A letter from Tom Harvey serving in England
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Dear Friends and Partners in Mission,
March through July has been a time of momentous changes for us. First, we received word in April that due to the financial challenges facing the PC(USA) our position will change as of January 1, 2016, from being mission co-workers to a new role as mission specialists of the PC(USA). In practical terms this change of role represents a significant financial challenge in terms of our placement at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies (OCMS). As mission specialists of the PC(USA) we will still raise some funds to support the position through the PC(USA), but the primary financial burden for the position now falls upon OCMS.
Thus in the coming year we face a significant challenge to raise support for the Academic Dean position through our churches supporting us in the U.S.A. and through working with OCMS to raise funds globally at this important time. To meet this challenge I will be working with Presbyterian churches in the U.S.A. and with OCMS to increase the current level of giving to support the position. This is an important task to shoulder and we turn to you for support for OCMS as a mission institution. Our students are church leaders, missionaries, and ministers arising from some of the most impoverished areas of the globe and are using the knowledge gained in their studies to transform their ministries and their nations. To make this possible OCMS provides significant bursaries that allow our students to complete their studies. With 120 Ph.D. students from nearly 40 nations, most of whom require subsidy, this makes every dollar count at OCMS. At the same time, OCMS runs a very tight ship and cannot lose any faculty and especially not the Academic Dean.
In all of this Judy and I are not disheartened, but rather encouraged by the unshakeable sense that the Lord’s hand is in these changes. Having faced many trials that span from China to England, we know in whom we trust and that he is faithful. Moreover, it is a joy to share this challenge with all of you. Without your prayers, care, encouragement, and support through the years, we wouldn’t have been able to serve as we have. In this we are not only eternally grateful but greatly encouraged. Through the support of faithful churches and individuals we know that God will work out his will in all this. In that spirit may we then bring the following to your attention.
First and foremost, join us in prayer at this time. Pray for us and the leadership of OCMS to trust in the Lord all the more in these challenging times. As he has guided and blessed OCMS over the past 33 years, pray that that we might remain steadfast in the days to come. Encourage us through prayer, not to lean on our own understanding, but to trust in God’s good providence that will enable effective mission and engagement through OCMS. Pray that we will be daily reminded that we are about God’s mission, not our own; it is God who raises up workers and provides for those who receive his call and answers them when they turn to him. Pray for us and our work here at OCMS; pray for OCMS, that we may remain faithful to supporting church mission through the training and empowering of the global churches.
Second, at this time particularly we would ask that you would take time to encourage any mission co-workers you know and support. Mission work is never easy, yet some co-workers are growing disheartened in the midst of financial pressures. Let them know you appreciate their work and their commitment to toil as workers in the fields of the Lord. Pray that they might bring in a good harvest that honors the Lord.
Finally, do remember us through your generous financial gifts. If you have been considering supporting our ministry, now is a good time to begin. Every dollar that we are able to raise to support my position will mean that OCMS will not have to divert funds away from the money OCMS extends toward the support of students. Now more than ever your support is crucial for this important work to continue. Further, if you have any questions about OCMS or our work here, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly.
Another significant change and challenge has been our need to move to a new house. The owner of our flat in Oxford has decided to sell, so we will be moving at the end of July. Finding adequate housing in Oxford is very difficult. Nonetheless, we were able to rent a lovely home a bit outside Oxford. This will require some adjustments on our part, but we are thankful to have found the home in very short order.
In April, yet another wonderful change in our family came with the marriage of our son Joe to Susan Gayk. They were married at Duke Gardens in North Carolina. This event proved not only a blessed family reunion; it was time to meet with our friends and supporting churches in Durham. Joe and Susan will be moving to Boulder, Colorado, where Joe will be beginning his doctoral program in Behavioral Economics. Susan is a pediatric nurse and is even now in the midst of interviews for positions in the Boulder area. Our son Paul has accepted a job as a school counselor at an international school in Dubai and will leave to take up his post in August. Though away from the U.S.A., Paul will be closer to England in Dubai, so we do hope to visit him and have him come to see us when possible.
Thus it has been a time of substantial changes for us. We look forward to hearing from you and when possible to be able to visit you to share more about our work with OCMS.
For those of you who may be reading about our work with OCMS for the first time, may I invite you to come alongside us and support this important ministry through your prayers, encouragement and financial support? We know these are challenging times economically and financially both for individuals and churches. So do know that we are in prayer for you even as you keep us in your thoughts and prayers.
Tom and Judy
Address: 25 Hayfield Road
Oxford OX2 6TX England
The 2015 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 322
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