A letter from Tom and Judy Harvey in England
Dear Friends and Partners in Mission,
In this Advent season as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, the Light of the world, may you be filled with the joy and hope that his coming brings and may that joy and hope be a source of light to the world around you.
This has been a busy fall, filled with work at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, travel, and visits with family, friends, churches and mission co-workers. Since our last two letters were updates on all of this, we thought that with this Christmas letter we’d give you an update on what has been happening with our family and some changes that are occurring in Presbyterian mission.
We are very glad to report that an empty nest does not mean an empty life! We are as busy as ever and are enjoying a new season in our marriage and family. We miss the day-to-day contact with our kids but are grateful for Skype and the chance it gives us to stay connected while they venture out into the wide world.
Emma (18) began her studies in history and international relations at the breathtakingly beautiful Durham University in northern England in October. She seems to be flourishing there. She enjoys her coursework, is playing rugby and soccer, has made lots of friends (including a number of Singaporeans), is active in the Christian Union, Christians in Sport, and a church fellowship group, and always seems to be on the go. We are so grateful for where she has ended up. It is just right for her.
Paul (23) continues his work with at-risk youth in a year-round Christian therapeutic camping program in North Carolina. The work is challenging, especially as he is now working with the youngest group of boys (8–10 years old), but he really enjoys it. He is also becoming quite the outdoorsman. He has taken up whitewater kayaking, went caving last month, and is hiking the Presidential Traverse in New Hampshire this weekend.
Joseph (25) is enjoying his work as a research assistant in the behavioral economics program at the Fuqua Business School at Duke. He plans to work for another year and then apply to graduate programs. He is settled in Durham, N.C., with good roommates, friends and a good church. He continues to play soccer in his free time. We are so grateful for all of the people that have helped our kids out when we’ve been so far away.
A lot has changed in the 15 years that we have been serving as mission partners with the PC(USA). The world has changed, our family has changed, our work has changed, our location has changed, and Presbyterian mission has changed. We left for Singapore with three young children; we are now empty nesters in Oxford, England, with young adults who come home for the holidays. We began our mission career with a focus on Asia—we spent four years in China before becoming mission partners with the PC(USA). We are now focused not only on Asia but on the entire globe as we serve Christian leaders from all over the world as they come to OCMS to be further equipped for ministry in the church, academia, government, media, development work, and the many other areas of influence in which God has placed them.
When we started out as mission co-workers 15 years ago, our work was funded by dollars that came through the general mission giving of the whole denomination. Many people believe that this is still true, but there are no longer as many general dollars being given. Presbyterian missionaries are still sent out on behalf of the whole denomination, but most of their funding now comes through the intentional, directed support of congregations and individuals. If you are not supporting Presbyterian missionaries through directed giving, now is the time to start. And when you do support missionaries through directed giving, everything you give goes directly to the support of those missionaries.
Presbyterians do mission in partnership: partnership between missionaries and their global partners, and also between missionaries and those who send and support them. Directed missionary support offers individuals and congregations the opportunity to partner with missionaries as they bring the message of the good news of the love of God expressed in Jesus Christ to a world in desperate need to know this love. We want to invite you to partner with us and the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies. When you partner with us through your prayers and giving, your involvement extends beyond Oxford to all of the places in the world where OCMS students are faithfully serving the Lord, places like Kenya, Nigeria, Indonesia, India, Japan, Korea, Tonga, Ecuador, Romania, and Bulgaria, to name a few.
Would you consider supporting our work with OCMS through directed giving (through our DMS account for churches or, for individuals, through our ECO account)? Instructions for how to do this can be found at the bottom of this letter.
Many things have changed in the last 15 years, but one thing that will never change is God’s love for the world he has created and his fierce desire for them to know this life-giving love. We are so grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of God’s mission in the world. Thank you for the prayers and support that make this possible.
Tom and Judy
The 2011 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 196
The 2012 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 268