August 14 Arrived in England & took the coach to Cambridge!
Amaris with our luggage after just arriving in Cambridge.
*So glorious to be back in Cambridge with a Bible Program on its way! We were warmly welcomed by John and Inge Rudduck, with whom we are staying over the next 6 months. Our new home is called The Oak Villa, formerly a “semi- detached” (meaning two homes connected by a shared wall, but recently renovated into one large, beautiful home) with 8 bedrooms and 5 baths. In addition, a garden that stretches 1/8 of a mile long!!!
The beginning of the garden
the Oak Villa
August 15-19 Time spent getting over Jet lag & Setting up our home!
Cliff & John setting up our bed
* England is 8 hours ahead of Los Angeles & traveling east is quite a challenge! One night you can sleep, the next you can’t, the voila! You’re adjusted. One thing you need is a good bed!
August 16 Joined the Friday Prayer Meeting
John & Inge, our hosts, praying.
*Members of various churches and Christian groups have been meeting for prayer each Friday for a number of years. On our previous trip to Cambridge we had frequently joined so it was wonderful to reconnect. The prayers of these faithful few are paving the way for Truth to be declared & people to know Christ in Cambridge. How valuable in a city where the greatest minds of the next generation are being molded. I can honestly say nothing is more welcoming than being prayed for!
August 17&18 Bicycles: Our main form of transportation.
Amaris' bike complete with a wicker basket.
*Cambridge is a cycling community. University students are actually not allowed to own cars, and only public transportation is permitted within the city center. Most transportation is done on Bicycles. It’s good fun and exercise, especially up the hill to our home. We live 3 miles ride from Cambridge City center.
August 18 Volunteered @ the Round Church with Christian Heritage
*Last summer while in Cambridge, Amaris volunteered at the Round Church, an 11th c. church in the city. Immediately upon our return, they requested our help once again. This ministry allows tourists to have a walking tour of Cambridge with a focus on the Christian History of the city. (www.christianheritageuk.org.uk) As a volunteer, one greets guests at the door and directs them to the video presentation as well as an exhibit explaining Cambridge’s history back over a thousand years. We plan to have our trainees volunteer during the weekends as a way for them to learn the history of the city and interact with visitors.
August 19… Getting Down to Work!
*There are currently 5 young people coming to study the Bible with us and one who may shortly apply. This will give us a possible total of 6 ( 2 Brits, 3 Americans and one Dutch trainee!), along with Heather our staff girl! Since we are running our program in a home rather than a Ywam center there is much planning to be done, from beds and meals to printers and papers. We are so excited to be getting down to work planning and preparing. Along with our Revival and Reformation Chronological Bible Core Course (R&RCBCC), Ywam Cambridge’s first Discipleship Training School will begin September 22! They currently have 3 accepted trainees and 2 pending! We are praying God will provide a location for them to run this program. Connie Taylor, our Ywam Cambridge leader, often declares; “We are having twins!” God is definitely beginning a good work in Cambridge!
Prayer Requests & Thank You’s!
From Visa’s to airplane tickets and students to finances, God has provided for us with miracles and people’s generosity. With each step of this new endeavor, we are trusting God and thankful for the faithful support of our ministry parters. We know that it is not us alone who makes what we do possible. Thank you to those of you who pray for us and support us in our ministry.
Our prayer is that the lives of our six trainees will be greatly impacted and rooted in truth through the 14 week course. *Please pray that they all will arrive safely with hearts prepared to be transformed by the Word of God.
Our location is also strategic, we want to impact those around us with Truth and see God glorified in this city, especially with the university students. *Please pray we will be lead to those whose hearts are ready to believe in Jesus and are in need of encouragement.
*Please pray for our hosts, John & Inge Ruddock as we trust God together for Inge’s health.
*Please pray that God will give Cliff & Amaris wisdom in running the program and for God’s continual provision.
