Dear Friends, Family, and Facebook-Followers,
This year has been so full of blessings for the Prewitts. Some have been private (and must remain that way) and others have just been under the radar. And others are, by now, very well known.
Letâ€™s start, for example, with the biggest development: We have moved to Malaysia. Yes, that is right. You can still send mail to our address in Arkansas, and that is still technically our home. (Eugeneâ€™s mother, Vivian Wondzell, lives there with her husband Robert.) We will get the mail eventually :)
In January Eugene was informally given a beautiful job offer in a ministry position. That made us think and pray a great deal. And as part of that process of thinking and praying, we contacted Aenon, an organization that had invited us to come as staff several years earlier.
What we learned was exciting. Aenon had built staff housing, class-rooms, and dorm space for a school to train intelligent workers and they needed someone to come and make the school actually start. Short storyâ€¦we accepted that call and moved to Malaysia in September of this year.
Now I am tempted to make this an advertisement for the missionary school that will start here in February in the midst of Paradise (with three species of entertaining resident monkeys vying for the trees around campus). But I wonâ€™t. You can read more about the school (a three-year missionary training program) by emailing me.
Suffice it to say that I have met some of the most incredible youth here. And two of them in particular I will mention: Diam of Cambodia and Sherwin of Iran. Both have blessed me (me=Eugene in most of this letter. I will refer to Heidi now in the third person, though she is the one that gets me to write such letters.)
In January of this year we were at GYC where I was glad to be speaking under the term of my favorite GYC president yet, Ms. Natasha Nebblett,
Soon after we traveled to Brazil to teach at a school there north of Rio de Janero. And one of the highlights of that trip was making the acquaintance of a young lady Mariana that we got to know even better later this year.
On returning we were caring for our fruit-trees, but the reality was beginning to set in that we would leave for our new home in Malaysia before they would enter full production. Similar feelings arose over our green house that was put together this spring. But returning also revealed something unsetteling. Two of our three dogs had been implicated in pestering visitors with ferocious barking, and (on two occasions) with pesky nips/bites. That couldnâ€™t be tolerated, since we lived on a campus there, so God helped us find a good home where Windy and Storm (sister and brother pooches) could stay together.
But we couldnâ€™t be sentimental long! Young Disciple Camp invited us to accompany them on their Mission Experience trip to Culion, an island north of Palawan in the Philippines. To see young people preachingâ€¦.that is a joy. And to help them get started in door-to-door work was fun. And there I made my first Jesuit friend, the ecumenical director of the Jesuit college on that island. (He expressed that he wished to get out of the Jesuits, but couldnâ€™t leave. He wanted to go back to farming.)
This was also the year that I finished two large secret writing projects. The first, amounting to over 550,000 words, has been a several year endeavor and is finally completed.
The second, a smaller project, was started and finished this fall. It amounted to writing about 50,000 and hundreds of multiple choice questions for use in missionary activity around the world. But as those materials will be used to reach persons in closed countries, details about that project canâ€™t be revealed. Nevertheless, I take great satisfaction in being part of a team of about 30 persons who are working covertly to bring the Three Angelâ€™s Messages to persons who have never had a fair chance to hear them before.
Another work done this year has been raising funds for students at the new school here in Malaysia. You and persons like you have given enough to that fund to pay tuition for one year for the first 19 poor students to attend. (14 of those scholarships came from one precious not-wealthy couple.) And by canvassing here in Asia we hope to spread those funds around to cover perhaps 22 or 23 persons. (Yes, more such funds would be helpful. Send Christmas gifts to Asian missionaries care of Ouachita Hills College, PO Box 170, Amity, AR 71921. Be sure to include a note that this is for Aenon in Malaysia.)
This Christmas letter will have no more fundraising in itâ€¦I promise.
In June we headed to Germany to work with Christopher Kramp, Ingo Sorke, Clinton Wahlen, Daniel Pel, and others in a special camp-meeting that amounted to a symposium on the Three Angelâ€™s Messages. For Germany it was revolutionary and came between the 500th anniversaries of Erasmusâ€™ publication of the Greek NT, and of Lutherâ€™s nailing of the Thesis to the church door. The meetings were well attended.
And of fascinating note, my sermon there on the Seal of God and the Mark of the Beastâ€¦was completely lost when the electricity blinked during the sermon before the data had been backed up. So after the meetings, I stayed by to record it again. But while making the second recording, the hard-drive that was receiving the dataâ€¦permanently crashed. Of course, that was no time to give up. So I preached the sermon a third time, and those who were compelled to hear it all three times testified that the re-preaching improved it some. Now it is up on their website.
From there we returned to the US to spend some time with Heidiâ€™s family before joining the Piedmont Youth Camp at Hartland College. Our friend Bob Jorgensen was there with his mother conducting a series of lectures on farming, and we fellowshipped with them often until the last day of his work there. Both he and I were scheduled to speak at another venue a few days later in Chattanooga. But, (sadly from human perspectives), on the last evening there Bob suffered a fatal heat-stroke.
So with more serious thoughts than usual we continued on to the Education Symposium hosted by Robert Montague in Chattanooga. We made a number of new friends there and enjoyed our time thoroughly.
