Thursday, December 06, 2012

Teaching through Technology

We have faced a heavy travel schedule for me this autumn.  Teaching via tele-conferencing has allowed me to still invest in many more places without being away from home so much.  Both Heidebeek, Holland, and Lausanne, Switzerland, have linked up recently for a week of input.   A few months ago I taught this way “in” Mexico and “in” New Zealand, but I was often teaching early in the morning or very late at night due to the time differences.

Technology is moving so quickly right now that it remains our challenge to keep up-to-date with all the ways it can be used for the Kingdom.  I am so thankful for the techies who serve in our mission to make these things possible.  We need more of them!

Church Opportunities

I have had the extra opportunities this autumn to preach in different churches.  A few times in our own church here in the Midlands; in my home church in Hove; a dear friend’s church in Worcester; and a Shropshire church were some of the congregation have enrolled in our on-line SBS programme. 

Past students of mine have set up a “DIY Bible Study” course through their church in Sheffield – and over 100 people have signed up!  What a privilege to travel there two nights to teach the book of Deuteronomy to this eager crowd.

Lots of Traveling

Beautiful Singapore
In September/October I was teaching at our SBS in Singapore. It has been 22 years since I was last there and it was a joy to see the quality of our Bible programme and the expertise or our staff. I took the opportunity to revisit Penang ,Malaysia, while so close. You may remember we spent time there as a family 14 years ago. Again it was a wonderful reunion and fellowship with dear friends and a joy to see how the work has matured.

 During November I had a wonderful teaching trip to Honolulu and Mexico. Yes, the weather was wonderful and Hawaii continues to be beautiful. Our school there has a gifted leader how is working on make the school bi-lingual - English and Japanese. If you know Honolulu, you will know how appropriate this is. It was a thrill to be able to encourage this pioneer school.

True Mexican Food!
Likewise, the school in Tijuana, Mexico, is also in the pioneering stages and I was so encouraged with the commitment and quality of our young leaders there. The aim is to soon be bi-lingual Spanish-English with the aim of serving the huge Spanish-speaking world. While in Mexico I met a couple who I taught six years ago when I was in Chile (they were newly married then). As we sat at the table with his pregnant wife and 3 children, he said to me, “Phil, that teaching you gave in Chile on the Song of Solomon really has borne fruit!”

Friday, September 21, 2012

Summer happenings

Our blog is long overdue an update.  So much has happened since our time in France.  Below are some of the main events.

  • ·         I (Phil) am spending more time with my mother in Brighton as part of a family care package.  My mother is 87 and suffering with dementia  and Alzheimer’s.  Though she is still able to do much, more consistent care is needed. 
  • ·         Elisa and Jonathan have gotten off to a great start in their new school, at The Midland Studio College.  Both are eager to get through the initial stages and down to the real work.
  • ·         Linda continues to lead on our Personnel Department and, at the same time, she has needed to take up her previous job as manager of the main responsibilities of running the house.  This is a massive work load and quite stressful.  In a few weeks new department heads should have been trained and life should be a little more back to normal.
  • ·         I continue to teach/preach, having spent time in Switzerland and New Zealand -- well, New Zealand was only virtually, via Skype, but a rich time none-the-less. 
  • ·         The King’s Lodge has hosted a number of outreach teams over these past few months.  It has been a rich though very busy time for us, with great fruit.  Our Olympic outreach focus was Coventry, one of the Olympic Football cities.  We saw wonderful partnerships with a number of churches which we believe will continue long past this sporting event.
  • ·         This last week we concluded our annual ‘staff days’, a time when we get together as a staff and prepare for the new school year.  We have a DTS and an SBS beginning in a couple of weeks which we are very excited about. 
  • ·         The online SBS schools continue, with another church partnership beginning soon.  Below is a map with all of the active student and staff locations.

  • View Online Students Staff and church partnerships in a larger map

We are so grateful to you for your continued interest and prayers, which we value very much.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Un grand moment en France

Last Saturday Linda and I flew from Birmingham BHX to Paris.  I was invited to teach on the BCC here in the Champagne region so we decided that as it would our 20th wedding anniversary this month, we should spend a weekend in Paris to celebrate.  The Eiffel Tower is spectacular, the Champs-Élyées beautiful, the Arc de Triomphe imposing and the cuisine delicious.  The Louvre was fascinating, especially with the Mesopotamian section, and the Code of Hammurabi was much smaller than I thought it would be.  Still not sure why the Mona Lisa is so famous but I do think she is smiling. 
I have been teaching Jeremiah to this group of mainly French students, as well as seminar participants who have joined for the week.  It is such a pleasure to be part of this French-speaking school and to see the work here, and such a blessing to be in this book that so expresses the longsuffering love of God.
“Thank you, Phil, for your teaching, it really helped me to understand the book of Jeremiah and gave me interest to go deeper…”
“Thank you for your teaching of Jeremiah.  It opened my heart to the God full of mercy and justice…” 

Last Day of School

Those words bring joy to almost every child’s heart, and our two are just the same.  June 13 was the final day of school for our two home schoolers, and also the final day of their home school experience.

In September a new school will open in Hinckley, just 4 miles from us.  Midland Studio College is designed for 14-19 year olds to finish their academic experience but also has a work experience element added.  Jonathan has been accepted into beginning his GCSE studies, and Elisa will begin her A-levels with a focus on Health and Social Care.  Have a look at Midland Studio College here. 