I’ve often heard it said, “Hopes for the future color one’s view of the present.” The Bible tells us, that “Hope does not disappoint” (Romans 5:5) Hope, I believe, is like a heartbeat for humans. Without it people seem to shrivel up and die; like a plant without water, but with Hope, they have something to live for, a drive that keeps them going. Hope is a big motivator as I think of Cliff and I going off to England this coming fall. Hope in Jesus and all that He has done, can do, and is doing in Europe.
This morning I was with a group of people from all over the western world; Switzerland, Norway, England, Germany and America . We joined together to intercede for Europe. We began sharing one by one the prayer point we felt God speaking to us for Europe. Many of those in my group shared about how their country needed this or lacked that. It was hard not to suddenly feel hopeless for change. Hope I realized is what this Continent needs. The ‘good’ my be small, but in reality when we come together to pray, we MUST focus on these positive things, no matter how small. Call me an optimist, but I believe its true. I know the character of our God and He can use even the smallest of groups, or the smallest sliver of willingness in individuals. England and Europe are not without HOPE! But when we feel there is no Hope, that is when there might actually be no Hope.
I want to share for a moment from my heart, not perfectly researched material, but what I feel God is speaking to Cliff and I about England. Over the summer in Cambridge, we learned loads about the history. In America something old has been around for maybe 200 years, but in England its sometimes over a 1.000 years! While Jesus walked the earth, the Romans were in England. The first Martyr of England, St. Alban, was over 1,500 years ago. What a history! And honestly, learning about it I felt a great weight upon my shoulders. England has an old history, but throughout the years and all the changes of the world, England has stood strong as a Bulwark for Christianity. In some of their beautiful cathedrals, people have been worshiping God for 1,000 years and more. True it may be seeped in tradition and highly liturgical, but they are speaking truth. When breathed upon anew by the Holy Spirit, the truth spoken is powerful! All this to say, there is HOPE for England. Although few in number, there is a community of believers who are praying and working hard to bring a fresh breath of the Holy Spirit back to these lands where the Gospel first came long ago. England was at the forefront of modern day missions, I pray that it will step into that role again!
God bless England, Jesus bring life to those who speak your truth everyday, to those who teach in the schools, to those who pray daily for a revival of this land! I pray that Hope may arise to see what the LIVING GOD can do!
I remain Hopeful both for England and for America. When I look at the God I serve, I know this HOPE is not misplaced. I am so excited and blessed to be able to be a part of God bringing a revival of truth and the Holy Spirit to England!
May HOPE fill your hearts today, knowing we are never hopeless with Jesus, and that hope does not disappoint us. Sometimes a little Hope is all we need. May your hopes today for the future, color your view of today!
Cliff and Amaris are enjoying working together in partnership, leading the Chronological Bible Core Course at YWAM LA! Its 2013 and there are good things ahead, including planning a trip to England to run another CBCC!
Thank you Jesus that we are able to work together for your Kingdom Glory!
Oh Happy Day!
Though I have collected notes for this book over the last five years, I was greatly surprised at how much preparation I had yet to do. Throughout this three month writing trip to Cambridge, each week seemed to reveal a brand new, and completely necessary, subject matter that required study before I could move forward with the book. I had to study the Enlightenment in depth, because that is when Scriptural truth was torn from the mind of the Western world. My goal for this book is to reverse that event- specifically, to start the process by reintroducing the beauty and power of the Biblical Creation narrative to public dialogue in the West first, but then to the nations who are hungry for Biblical transformation of their cultures.
I was woefully unready.
I needed to study the “phenomenology of spirit” (thanks, Hegel), and dialectics, and semiotics, and the rest of the academic toolbox of the “philosophy of history”, because they are the root system of the Giant Sequoia of postmodern relativism that casts its shadow over today’s academic institutions. This study was important for me, because I have to explain the poetic elements of the Creation narrative in order to apply the truths God was communicating with them.
I also had to study Christian authors who have used Genesis in different ways over the millennia- for devotionals, scientific apologetics, for linguistics, and for many other purposes- because I needed to know exactly what has already been written, and there is a LOT OF IT! Still, my book survived with its own unique message, thank the Lord…
I also needed to study several other cultures which paralleled Israel’s philosophical and religious development, in order to make honest contrasts and comparisons to their different Creation narratives.
