First, I'm surprised that anyone is still here. I wouldn't blame anyone for abandoning this site. After all, I abandoned it first. :-) Anyway, I hope this is a sign that posts will be here more regularly.
I'm honored that (soon to be Dr.) Danny Frese is interested enough to ask for some details of my PhD work. So, Danny, here goes:
My program is a PhD in Missiology - Science of Religion at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. UP has a large residential research doctoral program in a host of fields, theology being one of them. I've read that it is actually the largest research PhD center in Africa, which may or may not be saying much. UP's program is built on the British research-only model and has a number of respectable institutional partnerships with European Universities. And I understand the School of Theology is working on some type of institutional partnership with a US institution, but I don't have any more details, like which institution.
They have given me an exemption from being in Pretoria on a regular basis since my research is specific to where I have been living. (For those that aren't aware, we are mostly in the States for the next year visiting our supporting churches. I'm currently scheduled to be in Israel at least 2 times for research during this year.) I did have to agree to be present in Pretoria any time my adviser says I need to be there.
[Note: UP should not be confused with UNISA, the University of South Africa. They are not the same in many respects.]
In general, I can say that my research deals with conversion to faith in Jesus - the process, barriers, and social ramifications. Rather than reading the "how to" books by the experts, I'm interviewing those who have actually come to faith, asking them about their experience. I'm finding their stories are quite different than the experts seem to suggest. (I'm being purposely evasive here, but will send my proposal by email if anyone I know asks.)
In the end, I'm hopeful that my research will be a helpful knowledge base of what is actually happening in this region.