One Thursday evening we visited some of the local protestant churches in the area. At each stop we ate some food and heard about the different ministries of each church, such as english languages classes, a cricket league, university housing. It was really encouraging to hear each of the heart of these churches was to introduce people to Jesus and make the gospel known. Each church was unique in it’s ministry yet all were united in purpose. Many non-regulars attended, including some people of other faiths and no faith. As we walked from church to church and ate together we had opportunities to share our faith with these visitors. At the last church we heard a Bible talk on pain and pleasure. I was so encouraged by the evening as a whole. It’s one of the occasions where I stopped and thought how much I love this job and how incredible God is. You can pray that we would see those who visited again, that further conversations would be possible and that the Christian students who regularly attend would continue to try new things and be excited about God’s work.
I’ve been going to Ridley college every Thursday morning for New Testament Early Church. I’ve also just submitted my first essay on the purpose of Acts. I’m really thankful to be learning, it’s already been enriching what I do in terms of ministry on campus. Particularly I’m discovering more how good God’s word is and celebrating that my God has always had a plan for all of human kind.
Our mid-year camp, Summit, this year focused on God’s plan for the world and our involvement in it. We looked at the book of Jonah and there we saw how God used a disobedient, self focused prophet in his plan of salvation for the wicked Ninevites. This is encouraging, though we may be painfully away of our shortcomings and sin, God can and will use us. It is also sobering that God may send us to share the gospel to wicked people, and remarkably beautiful that his grace extends to us and those we would deem not worthy of being saved.The week also included mirror groups where we applied God’s word to our own lives, seminars regarding chatting with Muslim friends about what we and they believe and electives on mission. The elective I ran was on the cost of ministry based on 2 Corinthians, some students participating are pictured below. There was a lot of fun to be had too, we had free time each afternoon, which included a trip to Mt Buller for me and a social night in the middle of the week. Praise God that students were challenged to mission and spent time to reflect on how God’s plan for them intersects with his plan for the world. You can also thank God for the friendships formed and strengthened over the week. Below are some of our Swinburne students.
June/July also brings an opportunity to rest. I really enjoyed time away in the grampians. My spirit feels renewed and I’m looking forward to the work ahead of me. I plan to take a few more days after our mid year camp, Summit.
I’m really thankful for the training I received over the course of my ministry apprenticeship. A large part of this has been through eQuip, which seeks to equip the next generation of Victoria’s Bible teachers, leaders, pastors, evangelists and church planters. It’s been a real privilege to learn from people with much ministry experience and become friends with others at my stage who are just starting out in ministry. You can praise God for those who run, teach and make up the eQuip class as they have grown and blessed me over the last two years.As I continue working at Swinburne I’ve enrolled in one unit at Ridley (theological) College, pray that I have the time each week to study well.
AFES staff conferences happen in the break between first and second semester. The apprentice conference is run over a weekend at Stanwell Tops. I’m really thankful there is a conference specifically for apprentices, we get to know others in the same boat as us from all over the country and the Bible teaching is relevant to us being relatively new to vocational ministry.This year Andy Prideaux spoke on Job, I really appreciated being taught the Christian life being one of suffering at the outset of my ministry life. It was also important for understanding how to respond to others who are enduring suffering both in ministry and in our christian friendships.I also got to have a quick unexpected catch up with Erica who I first met as a Swinburne student when she worked for AFES. She is now ministering in Sydney. God keeps setting things up so that we run into each other which I’m grateful for because it’s always really encouraging having a chat with her.
It’s our final week of core groups this week. These are our bible study and prayer groups that meet each week. There have been 13 groups meeting this semester at different times and we’ve all looked at the book of Matthew followed by Joshua, finishing off this week with how Jesus fulfils what Israel fail to by being faithful to the father.
Please pray that the work we’ve done in these groups would be lasting. Pray too that those who aren’t Christians who’ve been coming to core group this semester would continue to read the Bible and make decisions as to whether they will accept Jesus as Lord, Saviour and King over the break.