Throughout those discoveries, struggles, doubts, and even a few crises, the Lord met me with the answers I needed. Several times, the answers took way too long in my opinion, but that was because I was impatient to finish the book before returning home.
Thank you for your prayers. I want to ask to to re-direct those prayers toward our fellow believers with influential teaching roles in the the Body of Christ. Pray for a Reformation to follow the Revival which seems to be the emphasis of popular Christian teaching and writing. Pray for the Gospel to mature in the hearts of Jesus’ followers, so we begin to step out into the servant/leadership of our communities. Pray for the Biblical Story of Mankind to be celebrated as the Light that reveals other, competing worldviews as darkness. Pray for the boldness to continue teaching the Light of the Gospel’s transforming power for every community- because the response of Darkness will always be persecution.
I have a book deadline for Christmas. I will always be giving two “test-run” teachings of the book material- one here in LA (thanks Benjie), and one in Nigeria (see the newsletter for this new project).
OUR YOUNG PEOPLES’ FAITH NEEDS TO SURVIVE UNIVERSITY!!! Amen???
Flying back to the United States of America, I can’t help but sing our national anthem. I love our country of great freedom! Yet, as we left England, there was also a new feeling of deep respect for that country and its people, who really do ‘Keep Calm and Carry On”. Sometimes it takes going to another country to realize what your country has. I know that often it feels as if America is quickly slipping from its Christian Values, but all I could feel returning was great HOPE!!! We have not lost it! There is still hope for America, and more than that, I believe that America has the HOPE that Europe needs. Jesus is the hope for all nations, and He wants to continue using Americans as His witness to the world. Thank you Jesus for the faith that America still holds onto and those who are fighting to keep it that way! God bless America!
England is a beautiful country, rich in history and Christian heritage. It was amazing to go into a Cathedral that was built almost 1,000 years ago, and has been holding church services every day since! Throughout the centuries, England has stood strong as a bulwark of the Christian faith. Christian tradition runs deep throughout the British Isles, but today they need fresh revival of the faith that British missionaries brought to the world in the past.
Our time in England was a refreshing and challenging time of vision, relationship, education, and clarification.
Being in England with the beautiful old buildings and Cathedrals, seeing the open green fields, and for the first time in our married life being outside of YWAM community life- ‘playing house’ – was very refreshing! Not to mention the endless rain! Rain makes things grow and we feel like we have grown too.
For me [Cliff], studying and writing this book caused me to dig deeply into areas of science, history, and philosophy that challenged my beliefs, and exposed many assumptions in my understanding of the Bible and its relationship to civilization. Those issues needed to exposed. England itself has been a unique experiment in Christian civilization since the first century after Jesus. Today, Cambridge has become a center of the atheistic view of the world. In hindsight, it seems that God wanted me to write within this challenging environment to reinforce the gravity of what will befall the world should the Bible’s Truth-honoring worldview continue to be rejected by the West. In the end, I believe the Lord gave me greater clarity of understanding, thus maturity, and finally the authority to write the book which God had put on my heart in the first place.
By the end of our trip, I finished with a massive amount of research and writing, but not a finished product. What God gave us is better: Amaris and I developed strategic partnerships with leaders in the Biblical Transformation movement, who helped us see how The Garden Heart will initiate a brand new type of Christian literature that will change the way Christians engage with academia. It’s great to have mentors and partners!!!
Cliff and I have walked away from our time in England feeling like we have a clear vision for our ministry lives together. As many are aware, our hearts have been and forever will be to teach people how to study the Bible inductively. By analogy, this work is the “engine” of our ministry vision. We never want to stop teaching believers how to study the Bible for themselves. But before this time in Cambridge, we did not know the details of the “car” that our Biblical teaching “engine” fit into. Now we know that “Biblical worldview transformation of the community” is our new ride- and it’s a powerful machine 😉 We have discovered that the Lord is reforming the Church in a mighty way, and He has a place for us to fit right in.
