15 new ministry partners…

As I gaze upon the list of people who have invested time, prayers, and money into this little ministry up here, I can’t help but feel humbled, encouraged, and so grateful to God. I love how people so cherish the gospel that they give all these resources to see students they may never meet any time soon, be strengthened in Christ, or come to know Christ. I’m a solo staff worker here, but I’m so glad that I’m not actually alone in this ministry but have people near and far who want to see Christ continue to be proclaimed at JCU Cairns. I thank God for you, and pray for you all.

That said, I also feel rebuked in that I often act like I am alone! As exhibited by my lack of official updates, I am reluctant to lean on others, and instead turn to my own resources. I’m pretty sure it’s just plain pride – and it’s daft – and pride easily leaches into how one interacts with God – and that’s truly daft!

So, please pray for humility and that I will continue to be humbled!

I’m resolved next year to send an update per season, with maybe an odd extra one here or there. But thank you all for your ongoing prayers and partnership though often being in the dark on the details. I just wanted to get that outburst of thanks off my chest before inviting you into my current prevailing need and prayer of 15 new ministry partners. A quick scroll to the bottom will give you the details right away, but first let me redress my lack of communication. If you have the time, have a slow scroll down to see the other things I am thanking, praying, and praising God for.

Our little team

We are a little campus and a little team. This picture above is a big night at our weekly Bible talk – we had a couple more come along for our special Easter event. Being a little campus comes with challenges and (often unhelpful) frustrations. It’s really hard to build momentum with any regular structure. All it takes is one or two people to be away and the tone of the group shifts to, “There aren’t many people here, maybe I don’t want to be here either.” But the truth is that we don’t need a big group gathered all together to build each other up in God’s word, or grow in godliness, or spur each other on to reach out with the gospel. We can do that in just ones and twos. We are a little team, but our goal is to make much of Jesus, and really, he is entirely awesome regardless of the size of our group. So we keep acting as a light shining on our great Christ, with our little team.

Thank God for our little team of students, and pray that we will continue to make much of Jesus while we’re here.

What floats your boat

This semester we did something quite foreign to our little Cairns campus – we were a club that actually engaged the student body in some tangible way. We have a quiet campus! It’s peaceful, but the expected norm of university life, that is, the hustle and bustle of students; interaction of people thinking together; healthy debate and discussion, is somewhat absent. So we decided to fill that vacuum. For a week, we asked people the question, “What floats your boat?” “Where do you find happiness?” We invited people to think about how the pursuit of happiness is overrated, and that Jesus provides us with true value and meaning, even through the ups and downs of life.

By the end of the week people had covered the boat with their answers… but those respondents were mostly invisible. People generally kept their distance when we were manning the stall, but while we were away, they seemed to relax and get involved.

If you’re interested, here are some of the responses to our question: food; chocolate; treating myself; friends; live music; the beach; ice cream; free food; making memories; music; ur mum; money; coffee; nature; getting the midline right; you deserve to travel; sin; passing my exams; I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me; progressive gay rights; sport; dogs; swimming; pasta; happy people, happy vibes; sex; For man it is impossible, for God all things are possible; my wife; swimming; nothing.

Pray that God will make new students bold enough to ask questions, meet us, and come and find out more about Jesus

Being visible

It’s worth being visible in some way, even if things seem quiet. This year our uni has started what has probably been the most successful attempt to bring different people together into one place on our campus – a common lunch hour on Wednesdays, with some food and live music. And so there is regular event where clubs can be visible to a range of people coming past. So we set up our stall there a couple of times this semester and gave out some free food. And yet, it’s still quiet, and sometimes feels like a waste of time. However, so often, students will tell me how a friend has come up to them after class and said “Hey I saw you at that stall the other day, what was that for?” Being visible helps our Christian students associate with Jesus in a way that gets people questioning and leads to discussions at times we don’t really expect.

And then there are unusual moments like this: we set up our stall, ready to give away chocolates, chips, ice-blocks… but nobody wants any of this stuff (who would believe it?). We sit and chat amongst ourselves, wondering what to do with all these melting chocolates. And then one person comes up to our stall – one – but this one person says, “I’ve been looking at your facebook page and see you have Bible talks. I’d really love to read the Bible. I’m from a different religion, but could I come a long and listen to what it’s all about?” Sitting in a puddle of melting chocolates and zooper-doopers is worth it for the sometimes immediate and sometimes ongoing fruit that it brings about.

Please pray for Jazz, who wants to find out more about Jesus through his word. Pray that our students will have ongoing conversations with their friends about Jesus.

National Training Event (NTE)

NTE is coming up on 3-7 Dec, and before that, we are taking a small crew from Cairns to participate in a little mission with the Atherton Presbyterian church. NTE is always a highlight for our student group. It is an expression of who we are – a national fellowship of evangelical students. Uni Christian groups from all around Australia will meet together at Canberra to listen to great Bible teaching from Vaughan Roberts on identity, and be trained in how to read and share the message of God’s word well.

This year (for what we thought would be a quiet year) we have had to restrict registrations before the cut-off date because we have reached capacity. There are over 2000 students coming along to encourage one another, share ideas, and grow in their understanding of the gospel.

Our campus has 6 students coming along. It always makes such a big impact on those that come and spurs them along to serve and speak with confidence when they come back to uni in the following year. There is no other event that so clearly expresses what our local uni group is part of and all about.

Pray that our students will be transformed by, trained in, and sent with the gospel at NTE this year.

Family news

A wondrous sight to behold. Those ‘cold’ Cairns spring mornings

Well, we are a growing family. We’re looking forward to celebrating the arrival of bub number 4 in March next year. We’re hoping this will mean that every child will have someone to play with and no one will feel left out, and thus drastically increase our likelihood of a peaceful home (Ps 133).

In lieu of that though, pray that we will grow in patience and love, and in words of the gospel of our Lord Jesus

Erin crafts incessantly and is looking forward to big school next year. Lucy has a knack of making us laugh and tear our hair out at the same time. Bryn is really growing up and is an avid reader. Wendy is working towards doing a little bit of physiotherapy work again, starting with helping out in a clinical trial.

We’ve also had a sad time recently with Wendy’s Grandma passing away this month. It’s hard not being close to family and able to easily spend time together. But it was really nice for her to be able to get down to the funeral and grieve with hope surrounded by family and loved ones. We’re looking forward to a couple of weeks after Christmas when we will be able to take some time off and just hang out with our family down south.

15 new ministry partners

I’d love you to join me in praying for 15 new ministry partners who can commit to giving $50/month. Over the last couple of months, my monthly financial target has dropped into ‘major deficit’, which basically means, I’m only reaching about 65% of my monthly support target. The main reason for this is that a significant portion of my financial support was coming from a special AFES grant for new ministries which has now ended. So basically I need to invite more people to join in with partnering me in this ministry (if you know people who want to join in, share this email or direct them here: support.afes.org.au).

Please pray with me for 15 more people to join in as ministry partners, who are able to give financially.

I just imagine what 15 more ministry partners might bring about. I know how truly valuable it is to have people praying (even here and there) for God to work through his word at JCU to save and establish students in Christ. I am meagre and flawed, but God is mighty to save, and so we keep asking him to work here, and he does. Actually it would be even better to have 30 people giving $25, that would be so encouraging. And I have already been very encouraged by many of you already praying for this goal, or finding ways to help me reduce my financial support deficit.

Thank you all again for your prayers and support, and above all, I thank God for all that he has done for us, and day by day, I see how much we need that.

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