Dear friends and family,
There’s plenty of news this month: Isaac’s been baptised, DTS is about to begin, we’re reporting back from the DTS Staff Gathering and the YWAM Cambridge Staff retreat, there’s a testimony of a girl receiving Christ and a request for you to partner with us in faith, as well as an encouragement to pray for Scotland.
So please “help us by your prayers for us [so that] many people will thank God on our behalf because of the favor shown us through the prayers of many.” (2 Corinthians 1:11)
As you can see from the above photo (in which we and Isaac’s god-parents stand somewhat nervously at the front of the Church of the Good Shepherd), we’ve just celebrated Isaac’s baptism! Since the question of baptizing infants has inspired a little controversy in our team this past year (one of last year’s DTS graduates is now on his way to Spurgeon’s College to train as a Baptist minister), I have tried to explain my thoughts on the subject on my blog.
But whatever your convictions are, I ask that together with myself, and Taryn, and Isaac’s godparents, please would you (in the words of the baptismal liturgy)
-welcome Isaac and uphold him in his new life in Christ,
-trust God for his growth in faith,
-pray for him, draw him by your example into the community of faith and walk with him in the way of Christ,
-care for him and help him to take his place within the life and worship of the church.
Just over a week until DTS begins!
Meanwhile, we are busily preparing for the start of our upcoming Revival & Reformation DTS, which will begin in just over a week! We have almost all of our DTS speakers confirmed, and are excited about the opportunity of serving a number of different ministries across the city. Two of our students have already arrived, having come a little early from California so that they could spend some time enjoying England before the last vestiges of summer vanished completely away. And in this last week we’ve had two last-minute applicants indicate that they would like to join us. That would bring us to eleven trainees and five single staff–too many to fit in the one house that we’ve been living in this past year, and praise God! we’ve been able to rent a second house just down the road from the first.
Pray for us this week as we try and get everything ready, both in the practical details and the spiritual preparation for the season ahead. And if there are still more eleventh-hour workers thinking of joining the DTS (whether as staff or trainees), we could still fit a few more people into our houses!
Western Europe DTS Staff Gathering
As I last wrote we were about to head up to the King’s Lodge for a Gathering of DTS staff from across Western Europe. There were probably about a hundred people there, representing twelve different YWAM locations across Western Europe–and one from Central Europe. We’d initially been uncertain about how it would work for Taryn to come, given the ongoing physical pain of these last few months, but in the end she did come–and I’m glad she did!
It was a great week: we heard the faith-inspiring story of how the enormous King’s Lodge building was bought with an initial deposit of just £1; we learnt about outreach opportunities to North Africa; we cried out in prayer for breakthrough for the YWAM Brussels DTS as they struggle to re-establish their training. And we are now going to spend a week in Germany at YWAM Herrnhut, joining their Revive DTS for a week of teaching from Dan Baumann (author of Imprisoned In Iran).
YWAM Cambridge Staff Retreat
This last week we’ve also had a three-day YWAM Cambridge staff retreat. We were joined by Phil Shaw, the pastor of King’s Church Cambridge, shared some incredible testimonies of their church going out on the streets and encouraged us to fan into flame the Spirit within us. Connie and Andrew Taylor then reminded us of our YWAM Cambridge story, challenging us to launch into the deep and cast out our nets again.
On the final day we were able to join with a team of Korean short-term missionaries, that have come to the UK as part of a group of one thousand intercessors, who are both saying thankyou for the gift of the gospel (it was a British missionary who first went to Korea) and praying for revival of Christianity in the UK today. I took them on a tour of Cambridge’s Christian heritage in the morning, in the afternoon we went out on the streets for a time of evangelism and then they joined us in the evening for the launch of the Cambridge House of Prayer‘s Thursday night meetings in the Round Church.
Salvation Testimony: Are You Thirsty?
We’d just finished our time of evangelism with our Korean friends, and I was pretty much ready to spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing, but Simon–the newest recruit to the YWAM Cambridge team–looked like he wasn’t finished. Shall we carry on trying to talk to people?
We strolled through the Market Square, asking God to lead us, and as we walked a girl offered us a drink. Grateful, we accepted the promotional sample she was giving away, and having finished the cup of juice, I told her that we too were giving something away and I put a Gospel of Mark into her hand.
I began briefly sharing the simple gospel with her–she was open, but said she hadn’t thought much about it. Simon then felt led to share the story of Jesus asking the Samaritan woman for a drink, a perfect fit for our situation! We then carried on talking to her, listening as she shared that she is starting university next week
As the conversation drifted to a close I asked if we could pray for her. ‘Can I pray too?’ she asked. ‘Of course!’ I replied, explaining that the only reason we have any authority to pray is that we’ve been forgiven by the power of the name of Jesus. And I asked if she wanted to pray a simple prayer receiving that forgiveness. ‘Okay!’ she said, so I began to lead her in a simple sinner’s prayer. There was an awkward pause–‘Oh, you want me to pray out loud?’ ‘You don’t have to–but there’s power in praying and agreeing together’. So she prayed! — receiving God’s forgiveness and asking to be filled with the power of the Spirit. And we prayed a blessing over her. And when we finished her face was shining with the quiet joy of the Lord: ‘that was really powerful!’
It’s always a joy to see someone accept and experience the power of Christ’s forgiveness, but I particularly wanted to share this testimony to encourage you to be thirsty for God to work through you. It was Simon’s first time doing evangelism in Cambridge since joining our team, but because he was willing to carry on speaking to people even after everyone else had finished, we were able to lead this girl to Christ! And God can do the same through you if you’re thirsty for Him to use you.
Faith for Finances
Having a baby, moving into our own house, and getting a car–these things are wonderful gifts, but do not come cheaply. Over the next few months we are aiming to significantly increase our support and particularly enlarge our team of financial partners: our target is to increase our committed support to £2400/month by January 1st 2015, and gather a Gideon’s army of three hundred to partner financially with us. Please pray for God to stir people’s hearts to join us in faith and contribute to our ministry. Even if it’s just £1/month–we want people to stand with us more than we want money. We also want to get better at being accountable and transparent: you can now find a more comprehensive account of our financial state here. And we’ll update you over the next few months as to how things progress.
Pray for Scotland
Finally, please pray for Scotland as the referendum as to whether the country should become an independent state takes place this Thursday. Those of our team who were in Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games were incredibly encouraged by the openness to the gospel of the people with which they spoke–and I believe this is a significant time for Scotland, and for the whole UK.
Whether or not you understand the political details of the situation (I can’t say I do, though I found Cambridge ethicist Jonathan Chaplin’s thoughts on the referendum fascinating), and whatever your thoughts on the spiritual significance of what is happening, you can still join with Pray for Scotland’s call for people to pray for “an outcome that benefits Christ’s Kingdom in Scotland”.
Peter, Taryn & Isaac