Then, after two days at home, it was off the San Antonio Superdome and the General Conference of 2015. We probably saw you there. J Our Aenon booth was located a few paces behind the last tailbone of the moving Tyrannosaurus Rex that graced Southwesternâ€™s booth space.
In one interesting exchange there, Cindy Tutsch and I both agreed that whatever the vote, we would be done with the womenâ€™s ordination issue. We just have more things to do as a church than to talk about that. (And now I would add, â€˜even more things to do than to talk about the US presidential election too.â€™)
After leaving Texas, we were off to a place with more cheer and less issues â€“ Young Disciple Camp in Inchellium Washington. But if you read my year-end letters, this would amount to the ninth glowing report in a row, so I will spare you a rewrite and refer you to past letters if you canâ€™t come and experience it for yourself.
Now, should I include this next thing? It wasnâ€™t work. It was play. But I guess recreation is a legitimate part of life, so here it goes: Eugene and Heidi used miles to book a trip to Costa Rica in honor of our tenth anniversary (June 19, 2015). And there Eugene spent a lot of time watching birds while hiking up mountains with Heidi. He reached his 700th bird there. (We did make some Adventist friends there also.)
And while we were in a remote part of that nation, Eugene received an urgent message to call home. When he was able to do so he found that his grandmother, Mrs. Gladys Marsh, age 95, had gone to her rest. The family asked me to conduct the funeral, but when I looked at the air-flight schedule, I realized that it wasnâ€™t even possible for me to get there before the funeral if I left on the next available flight. So we stayed in Costa Rica.
I wonâ€™t mention the precious weddings we attended this year, but they were tops. And there were several of them.
After the last of those wedding (Machado-Dragomir) we went to AFCOE in Sacramento to teach again on the Amazing Facts Campus to a precious crop of workers-in-training.
Then after a few days home, it was off to Asiaâ€¦for a while. You see, when we accepted the call to come to this part of the planet, we already had appointments lined up in Europe for October and November. So we came and began working on setting up the school, but left again for Europe after just a few weeks of public speaking here in Malaysia.
Not that those few weeks were other than wonderful. We made the acquaintance with Elder Leong Fai, the Mission President of Peninsular Malaysia. He is taking this mission forward in ways that remind me much of Ted Wilsonâ€™s approach.
And, just as significant from Heidiâ€™s perspective, Benny Waggles was successfully imported to Malaysia, getting through the one-week mandatory quarantine process with no bad marks, except that the vet said he needed to go on a diet. (Heidi has put him on a diet.) And more than this blessing, we found out that our good friends Frankie and Stella, are now our nearest neighbors (our doors are one meter apart). Yeah! They have taken us all around and have done much to help us settle in to our new home.
Christopher Kramp, mentioned earlier as being with us in Germany, was also with us in Malaysia at two of our speaking appointments. (I failed to mention that he and his wife Bea were wonderful hosts for us while we were in Germany). Working with him has been the kind of joy that only true fellowship brings.
Our first stop in England was Peace (the Amazing Facts school that has been taken over there by the North England Conference.) Adam Ramdin and Craig Gooden have collected the most feminine AFCOE class I have ever taught. And one of those young ladies, Destra, intends to be one of our charter students in the new program here in Malaysia in February.
Then we were off to Italy for the first semester of a brand-new training program, Menorah. We spent three weeks there and felt useful and appreciated the entire time. And here were some highlights: First, we met Mariana again (the young lady from Brazil mentioned earlier). Second, we made friends with five other students there. Third, Eugene made his first ever visit to the Mediterranean Sea. Fourth, the young staff of the new school were all ears and seemed ready to benefit from the Prewitts experience in pioneering schools. (It is always gratifying when the mistakes of your past seem like they might save someone from repeating a similar mistake again!) Zoran and Claudio, administrators there, are precious friends and coworkers.
By the time we returned to Malaysia Heidi and I had lost most of the Chinese that we had picked up during our first weeks in Aenon.
And I can sense an overwhelming temptation to switch back into recruiting or fund-raising mode. But, no. I wonâ€™t do it.
For Thanksgiving we were delighted to host two of our favorite persons, David and Melissa Young (David is Heidiâ€™s brother). They were missionaries in 2015 in Indonesia, but are transitioning to the Middle East this month.
Eugene, realizing that we live in times that try menâ€™s souls, has been taking a more serious look at the extent to which he has failed to comply with the counsels he knows have been given to the church. While we did well avoiding quite a number of proscribed ingredients, he wasnâ€™t doing so well on some other accounts (eating too great a variety, eating too late, for examples). In a simple plan to eat and drink to Godâ€™s glory, he decided to come higher on these points and, a few days ago, composed a very terse poem related to it:
Woe to we
And if you see
What do you
Think that all
Of our fall
When we treat
The health laws
As a paw
Laws of life?
Woe to... Well, us
Well, I hope that makes you think.
The year is coming to a close. We have much to look forward to (for example, Mom and Robert are coming to visit us in Asia! And, my brother Michael and his wife Sarah will have their second child! And, the school in Malaysia will start! And, by this time next year, there will be no more election speeches!)
We hope that each of you will avoid the woes and live in ways that make angelâ€™s lives more pleasant,
PS....there is no PS.