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March 2014

Saturday MARCH 8, 2014
Last prayer memo December 6, 2013
from Tim


We see lots of Val & Jeff and grandchildren, Savannah & Garrett, who live near us in Taipei. They come over usually three times/week or for special occasions and we also see them at church on Sundays. Val and Jeff both work at English programs, Val in a morning preschool for 2-3 year olds, Jeff in an afternoon/evening cram school, so they trade off with Garrett most days, while Savannah is in an all day Chinese public kindergarten. Jeff may have an opening to work full time in the cram school main office on more of the business aspects of the company next contract term, which he would really enjoy.

Doug just got accepted into a PhD program of the Divinity School at the University of Chicago where he has been studying his Masters in Religion. They provide a nice 5 year full scholarship, plus a $23,000/year living stipend, so they are pretty happy about that.

Jonie's girlfriend Kaitlyn came to visit us in Taiwan for 6 weeks. She is serving an NGO in Cusco, Peru working with girls sports programs, but had her summer break and came here to visit us. It was good spend time with her and see that they seem to be a good couple . They both enjoy outdoor activities like rock climbing and bicycling and spent lots of time visiting many of the sights in Taiwan in a short period of time. Jonie will visit her in Peru in June. He mostly does private English tutoring and a little substitute teaching and computer labs help at Bethany school, where Trisha and Nathan attend. They hope to find a same US city location where they both can work next fall.

Janine just came back from CA.  She visited two of her HS friends in college there while on spring break from Covenant College for a week. She recently got notice from the registrar's office that she could graduate with a Sociology major in December if she completes 15 more available course credits in the fall semester of her senior year, plus 7 credits of KLEP tests or summer online electives--good news on the financial savings end, but of course throwing her into more serious future planning mode. 

Karen's enjoying her service in Manila, Philippines in children's ministries and other work on the other islands there that keeps her busy. She will join the Morrison HS mission trip to Boracay in April. She plans to attend Wheaton in August, where Jonie & Nat graduated and Nat & Doug still live. She contracted dengue fever during her relief work visit to Tacloban (typhoon disaster area), but after 5 days with lowered platelet counts in a Manila hospital on IV saline drip and Barb's sister Becca's help, she came through it without any serious complications.   

Trisha (3rd) and Nathan (1st) seem to be getting along well in school, and have learned to take the public buses back and forth to school (about 2 miles away). Trisha enjoys artsy things, like drawing, crafts and self-taught piano. We just got her a new Casio keyboard for her 9th birthday that has a mini-computer screen that tells her what notes to play and which fingers to use to play the preloaded song--so she started with the lively (but not beginner level) Je Te Veux "I Want You" written by Erik Satie and has done pretty well at getting it. She also joined the elementary chorus for the middle school musical "Through the Looking Glass" (Alice in Wonderland story) to perform today, March 21-22. Nathan prefers to play computer games in his free time (Minecraft, Nintendo, Wii, PSP) and recently has shown a renewed interest in Legos, since Jonie tried to get them into something else. They both like to read, and Barb's sister, Becca, (living in Manila) always sends with others or personally delivers boxes of used books she buys there, so they have no lack of reading material, plus the use of Bethany library.  

Barb mostly keeps the house running smoothly, attends women's Bible Study Fellowship and takes Savannah & Garrett to their children's program. She recently has taken a new student for English tutoring on Wednesday & Friday nights, meeting over near the seminary, so she has been riding her bike to those appointments. We try to take Thursday mornings & lunch as our weekly time together, while the younger kids are in school.


I'm teaching three classes at the seminary (Parenting, Counseling Case Studies, Daniel), continuing with administration as academic dean, preparing some new DVD classes as Dean of Distance Learning, meeting with counseling students about their graduation theses as Dean of Biblical Counseling, also taking on a few counseling cases (mostly premarital with our own students or student's adult children, but also a marriage case and a single US sent missionary). I preached at one of our student's wedding on Jan 25 after doing their premarital counseling.

I have six Saturday or Sunday speaking/preaching engagements over the next two months around Taipei.