This change in education will also change the mobility our family has enjoyed for the past 3-1/2 years.  It has been a wonderful season of family travel for which we are so grateful.

Confusing and Clueless Without You

Although it was a great offer, the Bible Core Course leader from Switzerland could find no one who felt available to teach the book of Romans.  The class would be mobile, and this letter was to be studied on location in Rome. 

With a last-minute squeeze and tweak to his schedule, Phil jetted off to Rome at the start of June and taught 7 hours the first day.  Next morning he joined the class tour of the sites and taught them 2-1/2 hours more in the evening of the second day.  The classroom?  Picnic tables at the campsite where they stayed.   

His best reward came through a student’s thank you comment:  “Thanks Phil.  Romans would have been confusing and clueless without you.”

Monday, April 16, 2012

What a Strange Few Weeks

What a strange few weeks. Three weeks ago I found myself fighting a flu virus, doing the minimum of my responsibilities here and trying to rest, living with the normal aches and pains.  Friday I got up feeling much better - this was good as Monday I was due to fly to Switzerland to teach one of our Bible schools there.  However as Friday continued, the pain in my side increase so much that I was literally on the floor in agony! Being Good Friday the Doctor was unavailable so we did our best with pain killers we had.  With no relief Easter Sunday, we went to the hospital and it seems I had a trapped nerve!  As I could not walk, I had to cancel the trip to Switzerland much to the disappointment of all involved.

My not going left a gap in their being able to fulfil their curriculum; as the days passed, the Lausanne school leader got in touch and enquired if I was better. I had make progress, so Thursday I headed to the airport with the comfort of knowing I would have "special assistance".  I was taken by wheel chair to the plane, jumping all of the queues, and met at the other end to be wheeled to my host.

I spent 16 hours teaching over 2-1/2 days by sitting on a stool at the front of the class, and then whisked back to the airport to receive more "special assistance".  I am so grateful to the Lord that I am on the mend, but also that I could fulfil this engagement.  It was in excellent time in the gospel of Luke where revelation abounded as this marvellous Gospel was explored.

More stool teaching this week, here at the King’s Lodge this time, and then answering an SOS by teaching a Bible school in Mexico via Skype in the evenings!  A busy week ahead.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Return to The Lodge

All four of us returned to The King's Lodge on the 1st of March.

My two weeks with family, friends and churches was what I had hoped for - refreshing and reconnecting.  Blue skies, 70 mph winds, 10 inches of snow, shirt-sleeve weather, we had it all (but not at the same time).  A highlight was working on a jigsaw puzzle with my parents.  It had been my grandmother's from ages ago; somewhat prophetically it was of Brighton Gardens, England.

The one-day layover Phil, Jonathan and Elisa enjoyed in Istanbul was great.  Meeting with a family in ministry there who we had trained at The King's Lodge was a special treat.  The kids weren't prepared for the snow in Turkey, though!

Now back we are in full swing again.  Outreach teams have just returned from Kosovo and Macedonia; teams are preparing to head to India, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. 

Thanks to video-conferencing technology, Phil's week of teaching in Perth, Australia, will be done from his desk in his office this coming week - Old Testament overview, the Pentateuch, how to read narrative history, and overviews of Judges, Joshua and Samuel.  That should keep him busy!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Our Indian Adventure

Jonathan, Elisa and I (Phil) have been on our India adventure for eleven days now.  It has been a full and enriching time.  The kids are handling the life here remarkably well which is great, especially as Jonathan does not like spicy food!  Everything here includes spice apart from the rice, which there is plenty of.
The first week we were with five people from our church in Hinkley, although I answered a heart cry to visit Mysore and teach on the SBS there.  I was the first guest teacher they have had in the school (only a few weeks left) because it is off the beaten track.  I left the children in the good hands of our church folks and flew 1 hour 20 mins south to Bangalore.  I arrived at rush hour so it took 5 hours to get to Mysore from the airport that evening.
I found a really solid SBS school with mature leaders and a high standard of school.  Although the teaching of Isaiah went well, the times spent with the leaders and staff was very significant.
It seems to have been a time of significant meetings, which is such a wonderful encouragement as I have met some King’s Lodge graduates who express such appreciation of the training they received with us in the UK, as well as others that have been impacted by the Biblical Teaching and Preaching school in this part of the world.  I met one of our key leaders who has led a church planting movement which now has about 100 church planning teams and has seen 100s of churches over these past years, with many 1000s of Hindus coming to Christ.  He was very excited about the potential of the on-line SBS courses I have developed.
On the way back to the airport at Bangalore last week, I met with another TKL SBS/BTPS grad that has now trained about 2000 pastors in the skills of preaching, a great need here as many, many pastors have no formal training.  He is meeting a growing demand.
We have been able to join in with some of the outreaches to the slum areas with Elisa joining at every opportunity.  The ‘evangelism strategy’ is to meet people and pray for them in the name of Jesus.  They then see the answer to these prayers; healing, getting a job, reconciliation in their families, restoration of a marriage etc, and then they become open to hearing about Jesus, and the God of all Gods!  Another eight people from the slum areas were baptised last week.
Both of the children are growing in many ways.  I am so proud of the way they handle the situations they face.  I am humbled as I speak to the SBS students, some with amazing stories.  A Buddhist who came to Christ through a dream, and now leads a number of churches in North India, a former Hindu who was rejected by his family when he declared he was a believer, a pastor who longs to get back to Saudi Arabia to continue his evangelism ministry… What a privilege to be a small part of the lives of this kind of people!