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.

Friday

EXTRACTS FROM OUR NEWSLETTER - To read more click; THE HERALD


1 Wedding, 2 Wings and a Nut Butter


The summer has come and gone. We have been able to officiate at a great family friend’s wedding and also spent three days in a secluded cabin in the Los Padres National Forest high up in the Californian Mountains. The cabin was outside the range of cell phones and Internet. It was a great 3-day break. We have enjoyed the visits of family and friends and the continuous sunshine. Sadly this sunshine has also brought the worst drought in the last 100 years. Our local temperatures have reached levels not seen in 120 years and unfortunately fires rage in the mountains of Northern California. 

Kevin’s summer has been mostly taken up with the changing scenario within Oasis USA. He agreed to take over the role as Oasis USA Interim Executive Director and has since been made fully aware of several steep challenges that need to be overcome. However, the Oasis activities since May have been encouraging and hopeful. In the US, Oasis has amongst other things:

* Coordinated the delivery of freedom bags (emergency support kits) for the LA section of a national FBI raid that rescued over 168 Children across America. 
* Partnered with,,,,,,,

Over the summer, BEN saw the soft release of the CIRCLESIGHT EP; “Holographic Concrete” and the band were encouraged when it reached number 8 on the iTunes Rock and Roll charts. Unfortunately….

JOSH came over and had a break from his life in London. It was wonderful to have him back with us. He was able to clarify the way ahead and had decided to put…….

CHARYS has had an intense summer. We all hoped that she should have a good long break, but a significant part of her time was spent either researching and writing her IB extended essay or reading for next years IB final year.  However…..

For LINSEY summer approached with thoughts of time off from studies and perhaps a vacation for the family, or at least time to rest her weary brain. But it didn’t quite turn out as expected……

To read the full updates on all the family click here 

Prayer updates can be read at PRAYER FOCUS

Please Pray for the people of the city of Los Angeles



Wednesday

Words that give an insight into the Welsh and help my wife understand me "better".

14 English words that mean something totally different in Wales to the rest of the world.

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/lifestyle/fun-stuff/14-english-words-mean-something-7680409





Friday

I think this is great.

A new fund raising campaign for lovers of all things Welsh and for those who might enjoy the quirky stuff. All proceeds go to the Welsh League of Southern California. To help with the costs of organizing Welsh festivals in California.
Check out the T-shirt....


http://teespring.com/WelshLeagueofSoCal_copy_1


Wednesday


I was on the bus to work the other morning and saw an elderly weather beaten Chinese gentleman struggle onto the bus with one big black bin liner full of plastic bottles and another white plastic bin liner full of cans both of which he would eventually sell for a small sum. His clothes and actions inferred life was tough. The bus started to move away from the kerb and as I watched from the back of the bus he came to the realization that he had left a small bag at the bus stop. He quickly shuffled off the bus and the bus closed its doors and started to move away from the stop. Several of us called out, but to his credit the driver was just pulling into a safer place on the road to wait patiently for him. Partially bent over the old man shuffled to the concrete bench collected his bag and made his way back onto the bus. He then settled onto a seat and tried to relax, but the event had taken quite a bit out of him. As I watched, I was reminded of what God said about what it would look like for the elderly when God visits a city “Once again men and women of ripe old age will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each of them with cane in hand because of their age. The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there.” and again “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’” or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

This encourages us with a picture of community and peace in the city. This peace is desperately needed at the moment especially for women, the old and the young in our cities who currently face many challenges and pressures. 
A Community working together in and through the love of Christ is a key ingredient for supporting the weak, lost and marginalized. Pray and support Kevin and Oasis USA as they work with communities to bring the shalom of Christ. Currently Oasis USA is going through a transition as the executive director will be leaving. This will result in Kevin picking up and managing several additional responsibilities. Oasis USA’s global ministry is proceeding well and sharing the practical love of Christ in several places around the world. However, Oasis USA has the challenge that it needs to develop some immediate funding for the local ministry initiatives or it will need to considerable reevaluate the local work. To this end there are several funding events going on over the next few months and Kevin would appreciate your prayer that they would be well supported.
Over the years Oasis USA has helped many local communities and churches support those who are vulnerable or who have been victims of Human Trafficking. 
The Oasis USA communities have been:
  • Supporting victim reintegration through a community mentor program
  • Training court appointed special advocates
  • Partaking in a youth summer school program helping at risk youth prevent human trafficking happening to them and their friends.
  • Mentoring and equipping young people in a local safe house with life skills.
  • Providing emergency victim support resources to law enforcement and other rescue agencies 
  • Working with churches and various faith communities to develop holistic care for victims of human trafficking. 