In response to Asian Theological Association accreditation report (we passed without required changes for 5 years, but have about 25 items to address for growth), I presented a series of motions to the faculty related to curriculum improvements/revisions, the largest being ATA's recommendation that we revise our entire credit system to make it compatible with other Asian/US seminary systems. Currently we have more courses and credits to graduate (but worth fewer hours/course) than other systems, so we are considering changing our three credit courses to two credits and adding a few CORE 3 credit courses, and revising our class hours/credit ratio. This could create something of an administrative nightmare for transcripts, but the faculty seems open to the proposed changes. Any proposed changes go to the May 31 board meeting for one more round of consideration, and if passing, could be implemented this fall.

I spent the past two weeks working on a new class called Biblical Precepts for Leadership & Discipleship in the Local Church, by invitation of Emmanuel Reformed Bible Lectures (in connection with the Bible Presbyterian Church) in Singapore scheduled for June 20-30, 2014. Since they wanted to advertise the course, I needed to prepare a new course description and choose a textbook. That took a lot of reading and thought to organize a course topic outline and integrate that with my current thinking in counseling theology. Thank God for the availability of Kindle books that can be read on my Android cell phone, tablet PC or PC, that now allows me a quick read of the several best books under consideration for a class, saving on shipping & import fees (though I must add that the prices are not yet user friendly for so much saved in printing costs by the publishers). I hope to turn this course around and eventually teach it at CRTS in relation to business and marketplace ministry, as well as church leadership. It has also been a helpful opportunity to rethink and evaluate my own leadership work at CRTS. I will have much more work to do in the next 3 months to get the actual new lectures ready for the intensive mini-class. They no doubt will want those well in advance, as Singapore culture seems to run on well-in-advance planning compared to most of East Asia.

I will travel to Penang & Kuala Lumpur Malaysia today, March 21-24 to teach two Sexual Ethics in Marriage Counseling seminars for the Chinese churches there (a topic they assigned me), connecting with some of our CRTS graduates in the same two locations as my previous Malaysia trip in 2012. I have some previous counseling & teaching material on the subject, but I had to do some new reading of Kindle books and thinking through how to organize and revise my material for the seminars in 2 locations. The Chinese Reformed church that I preached at before in KL also wants me to preach on Sunday morning again so these will be full days Saturday & Sunday (6-8 hours teaching in Chinese each day).

My goal to submit a book proposal to P&R about counseling theology has been delayed due to one of our CRTS teacher's resigning, dealing with the pre & post administration of that resignation, working on the application process for a new potential faculty member, having to replan the spring semester schedule and teachers, as well as teach an additional class on Daniel myself.

We have a new potential faculty, native Chinese speaking candidate with special interests in student discipleship and preaching training, who is also a WTS MA/ThM grad, PCA ordained. I am praying that this process leads to a faculty hire, as many of the gifts I see in him will be a great blessing to CRTS. He came to Taiwan to visit with me last December, then, with faculty permission, we worked out an arrangement for him to come for three weeks (Feb 24-Mar 13) and teach 1/2 of my Daniel class, as well as preach on Tuesdays for student chapel.

We continue to need an additional local Chinese part-time person to work in the CRTS office to relieve our chief administrator's load. Hopefully the Lord will lead us to a capable cashier, computer and/or library skilled person soon.

I continue to ride my bike back and forth to work, though some days the cold (mid-high 50s) rainy weather makes that an unpleasant task. Also due to my heavier weight, I've had constant problems with back tire spokes snapping on uneven roads on my original so-so back rim in the past 9 months, even after a complete re-spoke job on that rim, so I got specialty built single butted DT spokes on better rims (problem solved), only to have an internal back hub failure yesterday (stripped the internal grabbing mechanism standing up to pedal on a small hill), sending the back rim back to the company after about one month of use . . . My bike repair guy sees lots of me . . . but in Taiwan, they don't usually charge for labor unless they actually sell you some new part. Of course the moral of the story . . . buy titanium? or lose weight!

Thank you for your prayers of thanksgiving and petition related to the news above! You can develop many ways to biblically & creatively prayfor the concerns. Hopefully we can get some pictures to you soon, but since I haven't used the camera much at CRTS or home, will need to get some from others . . . .