Jason's Prayer and News Letter Autumn 2001
None of us were quite brought to tears, but we easily could have been. As we placed the finished manuscript of Operation World into the hands of the UPS man an immense weight was lifted from our shoulders. The work was not yet entirely finished, but the pressure was off! YEARS of painstaking work had finally come to fruition, and now it was time to clean up the mess and celebrate a little!
That was, in fact, almost 4 months ago. Much has occurred since then, but I will start from that point. The 6 months up until the end of June of 2001 were a frenetic time, populated by many late-nighters and all-nighters in the final push to get the book finished on schedule. The fact that we had almost no problems with our computer systems or our health during this period is a testament to the fact that many people were praying for us. With God’s bountiful grace and hard work, we managed it, with hours to spare!
At this stage we passed the baton to the printers and publishers, who laboured over the summer weeks to produce the 300,000 copies of this first print run (as I write I have just finished some minor corrections in preparation for a second print run).
If you want a more detailed desciption, of some of the implications and future-thinking regarding Operation World, see Patrick's prayer letter on this website. I felt no need to rewrite his thoughts when they are stated so capably.
Obviously, Operation World has many statistics therein. We reckon that there are about 1.3 million separate statistics on the CD-ROM version. But here are a few that didn’t make it into the book (some are clearly informed estimates):
our home and native land
Early in July I left England for Canada, to embark on a cross-country trip that was to accomplish several different goals. I was able to take some extended time off, since it would be 7 weeks before the printing of the books was complete. First, I attended the WEC Canada Annual Conference in Hamilton for a week - a timely opportunity as WEC Canada was inducting a new Sending Base Leader as well as new Candidates Directors. This enabled me to get to know them personally and enjoy fellowship with a lot of fellow Canadian WEC missionaries.
Then I spent a couple of weeks in Winnipeg with my parents. I had the chance to share at Trinity Baptist (home church), and spend lots of "q.t." with family and friends. This fortnight was a wonderful chance to renew relationships and decompress after a sustained period of pressure. It was also a great opportunity to get in a few rounds of golf and bring my annual Slurpee quota into something resembling a Canadian's normal intake.
a good soak
The next destination on my travels was Vancouver where I stayed with my sister and brother-in-law. We were joined by some friends for the August long weekend, wherein we journeyed to Vancouver Island for four days of hiking along the coast on the Juan de Fuca Marine trail. While the exercise was great for the body and the beautiful natural environment was good for the soul, the amount of rain was not much good for anything. We did enjoy about a day and half of good weather, but the final 25 km of the trail was submerged in mud. Regan sunk up to her hip at one point and the group and all our possessions were thoroughly soaked. Nevertheless, we will remember that time fondly now that the trauma is over. It does grate on me that we didn't finish the whole trail, though. I will have to return one day…
a measure of revenge
Despite the bad weather on the Island, I managed through the course of the next two weeks to trek over 120 km without any further rain. This consisted of some time in the Coastal Range near Vancouver and Whistler, and then a road trip with a friend through B.C. to Lake Louise and Banff. We joined up with my cousin Twyla in Calgary and went for a few days more in the Rockies. The end of our journey consisted of the most exciting time, as we were evacuated from our backcountry location by helicopter due to encroaching forest fires, and then that same evening we watched a grizzly bear feeding (from the safety of the car!). I flew back to London from Calgary after 6 weeks in Canada.
Many people have asked "What now?", myself included. Well, let me assure you, there is not a lot or laurel-resting going on! Here are a few things that ensure a continued busy schedule:
But there are three major projects which I am working on for which I would appreciate your prayers.
the travel bug still bites
Now that the book is actually done, my travel itinerary is going a bit crazy. I don’t have the space to detail every trip, but let it be said that my new role appears to include attending a lot of conferences/meetings and doing a lot of public speaking. For example, just take the first day of each month and my location:
Of course, these travels are not all fun and games (in fact, there are almost no games, and the fun is generally restricted to a work-related context).
But a few interesting memories from the last months come to mind:
looking further forward
I will not be here in my office forever. In fact, in only a few months, I am planning to move on to other things. Just what those other things entail has yet to be completely determined (top secret), but it will probably involve a lot more public and people-oriented ministry.
This will also mean more of a medium term hiatus from Operation World, which will demand my attention again in a couple of years’ time. I promise to keep you all posted as things develop. You may or may not be aware that the 2001 edition is to be Patrick's last. This means that it falls to me to be a central figure in the team which will compile the next edition, should the Lord tarry. George Verwer told me that I might well be the person with the greatest reason to hope for a prompt return of Jesus! In any case, there are some excellent people with strong backgrounds in research and writing who have indicated an interest in being part of the team for the next edition. That is encouraging news!
Finally, may I just gratefully express continued appreciation for your prayers and interest in my ministry and general well-being. It was very much your intercession that made the way smooth for us in these past months.
In Christ and for the Harvest,
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