February 2020

Wherever you are around the world we hope that you are all keeping well at this time of concern over the Coronavirus.

Here in Singapore the government has recently changed the level of alert to orange, just one below red. This meant that last Sunday we had to register every person attending worship by taking their contact details together with a declaration of their recent travel and also take their temperature. This was no mean feat given the many thousands who come! We trust the Lord during this time and are taking common sense precautions.

This will be our last prayer letter before we finish ministry in Singapore and bring to an end our adventures in South East Asia. And what an adventure it has been! It all began when we came out to Christ Church Bangkok for the month of April in 2005, to give cover for the then vicar so he could take leave after the intense ministry following the Tsunami. Little did we realise then that we would leave our hearts in Thailand. Soon after that a call came from Christ Church to ‘come and help’, and thus started a journey of over a year discerning what this would mean and going through the process of becoming mission partners with Crosslinks. Originally we thought it would be for a term of three years but it has ended up 14 years, with over eight of those in Thailand, a short interim post in Al Ain UAE, then nearly five years in Singapore at St Andrew's Cathedral.

We are so grateful to the Lord for the opportunity to serve in churches where we have met a wonderful diversity of people from a multitude of nations with such a rich variety of backgrounds. What a joy it has been to be involved in so many ministries such as:

  • The ministry to the Karen refugees in the camps and villages on the Thai Burmese border, witnessing their faith and courage, and their commitment to educating their children.
  • Leading memorial services at Kanchaburi War Cemetery, the bridge over River Kwai and Hell Fire Pass, and to hear first-hand stories of veterans from the death camps on the infamous Thai-Burma railway.
  • Experiencing extraordinary 'kingdom moments', for example when invited into places like prisons and detention centres.
  • The privilege of coming alongside missionaries who live out the life of Christ in the most testing of circumstances.
  • Hosting mission teams enabling them to serve others and encouraging some to discover their vocations.
  • Bringing God's word to God's world in a multitude of situations and places, teaching the Bible, making and nurturing many new disciples and mentoring some great leaders.

Now though it is time to begin a new chapter and, we trust, a new adventure.

There is still a lot to do to as we draw things to a close. In terms of ministry Peter will be teaching the book of Ezekiel for the Diocesan Certificate of Biblical Studies and there are closing sermons to prepare for multiple services. There are goodbye events to attend and the practical things of wrapping up of home!

What of the future? From April to July we will take a sabbatical/furlough. First in Perth, Australia then in the UK, with the main aim of connecting well with children and grandchildren. When back in the UK we will need to find a new home and transition back to a culture that we have lived away from for a long time. We are looking forward to it but we do not underestimate the challenges there will be. Many things have changed and so have we!

As for future ministry we are confident the Lord will continue to lead us and to open the doors as we listen to the call ‘come and help’. What that will look like we will wait and see! We are not yet able to fully retire as we await our pensionable age, so will need to self-support for a few years.

Finally, we wish to express our heartfelt thanks to all our family and friends and partners in ministry, for your support and encouragement. We are truly grateful. We will keep you updated.

Prayer pointers

  • Energy - physical, spiritual and emotional - for this closing time.
  • The finding of and setting up of a new home in the UK.
  • Ministry opportunities, short and longer term.
  • Provision to meet our needs for living and ministry in this next chapter.

With all our love and best wishes,

Peter and Ineke

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