Sunday, 22 April 2012

a picture is worth several words at least

What's been happening?

Here I am, graduating from Moore Theological College, with a Diploma of Bible and Youth Ministry.

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Kim was the fourth year 'big sister' who organised my little prayer quartet at college. I knew her from AFES days, and now that she's graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity, she's gone back to AFES to work at UNSW, sharing the gospel with students. She is a wonderful woman and I was blessed to share my life and prayer with her and the other girls in our group, Jacquie and Grace.

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Doug was a student minister at Wild Street and graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity too. He's one of those brilliantly smart dudes, but who also has an interesting sense of humour and a tireless servant heart. I was inspired by the way he and his wife, Jayme, taught the senior youth group kids last year.

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My mum and my godmother, Freda. These women are two of the brightest Christian lights in my life, who have always prayed for me and loved me and longed for me to have an ever deeper relationship with Jesus. I love them.

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The Hive Mind! Guan is still at college for this year, and Karen did the Diploma of Bible and Ministry a few years ago. They are my creative cheersquad, ever supportive and inspiring.

Here I am, with pink hair and cat ears, at Supanova Melbourne.

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This look got a very positive reaction from my Facebook friends! Karen and I were in Melbourne at Supanova, a pop culture convention showcasing just about every nerdy thing anyone could be interested in - comics, anime, cult TV shows, sci-fi/fantasy/comic book movies, sci-fi/fantasy/horror fiction writing, costumes...oh it was great. Karen has written about our weekend in fine detail here, but as a brief summary, we gave out about 1200 promotional postcards directing people to the Kinds of Blue website, and we sold (or gave to Key People We Like) 28 of the 30 books we had taken with us. We were blown away by the sales - we had really not expected to sell that many. In fact, the people on the table next to us selling a horror novel were quite envious as they hadn't sold many at all. I was really pleased by the reaction of most people, that it was a valuable book to be in existence, and that it was really well produced.

I'm really looking forward to Supanova Sydney in June, when we'll do it all again!

Here I am, with pink hair and no cat ears, at WildKids.

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Straight after getting back from the huge Supanova weekend, I went into helping out with the WildKids holiday program, which this year had the theme 'Wild about science'. We explored God's world through science, and explored what he had to say from the Bible about living in his world. Each day we would do experiments, which then had a link into illustrating our situation with God. The kids really loved it. We had over 75 kids each day, and an impressive team of volunteers from Wild Street who took the week off work (or part of the week) to come and help out. I'm praying that many of the kids will have understood the gospel message, and that, through God's grace, the seeds we have sown will one day bear fruit!

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The kids were really taken with this one. When we did revision each day, and asked them what we had done, most kids got the key point, "we messed up the world", but there was usually at least one who yelled, "we put SLIME on it!!!!"

It's been a busy time, but one that has been full of blessings!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

our house

Well hey, it's the middle of the night and I can't sleep. Not even drowsy. Wide wiiiiide wide awake.

So why not write?

We've been in our little South Hurstville house for about a month. Man, that went fast! There is still a pile of mouldering cardboard boxes outside that the removalists promised to pick up and never did. But aside from that, the boxes are unpacked, pictures are hung and most things have a place.

It's a marvellous house, really, and it immediately felt like home. The first couple of nights I was a bit frustrated by the road noise when trying to sleep, but now I hardly notice it (I had little choice but to get used to it once I investigated the cost of double glazing the windows!). Right now, it's completely silent, which is nice.

Mum graciously gave me the larger room, because I had so much STUFF, despite weeks of culling before we moved. The wardrobe I was going to use broke in the move, so after a mad dash to IKEA with Lachy I got a brand new one and put it together with help from Amelia. I haven't quite worked out the best way of storing all the craft and Tupperware stuff but it does fit. Mum has reached frustration point with her bedroom so I think another trip to IKEA is on the cards in the near future.

The garden is going to be a constant source of joy and toil, I think. The back third of the yard is a total rainforest, save for the little path winding its way through the spider webs and ferns. The previous owners had owned three houses in a row and landscaped the backyard as one big yard, so the vision has been somewhat truncated by needing to divide the yard back into three separate blocks. Even so, I love our little wilderness. I've done a few hours each week and it's starting to look useable again. I even have a garden elf (aka Virginia) helping me on occasion - in fact she did a masterful job of clearing a very enthusiastic jasmine plant on our first day in. When I get another burst of energy, I'm going to start growing vegies again, as I have missed the excitement of watching things grow (and then eating them...mwa ha ha).

True, it isn't perfect, and we're still getting used to the area. There is a bit of an ant problem (I discovered a comprehensive ant nest inside a curtain rail this morning, which was most unpleasant). Most of the windows don't open thanks to a careless painter. But they are really very small things. We're living in our own house! It's marvellous!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

To live

L, a girl from my church, and I have started meeting up once a week (unless she has exams) to read the Bible. We meet at a cafe in Eastgardens, read a passage, chew over the big ideas and any questions we might have, and try and work out how to apply it in our lives (otherwise known as the Swedish method of Bible study). Then we pray about what we've discussed and any other things each of us wants prayer for.

The first thing I want to note about it is how wonderful it is that we can meet in a crowded shopping mall and do this. We can sit in public and read the Bible (on our phones) and pray aloud, and we barely even get noticed, let alone harrassed. I am so grateful that we live in a place where we can take our religious freedom for granted, compared to other places in the world.

The second thing is I am amazed at the change in me and proud of the young woman L is becoming. When I was her age, I would barely read the Bible (even though I was going to church every week), and would have been mortified to do something like pray in public. I'm grateful for the excellent Bible teaching and pastoring that people of L's age in our particular Christian circles have had. It's certainly much more robust than anything I had when I was a teenager.

And third I am so, so grateful for the living word of God. We are reading Philippians, which is probably my favourite book of the Bible. And already it has shown so much to us about living upright, godly and unafraid lives for Christ. Today we read the end of chapter one, where Paul says "for me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." It reminded us that while we are on this earth, even if life seems pointless or frustrating or hard, it is because God still has "fruitful labor" for us to do.

We also talked about heaven, and what a great party it's going to be, and why would you choose not to go there? And no matter what suffering we face here, it'll be nothing compared to how awesome heaven will be (or how awful hell will be - but thank God we don't have to go there!). We like talking about heaven. I mean that's the whole point, isn't it? To strive and work and persevere so we can get to heaven and be with Jesus. Why wouldn't we like talking about it?!