August 2022

Dear Friends,

Joys and sorrows
We are very grateful for your continued prayers for us. The last few months have been a time of great joys and significant sorrows. Read on to find out more.

Joys
It was a delight to come over to England in June for Jonathan and Lizzie’s wedding re-celebration. You’ll remember that we (and many other family and friends) missed their wedding in 2020 because of COVID. This time, even the weather was kind to us. Lizzie and Jono did an amazing job at pulling together a wonderful day – church service, afternoon tea, evening reception. It was such a joy to be surrounded by family and friends, many of whom we had not seen for three years.

While we were in England, we had the privilege of visiting St Mary’s Basingstoke, our home church, which has been faithfully praying for us for at least 25 years. We were encouraged to meet up with the leadership team from Crosslinks. It was a joy to see family again, only six months on from our visit in December.

We returned to Australia refreshed and encouraged. We have begun a new semester with a small group of trainees. They expect to serve in mission in Cambodia, Vanuatu and the Middle East. The first few weeks have been interrupted by COVID – those who test positive have to isolate at home for seven days in Australia – with one of our colleagues missing the start of term. But we’ve made a good start.

Sorrows
Many of you have been praying for Lauren and Isabel Dale, who have served with us at St Andrew’s Hall since we started here in 2007. Isabel was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in 2016. Sadly she died at home on 3 August. We grieve for her and mourn with Lauren and his children, Tarek and Miriam.

Isabel was a remarkable scholar, who helped pioneer missiological thinking around women in Islam. Nearly all the textbooks about Islamics have been written by men. However, because Islam is often very gendered, men only see half of the Islamic world. Isabel and a number of her friends and colleagues expanded missiological engagement into the other 50% of the Muslim world. Isabel completed two PhDs focused on Muslim women in two different Arab contexts. She published two books and a number of articles in academic journals. She helped to set up a network of Christian scholars exploring the female Muslim world called ‘When Women Speak…’ Through all of this, she taught and mentored hundreds of trainees at St Andrew’s Hall, with a particular impact on the women who went on to work in the Muslim world. We thank God for her life and ministry.

Travelling again
I was able to travel to Sydney in May to speak at a biennial mission conference at Sydney Missionary and Bible College. Rachel went down with COVID the week before, but I somehow managed to dodge it and was still able to attend. A conference I was due to speak at in July in Perth switched to online.

In late September, Rachel and I are due to travel to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Windhoek in Namibia, to visit CMS gospel workers there. When we get back, I’ll have a quick turnaround in order to speak at a conference in Adelaide on 1 October. We would appreciate your prayers for all these plans and commitments – I guess we’ve all learned to hold things lightly. Some of my CMS colleagues have faced significant disruption in travel, including catching COVID in exotic locations. As ever, we are so grateful for your prayers for us.

With our love and best wishes,

David and Rachel

Thank God for

  • Our time in the UK and for Jonathan and Lizzie’s wedding re-celebration
  • For Isabel’s life and ministry

Please pray

  • For Lauren, Tarek and Miriam as they mourn for Isabel
  • For our trip to South Africa and Namibia in September, that we would be able to encourage the mission partners we are visiting and for straightforward travel throughout the trip.

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