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