Designation: UK Office Team
Sending Church: Holtwood Methodist Church, Dorset
Departure Date: January 2021
Brian & Laureen, with Ruth
and Anwen Powell
According to an African proverb, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. Children don’t just become mature adults able to function effectively in the world with only the input of one or two people, instead they need many different sources of information, encouragement, support, advice.
In the same way, in order to get the good news of Jesus to the people who need to hear it, there have to be many people involved to get workers trained, and located and effective where they
For the past five years we have had the privilege of working in one such role, leading the international orientation courses in Singapore. All new workers with OMF, no matter which country they come from and which country they are going to, spend a month at the international centre getting to know the leaders and learning how the organisation works. They learn skills of relating inter-culturally as they interact with the many different cultures of their fellow participants and with the community in Singapore. It is also a time of respite after all the busyness of packing up a home and saying goodbye to friends and family before diving in to the intense situation of learning to thrive in a new culture and environment.
In the time we have been in Singapore, we have had new workers from all continents of the world (excluding Antarctica). We’ve even had a couple of courses with participants from all inhabited continents together in one course. It has been wonderful to hear of the varied ways in which they have grown up and then been called to serve East Asia’s peoples, and to feel their enthusiasm and passion. It has also been wonderful to see the diversity of people who are joining. We have had participants as young as 23 years old, with others as old as 66. We have had people with several degrees, and even with more than one PhD, while others have left school before graduating from secondary school. Some have come from Christian families, while others have had rough backgrounds in non-Christian families. One participant even became a Christian while in prison for drug offences. Another gave up the chance to be an Olympic swimmer for her country, while others left high-paying jobs. It has been such a privilege to see how God has unified such a mixed group of people with a common purpose.
We have now returned to the UK so that our two daughters, Ruth and Anwen can study for their GCSEs and then A-levels. At the same time, we are excited to be able to continue working with OMF in the UK. We will be involved in different roles but still with the same purpose of equipping workers to be effective in their part of reaching East Asians with the good news of Jesus in all its fullness. I, Brian, will be working in the candidate department, assisting applicants in the process of discerning if OMF is the right organisation for them, and where God might be calling them to work. Meanwhile, Laureen will be working in the member care department, helping workers returning from cross-cultural service and ensuring they are well-prepared for their next roles, whether that be back
in the same country, in a different country, or here
in the UK.
Please do pray for us to settle quickly in the UK. I have spent half of my life in Asia, while Laureen and the girls have spent much more than half of their lives there. May we adjust well so that we might be a blessing to many.
Brian is from the UK. He joined OMF in 1993 and worked in the Philippines among the Manobo people – one of the minority groups – translating portions of Scripture and teaching. Laureen is from the Philippines and also worked among the Manobo. Brian & Laureen married in 2002 and Laureen joined OMF in 2003.