Our family faces a great missional opportunity for next year. The challenges that this brings caused us to see that God has gone ahead of us and placed us in a community of people who can strengthen support, and SEND us. We have been invited to join the team of OM staff who serve together to host a four month school of missions for artist, dancers and musicians, called Incarnate.

“Mission is ultimately not a human response to human need.
The Church’s involvement in mission is its privileged participation
in the actions of the triune God….”  

Incarnate is a carefully honed program designed by artists for artists who are passionate about living out the Great Commission well. The experience is intensive, holistic discipleship for artists — in community with other accomplished artists gathered from around the world. The aim of the programme is to prepare the participants as a whole person and help them apply their artistic skill and gifts in a missional and cross cultural context.

The core program consists of three courses:

  • God’s Story – An examination of God’s character expressed through His creativity and the person of Jesus;

  • Your Story – Following “The Hero’s Journey”, an exploration of the artist’s identity and maturing in Christ;

  • 10,000 Stories – Through applying practical tools, a meditation in seeing culture and individuals clearly and loving them well through our art.

Running simultaneously through 10 weeks of the program, the courses are integrated through shared common themes.  Weekly lecture is part of each course, but things are kept interesting through ample group discussions, activities and novel learning environments.  Assignments are varied, thoughtful and creative. Classes are taught by OM Arts staff as well by hand-selected visiting artists with real-world experience.

This will take place at the Isola Evangelical Center, Italy from January – April 2016. As a family, we desire to make ourselves available to the students, and to help create a community of service and love.  Kids do this so well, and I remember from my years on the ship, how much a family can add to a sense of well-being. It can be inspiring to talk about community.  It is quite another thing to live it out.  But there is no substitute for community when it comes to pursuing personal growth and in reaching out in God's love.  So we will be intentionally pursuing  living in healthy, Christ-centered community every single day for 3 months.

The Isola Evangelical Center - about 2 hours drive east of Rome, Italy.

What Will We Be Doing?
Nigel and I will also be leading small discipleship groups that meet two or three times a week, as well as participating in part of the teaching.  Ben will be doing all the sound/AV and room set-up for the teaching sessions as well as the outreaches and final production.  Ellie will be dancing with the dancers and hopefully participating in the school life as a student. There will also be the myriad of airport runs and other logistics that require a willing pair of hands – or several pairs.

The following quote by Tim Dearborn sums up our heart and passion and that of Incarnate:

 “Lack of interest in mission is not fundamentally caused by an absence of compassion or commitment, nor by lack of information or exhortation. And lack of interest in mission is not remedied by more shocking statistics, more gruesome stories or more emotionally manipulative commands to obedience. It is best remedied by intensifying peoples’ passion for Christ, so that the passions of his heart become the passions that propel our hearts.”

We were asked to consider this in 2014 (the school is only held every other year), but timing did not seem right.  This time round, we all have a sense that this is where God is leading our family for this season.

When Incarnate ends, we hope to visit our families and friends in the UK before returning to the USA and “life as normal” – whatever that means.  Our hearts will not leave.

We Need Your Help!
There are many logistics to be worked out as we look to Incarnate.  We would very much appreciate your prayers for us as we prepare.  There will be teaching materials to read and learn and cover, as well as lesson plans to prepare.  Practically we will need to think about what we will do with our house here, as well making travel and accommodation plans. We already have a vehicle for the time we are in Europe.

There is also the rather large cost to consider. Apart from the airfare, there is the housing cost for the time we are in Italy.  If we just look at this as one large sum to raise, it can be daunting to say the least. Instead, we are asking you to consider supporting our family for the next 12 months.  Our hope is that that money will accrue enabling us to purchase air-fares for the family.  During the months of the school and our furlough, the money will help to cover all the costs we have as we are living overseas.

Would you prayerfully consider being one of our financial supporters for the next 12 months?  We completely recognize that this is a team effort.  We love the idea that we are part of something bigger than we are with a group of people who are together in it with us.

Please pray for us, as we prepare for this season in our service with OM, that we would honour God through everything we face, and be effective servants for His Kingdom.

Thank You!
Nigel, Joanne, Ben, Ellan, Joshua, Rebekah & Lydia.

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