Kevin’s hope is that he will be able to help strengthen this work and further develop community based initiatives so as to have an even greater Kingdom impact. Oasis USA need prayers for wisdom and for adequate resources to meet the challenges facing the people they are working with. 

The other day we went to a Middle Eastern restaurant that was run by a family who emigrated to the USA from Beirut , Lebanon. Once through the door we could be mistaken for thinking we were in Beirut. We must have been the only non-middle eastern family in the place. The atmosphere was great as was the staff and the food. It was not a surprise however as Los Angeles has many different ethnic groups. This is due, according to Professor Vyacheslav Ivanov of UCLA, there being at least 224 different major languages and nationalities in Los Angeles County. Some languages are spoken by millions of people, some by hundreds of thousands of people and some by tens of thousands of people.
Languages such as English, Spanish, Tagalog, Chinese, Korean, Armenian, Vietnamese, Persian, Japanese, Cantonese, Russian, French, Mandarin, Arabic, Mon-Khmer, Cambodian, German, Formosan, Thai, Italian, Hebrew, Hindi, Portuguese, Samoan, Gujarati, Hungarian, Indonesian, Urdu, Greek, Yoruba,  Polish, Dutch, Punjabi, Romanian, Yiddish, Bengali, Amharic, Croatian, Laotian, Burmese, Swedish, Syriac, Turkish, Sinhalese, Tamil, Croatian, Tongan, French Creole, Danish, Czech, Ukrainian, Mayan Languages, Bulgarian, Telugu , Serbian, Bantu, Malayalam, Lithuanian, Swahili, Norwegian and so on...

Friday

Competing Worlds and Diverse Communities


We all live in competing worlds and diverse communities and we just thought we would give you a snapshot of some of ours.

Since early November 2013 we now live in a city called Alhambra. Named after the spectacular 9th century Spanish palace compound in Granada. Our city is mainly a Chinese, Japanese & Korean community. At Christmas Linsey’s family enjoyed celebrating a Chinese Christmas service in Southern California. The recent Chinese New Year celebrations were a major event in Alhambra.

Most days Kevin travels 45 minutes to work on the bus. As the bus motors its way into downtown Los Angeles the passengers expand from being mainly Chinese, Korean & Japanese clientele to include Latino, Hispanic, Mexican and African Americans. It can be a bit surreal, especially when it's a cloudy, grey cold day, reminding him of the UK and he’s travelling through a suburb that looks like part of the Mexican city of Juarez, whilst being surrounded by conversations being conveyed in Cantonese!!l 

Downtown he walks the few blocks from the bus stop to his office. Past the old City Hall and court buildings with men and women in suits, business outfits and briefcases. Past the police and LA County sheriffs’ personnel, milling around the law enforcement head offices. Past the LA Times building and on into the old city banking district with its majestic buildings and hotels. At one point these buildings were part of a banking hub that developed during the early years of the city and backed onto Broadway and its myriad of movie theatres. Later it became the “Skid Row” area of the city but the buildings are nearly all now converted, by the process of gentrification, into offices, lofts, bars, restaurants or hipster coffee shops and the Skid Row area has been squeezed in on itself a couple of blocks away.