Before leaving for England we shared our hopes for this trip. We had been invited by Vishal Mangalwadi to help him on a series of lectures in Cambridge with a group called Christian Heritage UK. And being YWAMers first, we made contact with the YWAM presence in Cambridge and Harpenden.
We were so blessed by the relationships that we were able to form while in Cambridge, including Vishal, Ranald Macaulay (the founder of Christian Heritage UK and L’Abri UK), Martin and the team at Christian Heritage; Connie and Andrew Taylor with YWAM Cambridge, as well as Emmanuel and Janice Entee with YWAM Harpenden. It truly was God’s grace that brought these wonderful people into our lives in England and we believe we will be partnering with many of them in the near future.
Vishal Mangalwadi was a great help to us. We were able to spend significant time in communication with him and in person. For Cliff, Vishal’s input was a crucial part of the preparation for his book. Before we left the U.S., I (Amaris) was hesitant to say we were in partnership with Vishal, but now we can say with confidence that we have found a friend, a mentor, and a partner in ministry. For this we are so blessed.
The Round Church and Christian Heratiage UK: We also gained a relationship with Christian Heritage UK, the ministry which initially invited Vishal to Cambridge. I was able to volunteer with them, and Cliff was able to take a Biblical inerrancy class with them.
The founder of the ministry, Ranald Macaulay, was a great blessing to us due to his wealth of knowledge in Christian history, and his experience running L’Abri UK and Switzerland. The ministry aims to preserve the Christian heritage particularly of Cambridge, by putting it on display in exhibit and video form in a Templar-era church called the Round Church, situated right in the middle of Cambridge. Can you imagine that when Jesus was walking the earth, Romans were present in Cambridge? Amazing! Along with these exhibits the ministry offers walking tours that further emphasize the centrality of Christianity in the University’s founding and subsequent development.
YWAM in England:
What a blessing it was to connect with our greater YWAM Community in England. We got in contact with Connie and Andrew Taylor through email and were so blessed by their great welcome to Cambridge. It is their prayer to start a Discipleship Training School (DTS) in the fall of 2013- Cliff and I are excited at the open invitation to join their team in Cambridge with a three-month Chronological Bible Core Course (BCC).
While Cliff was hard at work on his book, I would often join Connie on the streets to evangelize. I was so blessed by her passion for street evangelism! When the Olympic torch came to Cambridge, the Christian Community had a tent for evangelism and Connie and I were able to lead two young moms to the Lord. Cambridge is the place where revival first started in England, and it is our prayer that it will again be a place where truth will be declared!
We were also warmly welcomed to YWAM Harpenden, just an hour’s bus ride from Cambridge. YWAM Harpenden is a well established YWAM location running a number of training programs. We had originally met Emmanuel, a Harpenden leader, in Los Angeles at the same time Vishal was inviting us to come to Cambridge. Cliff and I were also welcomed to come and run our CBCC in Harpenden.
Cliff and I believe that in the coming year we will return to England and run a three-month CBCC. Our trip to England has set us up with the necessary relationships and a good understanding of how things work in England to easily slip back to England and teach the Word in our program. We are praying for the wisdom to work out the details of when and where.
Previously in our Blog:
I had mentioned that Vishal and I were working on a project in regard to Damien Hirst and the Diamond-Studded Skull. Unfortunately we found that the Skull was not going to be on display through the Olympics, removing the whole premise for our project. Sadly, we were unable to get the article published in a British Paper, neither did we create it into a tract. However, Vishal was invited to a YWAM festival called “Go 4 Glory” which gathered artists before sending them out into Olympic outreach throughout England. Vishal revised the article, I created a Keynote for it, and Vishal taught it to the group of young artists. Cliff also taught with Vishal in one of his three speaking times during the festival.
As I worked with a visionary person who is also a great thinker, I saw how ideas shape society- and I also found that visionary plans can quickly change. As I have heard said, ‘Self-made millionaires have been bankrupted at least once in their lives.’ Having great vision to change the world might not always pan out as hoped, but we will never stop trying. In the end, our goal remains the same: to influence and affect people with the truth of the Gospel and its ability to change and transform society.
