Tom Avery is smiling because Roce is smiling. Of course, Roce always seems to be smiling. And I can’t imagine Tom not smiling, since he’s living a life of eternal creativity with Jesus in Heaven. But Roce and Tom are linked in a unique part of God’s mission on Earth that makes them happy.
Tom influenced the birth of the ethnoarts movement in profound ways. Gifted, gregarious, and huge-hearted, he set a tone of love, joy, humility, and dependence on God that continues to flourish. Tom’s death in 2008 opened a door to fulfilling the dream that aroused some of his strongest passions: seeing gifted, motivated people from everywhere encouraging kingdom creativity no matter their material wealth or passport country. His family and friends started a fund to help gifted leaders benefit from ethnoarts training that helps them grow in skills, wisdom, and influence.
In 2010, Roce, a Filipina, became one of the fund’s first recipients, allowing her to attend an ethnoarts and multilingual education course at Payap University in Thailand. Here’s how she closed her letter of gratitude:
“I pray the Lord may use me to bless the people in places He may send me. May our God continue to bless you and your work for Him that more lives be touched and changed. May His Kingdom be extended and His name be glorified through you and your ministry.”
Roce now leads ethnoarts initiatives in Wycliffe Philippines and SIL Philippines, and teaches at Payap on occasion. God has indeed blessed people in many many places through Roce, and the Avery fund played a crucial role in her formation.
It’s impossible to paint the direction of missions today with a single brush stroke. Or even two or three or four or a dozen strokes. Missionaries traveling from the “West to the Rest” exist. But so do those from South to North, North to North, East to West, Outer to Inner, poorer to richer, and so on and so on.
The Avery Fund is poised to inject the insights and energy of ethnoarts into this beautiful mess, for His kingdom. We have a wise, experienced committee to evaluate applications and guide recipients. But we’ve been limping along financially and need many generous gifts and long-term partners.
To learn how to invest in people like Roce, or find out about applying for an Avery Ethnoarts scholarship, click here.