Change is in the Air
We are SO thankful for cooler weather. The European Heat Wave of Summer 2018 was challenging without the air conditioning that so many Americans enjoy. Temperatures were in the mid- to upper 90s F/mid 30s C many days and it was very dry. The cooler weather has been a huge relief.
Besides cooler weather, we are seeing changes in our own lives. Tom’s health challenges this year have caused changes in our eating habits as well as in our need for more use of Uber and other taxi services since we do not own a car. Tom is also traveling much less than he did over the last five years, but that is allowing him to do more from his desk.
Between now and mid-October, Leslie has more speaking engagements than usual, along with more travel. She is getting increasingly involved in the Daniel Movement in the Czech Republic (see June’s newsletter) which is expected to grow throughout Europe in the next few years. The Teaching Redemptively study group has also started up for the Fall.
In the midst of this, we are now planning on a HUGE change in 2019. Though we expect a lot of our work to continue, we plan to relocate to the US in June. Several reasons have led to this decision, two of which are:
- Life in Prague is wearing Tom out. We have 29 steps in and out of our apartment if the elevator/lift is working. So just going out can cause Tom pain.
- Aimee and her husband have invited us to move in with them to help with life, especially when her husband is away with the army. For example, he will be deployed for 6 months starting this fall. We just saw their active little boy crawling all over, and that made it more clear that she can use reinforcements when her husband is out of town for an extended time.
Living with Aimee’s family will help with transitioning to the US culture since we anticipate the change from European culture to American culture to be challenging. By then, we will have lived in Europe over 25 years.
As we said, Lord willing, our work will continue. It will just be from a different continent. We are hoping to get back to Europe once or twice a year to continue much of the work we are doing. When we are not in Europe, a lot of our work is done from the computer.
We are asking you, our supporters, to continue to:
- Pray for us in our work and transition;
- Support us financially as the Lord leads; we will still be dependent on your generous gifts to continue serving our Lord in our calling.
An Update from Tom
In July, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the first ever Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom. More than 80 countries sent senior diplomats. US Ambassador for Religious Freedom Sam Brownback (in picture) said this was an attempt to launch an international religious freedom movement.
The World Evangelical Alliance sent me as an envoy to the event. We estimate that 400 million of the 600 million Christians affiliated with the WEA are experiencing discrimination, severe restrictions, or persecution because of their faith. I have to write a detailed report, for which we will plan to send you the link.
A different report, “The Relation of the Swiss Evangelical Alliance to the Roman Catholic Church,” has been published and is appearing on various websites. Here is the original place of publication.
I think this is one of the best studies of Evangelical/Catholic relations to be published by a major Protestant organization, so I translated it from German and French into English, giving more readers access to it. Our attempt to upgrade the quality of Evangelical/Catholic discussions has a larger context.
Common problems of sometimes overwhelming persecution caused the WEA and the Vatican to increase communications about a decade ago. This led to the joint publication of “Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World” in 2011 and then to the Tirana Consultation on Discrimination, Persecution, and Martyrdom in 2015. Now the WEA and the Vatican are working on a memorandum that will move us from individual joint events to a long-term process of cooperation. We cannot stop the persecution of Christians, but we can, I believe, restructure the pattern of the Christian response. It is my serious hope that our grandchildren can inherit a situation of global Protestant/Catholic cooperation in response to persecution. Please pray with me.
On a different note, I have added two parts of my personal testimony to my academia website. Both are short excerpts from my books. The first is “After a Cult: How I was forced to become a theologian.” It is the first text in the section about the Trinity. The second is “After the Holocaust: How I was forced to become a philosopher.” It is the first text in the section about persecution and human rights. Take a look if you are interested. In the last month I have had people reading my website from 407 universities in 102 countries.
Thank you for making it possible for me to do this type of work! Without your support, we could not do it!
Click HERE for the link to get to Tom’s academic website.
September and early October are a busy time for Leslie
- There is a Christian educators’ conference in the Netherlands where they will be discussing religious freedom in schools.
- I have been asked to lead another accreditation team for ACSI, this time in Ethiopia. I will need to go for 2 days in September and then again, Lord willing, in December.
- The annual ACSI Europe Student Leadership Conference is at the end of September. I will be teaching two workshops for students and one workshop for the chaperones.
- A Christian school in Poland is celebrating a significant milestone. Along with Alan Brown, the former director of ACSI Europe, and his wife, Malinda, I will attend their celebration and give a talk to teachers and two talks to teens.
I would appreciate your prayers for safe travels and for the Holy Spirit to be at work through my teaching and ministering to Christian educators and young people.
We thank the Lord for:
- Tom’s time in Washington DC about religious freedom issues. It was a great time of connecting.
- Tom’s health cooperating while he was in DC.
- Leslie’s teaching going well in August and early September.
- Safety for Leslie in her travels.
- The new learning platform regarding freedom of religion or belief. (Click HERE to see it.)
- The setting up of Tom’s academic website which has a lot of links to publications Tom has worked on and is growing in downloads regularly.
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