For me, personally, our time in England was wonderful and challenging. It was not a typical outreach of daily evangelism, but it was a great preparation for making a long-term impact among the nations by teaching Truth. I have found that, of course, God calls us to immediate results through evangelism- but it doesn’t stop there. He is also calling believers to careful planning, with mature wisdom and understanding, which will later yield big pay-offs by changing society as a whole.
Thank you so much for supporting us in prayer and finance in this time. As Cliff and approach our second anniversary in October, we realize that our time in England has set us up with the foundation for our team ministry. How exciting!
This coming Fall, Cliff and I will be working with YWAM Los Angeles again. Cliff will continue his role on the Base Eldership Team, as well as continuing work on his book and overseeing the Bible Programs on our base. I will be a full time staff for the first quarter of the Fall Chronological School of Biblical Studies (CSBS). In January Cliff and I will both staff another three-month CBCC after which we are free to see where the Lord leads us, (most likely back to England to run another three month CBCC)!
We have been invited to speak in a few of CSBS schools which have been started by Cliff’s former students in Mexico and at All Nations Church in LA. He is now a happy “Grandfather” of these programs which are reaching many with the truth of the Word!
We continue to seek God for the next thing we can do to be a blessing and bring His Truth to the Nations!!!!
Thank you again for your partnership! We are so blessed and look forward to hearing from you!!
The summer here in England is as cold as a California winter and far more rainy! It is appropriate that I begin this update with talk about the weather since it is a common topic of discussion in England. They say, “if you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes.” It is true! A rainy day can turn sunny and then stormy again in a matter of minutes it seems. Despite missing the warm California sun, Cliff and I are having a wonderful time and are blessed with the connections that God has opened up for us while we have been in Cambridge.
Our last update came to you as we were just getting settled in Cambridge after a bit of travel. Since then we have been able to teach at the King’s Lodge (www.thekingslodge.com), connect with Vishal Mangalwadi (www.revelationmovement.com) -the Indian Philosopher who first invited us to come to Cambridge, as well as YWAM Cambridge, and Christian Heritage (www.christianheritageuk.org.uk) with the Round Church. Cliff has been putting in long hours at the local Starbucks working hard on his book.
Teaching at the Kings Lodge
The first week of June I had the privilege of teaching Haggai and Zechariah at YWAM’s King’s Lodge SBS. This is one of the longest running SBS in YWAM. With Zechariah being said to be one of the most difficult books in the Bible, I stepped up to the challenge, trusting God and leaning heavily on Cliff! Thankfully, it went well, some of the students commenting that they would never think Zechariah a difficult book because the teaching was so clear. What an encouragement that was! Now I am one step closer to finishing a personal goal of teaching all of the Books of the Bible in SBS!
During our stay at the King’s Lodge, we were able to visit with an old friend, Phil Leage, and long time staff of the SBS. He gave us his blessing to begin an SBS in Cambridge, saying that King’s Lodge SBS would love to help us in any way they could. This was a blessing and an important step in our “scouting”.
A Project with Vishal Mangalwadi
Due to some personal situations, it turns out that during most of our time in Cambridge, our friend VIshal will be taking a well-needed private retreat in England. However, he was able to visit us here in Cambridge for a few days and we remain in constant communication with him.
His lectureship with Christian Heritage has been rescheduled for a later time, but God has given us a project to work on for the time being. Vishal has recently written an article entitled A Diamond-studded skull instead of a crown of thorns. In the article Vishal responds to Britain’s richest artist, Damien Hirst’s For the Love of God. This diamond-studded skull is currently on display at the Tate Modern in London (www.tate.org.uk). Looking at Hirst’s art, it is clear he follows the nihilism of Nietzsche (1844–1900): “A philosophical doctrine suggesting the negation of one or more putatively meaningful aspects of life. Most commonly, nihilism is presented in the form of existential nihilism which argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value” (Wikipedia, Nihilism). As Christians we know this way of thinking is destructive and ultimately not true.
