Saturday, November 11, 2006

News From Phil and Linda Christmas 2006

Dear friends
Another year nearly gone and we’ve not told you much about it! It has been very full and fulfilling for us; we’ll try to catch you up with some highlights.

Mobile Family
There has been a lot of travel - enough for Phil to become a Gold card member with KLM! Teaching engagements have taken Phil to Brazil, South Korea, Wisconsin (USA), and Germany, and will spend two weeks in Chile this November teaching on a School of Biblical Studies. But as a family we have been very mobile, far more than usual. Spread over two summers we have spent 10 weeks in the Philippines, and Christmas 2005 in the USA. We love going, but have to admit pleasure in the thought of staying home this Christmas holiday!

The Kids
The children are a delight to us. Their personalities are certainly revealing themselves! Jonathan has taken up football again, which has us cheering for his team every Saturday morning at the touch line. The game is making more sense to him now and we can see some real skill and determination in him - he was named "Man of the Match" last week! Elisa finds his football very boring, yet has joined a cheerleading / dance squad which takes part in all the home matches of our local team, Nuneaton Borough Her squad will compete in the UK Cheerleading Association National Championships in Birmingham next March, a great goal to work toward.

Back to the Philippines
Our return visit to The Philippines looked the same but felt very different. We weren’t seeing it for the first time or forming all new relationships - we were able to walk into "Phase 2" of ministry from the beginning. Nation-wide issues of injustice and greed were infuriating, but the Holy Spirit also challenged our own lives and cultures where we might hold the same attitudes. Four weeks of ministry with a team skilled in so many areas creates a dynamic environment for whole-person ministry. The children and Linda worked in a kid’s team and Phil headed up some of the door-to-door ministry - a definite change of pace for him!

Highlights for each of us?
Phil – A few men coming to the Lord prompted our team to run a Bible study under a tree, which brought more people to come to know the Lord ... and Phil and his friend were able to link a pastor in with these new believers so that a church is now planted in this squatters’ camp alongside a flooding river.
Linda – the boys’ prison captured my heart again, especially meeting a little boy named Ar-Ar. He is a 9-year-old orphan who had misbehaved in the orphanage so was sent to the prison. When I looked into his listless and cowering eyes and told him he is special, made in God’s image, he couldn’t accept it and said he is a bad boy. I pray and believe that God will continue to bring hope to this child.
Elisa – relationships with the Filipino children were natural and heart-felt. She danced and performed dramas, and also gave her first testimony to a group of boys at the prison. Oh, and having a pool available after ministry helped!
Jonathan – He would trek through the garbage dump like a pioneer, and often he would help the Holy Spirit choose the homes we would go to! It was an uncomfortable, smelly environment for him but he stuck in there and tried his hand at many things. He was also great at relating to the kids.
Many more amazing stories remain on The King’s Lodge web site for you to read –

Focus on Phil
Phil’s responsibilities this year have gone far beyond oversight and development of the Biblical Studies department, his teaching, and support of leaders in many nations. Pioneering is one thing he does so well, and Phil was given the job of establishing a Management Team to deal with the day-to-day running of TKL, duty of care, policies, and development. The team was built, protocol established, and one year later it is an essential player in this missionary training centre. He has just handed over the post as chairman for an up-coming leader to bring it the next stage forward. What else? God has been speaking to us about developing our property - more accommodation and meeting space, and a safe entrance to our property after a dear co-worker was killed last year in a road traffic accident at our driveway. Phil has been brokering with the architect, highways agency advisors, and a donor who has offered us matched funds up to £200,000!
The completion of Phil’s university work is slowly coming into sight. Studying through distance learning requires incredible commitment, especially with job, church and family, and he’s tackling his final two courses before writing his dissertation on the relationship between the church and para-church organizations. If you’ve read anything on this subject, I’m sure Phil would love to hear about it!

Focus on Linda
My responsibilities continue to include overseeing "the house", all the aspects on the domestic side of our residential facility. Divided into "housekeeping", "hospitality", and "the kitchen", I’ve initiated new department heads into all three areas this autumn. I am loving the fresh ideas and determination that they bring, but I’ve had to be very hands-on with all three at the same time.
A very recent highlight for us has been that my parents and brother came to stay during October. The four of us did a whistle-stop tour of Scotland, visiting Phil’s uncles in Elgin and enjoying the (rainy) scenery there and back. I’ve lived here 14 years now, and it is a privilege to be the host and not the visitor this time around.
We have wondered again and again how to stay in communication with you , and decided to step forward in technology and set up a web log site, or "blog", site

(Definition: A website that displays in chronological order the postings by one or more individuals).

Through this we hope to become better communicators. We will simply email you when there is an update, and you can click on the link and view it at your convenience. This will turn our communication electronic and depend upon internet access to reveive it.
If you are not sure that we have your correct email address, please send it to us on If you do not have access to such a site and would like to be in touch, please let us know and we will seek to keep you informed via the postal service. Our contact could be jeopardized if we depend upon the wrong email addresses or do not know you are dependent on letters through the mail.