A letter from Tom and Judy Harvey in England
Latest News of the Harveys
Oxford Centre for Mission Studies
Dear Friends and Partners in Mission,
We are just back from a six-week whirlwind trip to the United States, where we visited West Coast churches, family and friends, attended conferences, and enjoyed as much sunshine and Mexican food as we possibly could. We were so thankful for the number of people we were able to see and reconnect with in such a short time. Because of the constraints of working around academic terms at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies (OCMS), we are dividing in two our time for interpreting God's mission at OCMS and will be on the East Coast December 2011 through February 2012. We'll be based in North Carolina and hope to see many of you when we are there.
One of the highlights of our time in the United States was attending the Sharing Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, with other Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) missionaries. In our nearly 15 years of service with the PC(USA) we have reconnected with many of these missionaries time and again through these conferences. It is always a great encouragement to hear what Christ is doing in the lives and ministries of PC(USA) missionaries around the world. If you haven't already done so, go to www.pcusa.org/ missionconnections and read some of the letters. You'll be encouraged too!
While at the conference we were reminded of the effectiveness of the Presbyterian commitment to doing mission in partnership. It has been a privilege for us to work side by side with our mission partners, first at Trinity Theological College in Singapore and now at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, along with the individuals and churches who partner with us through their prayer and financial support. We believe we really are "better together."
We also spent time discussing the three critical global issues that will be the focus of PC(USA) World Mission:
• The ROOT CAUSES OF POVERTY, particularly as they impact women and children
• SHARING THE GOOD NEWS of God's love in Jesus Christ, alongside members of the global body of Christ
• WORKING FOR RECONCILIATION in cultures plagued by violence, including our own
In the next few months all mission personnel positions will be reviewed to be certain that they align with this focus. As a result, rather than being reappointed when our term of service ended in June 2011, we were given a one-year extension while the position at OCMS is reviewed. We believe that through the research and practice of its students, OCMS shares this strategic focus, as can be seen in some of the research topics of the degrees that have been awarded.
In this time of review keep us and the church in your prayers for wisdom and discernment in mission that God’s will shall be done and that our role in the work of the PC(USA) would be made clear.
At just about the time we were at the Sharing Conference, Emma was attending a "Third Culture Kid" Transitions Conference, designed to help kids who have grown up in countries other than their passport countries transition back into life in the United States. She had a great time and found discussing issues TCKs (third culture kids) face very helpful, but the big news with her is that she is not going to be transitioning back into life in the United States after all—she will be going to Durham University here in the UK! Though Durham isn't really close to Oxford, we are thrilled to have one of our children closer than an ocean away! She'll be studying history and international relations and begins her course next week.
So now we are facing the bittersweet adjustment of being "empty-nesters." We will miss having Emma at home, as we have missed Joseph and Paul, who are now working in North Carolina, but we are also looking forward to what the future holds now that this particular season of parenting is coming to a close. Judy is continuing in an honorary position at our church, meeting with younger mothers and working on developing a mentoring program for older and younger moms. Tom is looking forward to more OCMS-related travel and a new cohort of students arriving in the next weeks. Both of us will continue to work with new Christians and seekers through Alpha and the "After Alpha" program that we lead at our church.
We will be available to visit churches in the Southeast while we are in the U.S. December through February. If you would like us to visit and share what God is doing through the Presbyterian Church's partnership with the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, we'd love to come. Just send us an email and we will try to work it out.
Tom, Judy, Joe, Paul and Emma
The 2011 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 196
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