In his Article, Vishal observes that the exhibit of Hirst’s Skull is immediately across the Thames from St. Paul’s Cathedral (www.stpauls.co.uk), a symbol of Christianity. He points out that where one offers the emptiness of death, another offers life eternal. (I would be happy to send a copy of the article, if you Facebook or email me).
There are now four elements to this project which I am working on.
1. Getting the Article Published in a respectable British newspaper.
2. Creating a quality documentary video based on the article.
3. Creating a quality evangelistic tract based on the article.
4. Gathering and training YWAMers/Local Christians to distribute the tract outside the Tate Modern durning the Olympics.
Its quite exciting and we are plodding steadily along in our progress. Ultimately our aim is to bring people to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Please keep this project in your prayers as we are up against giants. Vishal wrote to us saying:
“This project is as simple as David picking up a smooth stone from a brook as he went to meet Goliath. That one brief encounter changed history for David, for Israel, and for the world – that is, for the world of politics, religion, philosophy, music, poetry, art, and much more, including personal faith and the daily walk of billions of people during the past three thousand years.”
That meeting with Goliath opened up David’s relationship with Saul and his military leaders. (He had already served as one of Saul’s musicians, though Saul may not have noticed him as anything more than another servant in his court, until the day he confronted Goliath.)”
So, while the project itself is only a small evangelistic effort, it may eventually allow Vishal to become a voice for Christ to London’s political, intellectual, financial and media moguls.
Please pray that God would make this possible!
Photo: Cliff, Connie and Andrew on a Walking Tour with Christian Heritage
Cliff and I have greatly enjoyed getting to know the couple representing YWAM here in Cambridge. Andrew and Connie Taylor gave us a very warm welcome! Although YWAM is not more than two individuals praying fervently for God to move in this place rich with Christian History, they have great plans to see the ministry expand.
Cliff and I have enjoyed times of prayer and planning. We have some idea of what the future my hold for our involvement with YWAM Cambridge, but are still praying through the details. Along with prayer, I have enjoyed joining Connie and a local girl, Nic, going out on the street for evangelism. We meet a young Chinese student who had never heard the gospel before! I love sharing the gospel with young people on the street, yet I have been surprised at the indifference with which it is sometimes received. All the same, Connie, who is a passionate evangelist, having gotten saved in California durning the Jesus Movement, told me that people often need to have the gospel shared with them seven time before they will be open to it!
Please pray that God would continue the work started in YWAM Cambridge!
Christian Heritage and the Round Church
The Round Church is the second oldest church in Cambridge. Build around 1130 by the Normans, it is made to look like the Church of the Holy Sepulture in Jerusalem. Christian Heritage is a ministry that does just what its name says- inform visitors of the Christian Heritage in Cambridge. And WOW! is there a lot. The ministry does walking tours which cover the basics of the history of Cambridge from a Christian perspective, as well as keeping the Church open for visitors to enjoy an informative video and exhibit of Britain’s Christian history from the First century to today. At the time Jesus was walking the earth, Romans were in Cambridge building roads! Its really hard to comprehend that scale of history, coming from the US which only dates back a few hundred years. The walking tour ends in a Puritan Chapel where a plaque says, “Near here is buried the head of Oliver Cromwell”. It was at Emmanuel College that Puritans planned the migration to America… imagine!
I have volunteered at this Round Church for the duration of our stay, where I greet visitors and explain to them the various exhibits the Church has to offer. Its been great learning the history. Secretly I hope to one day be able to give the Walking Tour, but I don’t know if time will permit that to become a reality!
Cliff has been laboring away at his book. He says writing is “an education in itself.” And it is exciting to hear of the new discoveries he is having as well as the challenges that he is facing. I have full faith in Cliff that he will do an excellent job! What a great place Cambridge is to write! (Here I will invite Cliff to share of his progress) Please pray for focused progress. I’m picking some fights that I believe the Lord wants to be fought. I just need to be reminded that the Word of God is the One that wins those fights!
And so we have about six weeks left in this beautiful place, rich with history. The first weekend in July the Olympic torch will makes its way through Cambridge. Cliff will continue to work hard on his book and I will continue to serve where I can! Thank you for your prayers and support!