Amongst these edifices, milling around, sleeping on the pavement or bus benches are the people who inhabit the streets of Skid Row. Over 15,000 people live in the LA Skid Row area, many pushing supermarket trolleys piled high with their personal belongings. If Kevin walks out from his office to grab a coffee he’s aware of men and women sitting and talking to themselves, some silently and quietly, some not so silently and some very animated. Skid row is also an area were some hospital/clinics drop off and leave mentally ill patients on the road. The Police are trying to stop the practice. Check out - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTIAwdn6QNQ&feature=youtu.be
The people on Skid Row live in a state of tension and face many real dangers. Check out this short video of two wonderful institutions on Skid Row: Union Rescue Mission and Officer Deon Joseph - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNIrGqGZLXc#t=309
(The homeless population in LA county is estimated to be as high as 80,000)

The building where Kevin works houses production companies, sound studios, a very funky and artsy book store, called the “Last Book Store” and the New City Church offices. The church has kindly given Oasis some office space that enables them to be based downtown. As Kevin sits in his office and looks out through the window he regularly hears the sirens and sees the police stopping and arresting people. He can get distracted by the buzz of helicopters flying overhead, people from Skid Row yelling at each other, due to bad relationship issues or just greeting friends. Some days he walks over huge power cables and passes parking lots, controlled by private security agents or off duty police officers. They manage lots filled with “star wagon” trailers, generators and TV/Film crew vehicles or lots that have been made into temporary kitchens to feed the plethora of people linked with that particular TV or film shoot. It could be CSI NY, NCIS LA, a new movie or commercial!

During his work day Kevin’s world revolves around the anti-human trafficking community focusing on prevention, support and reintegration. He works to create grassroots action in preventing human trafficking and develops resources and mentors community groups who work together to live out the reality of the love of Jesus and support and empower the vulnerable and/or survivors of human trafficking. Recently Linsey went out on a night ride, with a ministry based in Southern California that Oasis is networking with, to meet the girls who work out on the streets. She met various young girls and the team talked to those whose pimps were not close by. It was a heart rending visit, sometimes seeing the same girl in different places, moved around by their pimp. They call it the “game” but it’s a violent, abusive “game” for the girls and they never win
This world constantly reminds us of the horrendous oppression and violence that people, mostly men, regularly inflict on others. The hope is that it can be stopped and the girls cared for by people, churches and communities working together at a grassroots level.

On the days Kevin picks up Charys from school, he drives from Alhambra or downtown LA, up through some very beautiful and extremely wealthy neighborhoods into Pasadena. At Charys’s school she meshes into a mainly Hispanic and African-American educational community struggling for resources. The teachers are desperately helping their young adults develop in life, knowing that drugs, poverty and other social pitfalls are trying to entrap them.  After picking up Charys he may travel to pick up Linsey at the Fuller community, a spiritually academic environment that is structured and has an element of shalom about it.

On our front lawn at Christmas
In the evenings we enjoy settling back into our Alhambra home, which sits on the edge and is part of, the multiracial Alhambra Homes community. This is a 16-acre site consisting of about 400 people in a wonderful retirement and hospice care community. The oldest person in the community just celebrated her 110th birthday. Kevin & Linsey regularly visit the coffee shop and are always amazed and refreshed by the rich stories, humor and laughter of people who have an enjoyment and love of life, yet also frequently celebrate and mourn deceased friends.

We all live in competing, diverse, overlapping and conflicting worlds. 
We hope and pray that yours helps to give you strength, nourishment, grace and freedom as you do for it.


Monday

MLK day - I REMEMBER….

I have read and heard many words that have supported and highlighted MLK day. These words from many different sources have helped me remember those horrendous actions and atrocities that Dr King and others persevered in hardship and oppression to change.

It made me contemplate and I remember....

I remember so that I can be empowered by the actions of these past heroes to fight the injustices of today, so that I can act to stop the injustices that would occur tomorrow.

I remember and as I remember I pray.
I pray that remembering yesterday, will cause me to take action today, that will stop the injustices of tomorrow.

Although as I contemplate I also remember…..
That today there are mores slaves across the world than ever before in history
That today men, women and children are enslaved through the avarice of greed, labor and sexual exploitation.
That today men, women and children are trapped by the drugs and violence on our urban streets. That today children are brought up in a world were 85 people control 46% of the worlds resources.  

I remember and as I remember I pray.
I pray that the words spoken and written today, in street marches and processions, in churches and on the internet would create a tsunami of action. Action just like those we remember, in the main street and high street of our towns, cities and communities, so that the “Dream” of Dr King would become a deeper reality in our lifetime and that truly “freedom would ring for all”..