From Peter & Taryn, To our friends and family scattered across the globe, Grace, mercy and love,
It’s been a little while since our last update. In that time my year of working with the church has officially come to an end. That doesn’t mean we’ve stopped doing anything, though it does mean we’re no longer receiving any income. But God has called us here, and we trust Him to provide.
What next? We’re hoping to do a YWAM Discipleship Training School in Harpenden, starting on the 24 th September and going through until the end of February. For those of you who don’t know, YWAM (pronounced Why-Wham, the acronym stands for Youth With A Mission) was started in 1956 by Loren Cunningham, who had a vision of a wave of young people going as missionaries to the ends of the earth. Fifty-five years later, YWAM is no longer just for youth but has “over 16,049 full-time volunteer workers in nearly 1,100 operating locations in 171 nations” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Youth_With_A_Mission ). It is also the mission that Taryn’s parents used to be involved with, so when we went to visit the Harpenden Base we were pleasantly surprised to find that the first person we met was able to greet Taryn by name!
The Discipleship Training School is a five month, hands-on Christian training program with a 12 week lecture phase followed by an 8 week outreach phase. The program teaches you how to build an intimate relationship with God, develop personal character, and lead a lifestyle of expressing God’s love to others. We feel that for both of us at the moment it is important to take time to step back for a season from ministry in Cambridge so as to lay a strong foundation for a lifetime of fruitful service. We then hope to return to continue ‘praying and proclaiming the promises of God // till Cambridge is filled with night-and-day prayer // overflowing in mission to the ends of the earth”. And once that task is achieved (!) we might be ready for the challenge of doing mission in India. The DTS costs about £7000 (to be precise, £3100 plus flights and visa fees for each of us), so Please pray that God would supply us with all that we need according to His heavenly riches. Please pray that the application process would be successful. Pray that doing this School would equip us well for whatever God has planned for us to do.
In the meantime, over the last few weeks… We have had some much-welcomed opportunities to get to know the young people at our church better. To begin with, the two of us were invited to speak at their Friday night meeting – well, I ended up speaking and Taryn sang two of her songs (Thought Train and Face to Face). After successfully passing this first phase of initiation into the world of working with the CPC youth-group, we were then asked to join them for the annual weekend away to the Free Presbyterian Church in Oulton Broad. On a drizzly weekend, it was an answer to prayer that the weather allowed us to spend the morning at the beach, before joining in the evening with their church’s teenagers. Here we also got to hear the story of East Anglia’s 1921 ‘Forgotten Revival’ (if you’ve not heard of it, then: now’s your chance!).
In particular, this was the start of what has become a long-running chess battle with Nativ Kovalenko, a chess-mad Israeli teenager, who is hoping to be baptized soon. We have also been able to start reading the book of Acts together. Taryn has also been helping each week with Adventurers (the group for primary-school kids), helping Naomi (she’s the one playing violin on some of Taryn’s recordings) and the other leaders. Please pray for Sean & Natasha and Greg & Imogen, who lead the youth group; and for Naomi and the other helpers who lead Adventurers. Pray for Nativ, that he would be filled with the Spirit and come to maturity in the faith. Pray for another youth awakening that would spark revival throughout East Anglia and beyond. I might have finished my year of being employed to share the gospel , but that has not changed the need of people to hear the gospel – nor has it particularly affected the number of opportunities that I have had to share.
In the course of joining the youth group’s trip to Oulton Broad I was also as ked, much to my delight, to preach at their Sunday morning service. I was able to encourage them from Romans 1:16 to be “unashamed of the gospel”. (I think the recording will be available at some point online, for the moment those who want to hear my preaching will have to make do with this reflection on Ephesians 6 and spiritual warfare).
We’ve also been able to continue doing evangelism in various ways: street-preaching with the Open Air Mission; demonstrating the love of God by handing out bottles of water to thirsty clubbers; inviting people to talk about spiritual matters with the 4 Men And A Sofa.
Taryn has also been befriending internationals at Harry’s café for foreign language students. We ‘4 Men’ were particularly encouraged last Wednesday: we had prayed specifically that rather than giving us many opportunities, God would guide us to individual lost sheep who we could bring to the Good Shepherd. And that is exactly what happened! While myself and Jason spent the afternoon wandering around a little frustrated that we weren’t able to have many significant conversations at all, Joey and Andy spent the whole time sat on the famous Sofa talking to a Hungarian lad newly-arrived in Cambridge. After more than an hour of talking through various questions he had, he prayed a prayer of commitment to Jesus and agreed to start going to Joey’s church. Praise God – He does hear our prayers and use our evangelistic efforts! Pray that in everything we do we would be unashamed of the gospel.
What has been happening this year in terms of prayer in Cambridge has been very encouraging. As well as the weeks of 24:7 Prayer that have happened each term, ten different churches across Cambridge were persuaded to each take a day so as to fill the ten days running up to Pentecost with ceaseless prayer. I had seen that the people who sound the trumpet for the Global Day of Prayer (http://www.globaldayofprayer.com ) were also encouraging people to pray without ceasing for ten days in the run-up to Pentecost – just as in Acts, after Jesus commands his disciples to wait for the power of the Spirit, they “pray continually in one accord” (1:14) for ten days before the Spirit comes, with “a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind”. So I sent out an email inviting churches to take a day, and then waited, wondering how we would get enough involvement at such short notice. But, thanks be to God, replies came and churches committed themselves to come together in prayer! These included Anglicans, Baptists, Charismatics, Pentecostals, Presbyterians – joining together in humility before God.
Barry Woodman, who is involved with interchurch network HOPE and has lived in Cambridge for about 60 years, says that he has never before seen such a degree of Christian unity in the city. I am very zealous for what has begun to continue, so was very relieved that in the persons of David Clarke, Doug Gibson and Amanda Bell, God answered my prayer for some students to commit to keep running a termly week of 24-7 Prayer. A few of us from Cambridge were able to go down to Oxford last Friday for the 24-7 Network Day, which was a great chance to meet face-to-face with some of the people passionately praying for the kingdom to come in other parts of the country. Praise God that people are humbling themselves in prayer and seeking his face – and pray that He would respond by hearing our prayers and healing our land (2 Chron. 7:14) Please pray for David, Doug, and Amanda, as they coordinate 24:7 prayer weeks, and for a productive relationship with Andy Henman, who will be working with them in his new role as HOPE Cambridge Prayer Coordinator.
While I was away to Oxford, Taryn was busy recording more music . The ‘Young and Free’ EP will be released on the 31 July to celebrate a year since our wedding. In the meantime you can whet your appetite by reading the press release here. And when it comes out, you’ll be able to download it absolutely free. If that seems outrageously generous, then you can read Taryn’s reflections on the matter on her blog (which by the way is dutifully updated each week) here: http://blog.tarynleiaprescott.com/2011/06/why-give-music-away.html . And if you like the songs, please feel free to share widely – we want the music to bless as many people as possible!
Love, Peter & Taryn