our DTS on our way to join YWAM Herrnhut’s Revive DTS for a week of teaching from Dan Baumann. Herrnhut is the place where the Moravians prayed continually for over a hundred years, and they had a great influence on John Wesley and the Methodist Awakening. So needless to say, we are quite excited. And it is Isaac’s first international expedition–so pray for him!

Driving Licence
Speaking of travelling, I was finally able to take my driving test! After all manner of unexpected delays and peculiar setbacks (the first time, the examiner was on strike; the second time, my licence was destroyed in the wash; the third time, my test was postponed for no given reason), I at last had an actual test. And I passed! On the ‘first attempt’.

However, although we do own a car, and it is sitting on our driveway, I won’t immediately be driving it round town, as we’re waiting until we have some some more committed financial support before committing to the full expense of running/taxing/insuring a car. Please join us in thanking God for his extravagant generosity towards us, and for his promise of providing all of our needs.

The White (Christmas) Album
On a slightly different note, it is almost the start of Advent, when we begin the spiritual pilgrimage towards Christmas–celebrating the historical truth of Jesus journeying from heaven to earth so as to give us the greatest gift.

And over the last couple of days, Taryn has been in the studio recording a Christmas album! It features several new songs, as well as most of my favourite carols – and the music is interspersed with me reading nine biblical ‘lessons’ (ie. passages) of a Christmassy nature. A huge thankyou needs to be said to Phil & Maggie Gardner for their help–without Phil’s piano-playing and Maggie’s baby-sitting, there would be no album.

It will be released and available for free download come the start of Advent, but if you can give us your actual postal address, we would like very much to give you an actual physical copy—complete with some more of Phil Pawlett Jackson’s incomparable artwork.

If you follow this link you can even have an advance download of For Unto Us, one of the new songs on the album.

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Much love, grace and peace,
Peter, Taryn & Isaac

PS. And I almost forgot to mention it, so focussed have I been on describing our journeyings, but there have been exciting things happening in Cambridge too–particularly the recent Call To Prayer with Jonathan Oloyede! And you can read more about that here.