We have only 9 days left in Lexington, Virginia, and 26 left in America. Time is flying by. God has answered many prayers: we have Ethan's passport, we've been given patience and peace, and we've been blessed with many friends who are serving us meals or watching our children. We still need housing and funding -- keep praying!
The reason we're moving to Oxford is for Steve to continue his schooling in Islamic studies. He hopes to eventually teach about Islam at a Christian college/seminary, enabling Christians to interact in a more effective way with Muslims whether here or abroad. He does already have a Master's in this area, but will begin a second Master's program that now focuses on learning Arabic and classical Islam. This will be critical for future studies, and extra-helpful if we stay on at Oxford for a PhD.
Many American friends assume this is paid for, as it is not unusual to have one's graduate studies in the U.S. paid for or greatly subsidized by the school, particularly when one teaches while studying. This is not an option in England, however. Not only are we not being helped in any way, but we have to pay much higher fees because of being foreign students. This first year is completely self-funded, as subsequent years will be unless we receive help. We have applications out for scholarships and are hoping for contacts with private donors.
Nonetheless, we feel strongly that this direction is where God has gifted Steve and where he is leading both of us. We feel good about stepping out in faith, and acknowledge that we will succeed only by God's grace and provision.
Some have asked about me and the kids. I very much hope to continue homeschooling even in England, but am open to other options. In just one more day, I am being interviewed by phone for a half-time job with Viva Network, an organization that connects and educates world-wide ministries to children-at-risk. If I get the job, it would be a huge help toward our living expenses, but Steve and I would need to share the kids, and they might even go to "big school." We will see...
Please keep praying!