Welcome to a window into our world.We have been fortunate enought to have lived in various places around the world and have enjoyed and been challenged by the faith, education, wildlife, work, culture and people we have encountered. These experiences have also moulded us in our thinking and contemplation. Some insights we have shared below.
Ben has received his work permit and his social security number and is busily applying for work. He has also been informed that he is eligible to apply for a full ride scholarship at the Musician’s Institute and by the end of July he must submit a media piece giving an overview of his drumming abilities. He is composing an original score for this scholarship and if he is accepted then the media piece will be posted onto the web for people to vote on. When that occurs we will ask you to join us and to vote for him.
Charys has broken up from school and finished the year with a fantastic Ovations performance at the Pasadena Playhouse. This playhouse is where the likes of Dustin Hoffman and others have performed. Charys’ performance ran for two nights and one matinee. Some folks wondered if the school she attended was a performing arts school as the show was sooooooo good
Josh has also broken up from school for the summer and finished this year with straight A’s. Although we have not yet heard back regarding the the recent IB exams, he has hope. He has qualified for a driving permit, and under the CA state law he must be accompanied by an adult until he can take his full driving license test. Josh has excelled at climbing and is now training and volunteering at the climbing club. As he moves into his final year at IB please pray that he would complete the early drafts of his extended easy which is on the early Harappa civilization in the Indus valley.
Linsey has had an eventful and intense three semesters at Fuller and is taking the summer off. She has done well with her studies which is fortunate as if she had not kept to a certain GPA, due to visa restrictions, we would have had to leave. No pressure!!!!!
She has made loads of friends and become the College Mum to many of them (although Linsey thinks its more like big sister).
Since our last newsletter Kevin has been regularly reminded of the sadness of traffiking in the USA. The average age of a girl being traffiked in the US is 13 which involves the girls being raped and abused. It is estimated that over 100,000 children are being traffiked around the US linked primarily to the sex industry. Kevin has also been developing links and networks within the LA area and wider afield for Oasis USA and Oasis is currently developing Traffik Free Communities. These communities consist of groups of local people impacting their own local area to stop traffiking.
‘STOPPING TRAFFIKING ONE COMMUNITY AT A TIME.’
The first six months of this year were challenging, fun and an intense time for us as a family. Like a number of folks the current economic environment can hit you hard. However, in that place God’s provision is clearly visible as there is nothing else to fall back on.
We can thank God that He has impacted into some of our intense situations and we wait for his intervention and wisdom in others.
Each month there have been various ingredients that have shown us God’s love. These interventions have helped us either financially, practically or emotionally. They have also given us a deeper sense of the unconditional love of God that only fuels our hope and desire for God’s character to be revealed in other areas that we know need these resources. Not only for our own lives and the lives of our children but also for our friends and the folks that we study, work with and advocate on behalf of.
Psalm 34:8 says “taste and see that the Lord is good”
We recently experienced our second major earthquake. This was of a 5.2 magnitude, a rise of 0.8 on the last one and we shook for a little longer. (half the family didn’t even notice it as Linsey said “W are not easily moved!’)
Maybe its time to get our earthquake supplies in place. We are supposed to have a cache of provisions that would enable us to last 3-7 days if a major earthquake occurred.
We would ask for your prayers regarding Josh & Charys’ education. Due to the massive state budget cuts in California their school has had to let 20 excellent teachers go, libraries are closing and the principal, who was instrumental in turning the school around over the last several years, is leaving. The problem is that some on the school board would like to cancel the IB program. This would be extremely detrimental to Josh as he has one more year to go before he completes the diploma. The middle school that Charys attends, which is part of the same complex as Josh, is going through major construction which will last until the early part of next year.
Please pray for a wise and discerning principal who would be able to further develop the school in a time of crisis.
Pray that whoever it is would be an advocate for the children in a time when there is loads of political jockeying. Area school district members, who decide on schools, can be parochial, as they are voted into office, and do not necessarily have a long term view.
In a land that is perceived to be a land of freedom there are many lives that are not free. As we get to know more of the stories around the issue of slavery here in the US, rape and abuse are constant threads that weave their way through. A significant method of control, amongst the traffickers, is to rape a person on a regular basis for at least a year, so that their self-will is broken and they become a compliant commodity. Beatings and threats of physical violence are also common factors.
In a recent survey by an LA health organization it was found that there are several points of community interaction that a traffiked person can experience.
These range from meeting health care providers, relatives of the abuser through to interacting with people in shops and restaurants.
However, one point of contact highlighted on the list was congregations. Some people who are traffiked are taken or go to a local church.
The silent cry of the abused is outside and also inside the church.
Our challenge is; are we a community of love that enables the cry to be raised and in our life together do we have ears to hear it?
Another challenge was in mulling over that Charys, our daughter, is now 13 years old. This is also the average age that girls are traffiked and trapped into sexual bondage.
One of the areas traffickers focus on is towards women, children and various people who feel unloved and not included.
We are challenged as to how often we express unconditional love to our children and make it clear through words and action that they are loved. This alone is a simple yet powerful shield to combating traffiking.
There are various ways to fight traffiking and to get involved in freedom. Some are listed on this page. However, one simple way is to be actively part of a community; family, friends, church, school or work place, that is safe and loving and engages in living out the love of Jesus Christ.
This community has the possibility of creating an environment whereby someone who is being abused or traffiked would, either immediately or over a period of time, be able to share their situation and seek help.
Some ways to fight traffiking:
- Join or set up a Traffik Free Community group in your town or city.
- Join the Oasis 13 campaign and donate $13 or 13 GBP a month to the Oasis USA work.
- Asses your lifestyle - What can change... i,e, Join the Oasis campaign against chocolate producers who use enslaved children in coco plantations. Then don’t eat the chocolate
- Parents love your children, children love parents
- Care for one another…. 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'