I really can’t deny it anymore – the pigeons are here. Not the ‘flying rats’ you may be thinking about, but the Torres Strait Pigeon. It is the harbinger of heat! They migrate here from PNG and their distinctive snapping wing flap is like a death knell for any remaining cool weather. We’ve shifted into a new season, as we have shifted into a new season at uni.
Semester winding up
We’re entering the end of the semester for our students here at JCU. Normal lectures have finished for most and the study period and exams are next up. We’ve had an encouraging semester though. The key growth I have seen in our group has been in the gospel hearted culture. More and more, our students are grasping hold of the concept that our group is centred around the gospel of Jesus, built on God’s word and reliant on the Spirit’s work through this. It has been great to see students take initiative and let this shape their time at uni. This focus is the heart of our Bible talks, but we’ve also seen most of our students prioritise ABC groups (small, flexible, student led groups of about 3) where they have been meeting throughout the week to encourage each other through God’s word. About 3 of these groups have also had students coming along to hear about Jesus for the first time. It has been a joy to see this long-term evangelistic effort.
We weren’t able to host the Mark Drama this semester as we had been hoping (not quite enough cast members) and so we had to quickly change our plans in terms of outreach. One simple thing we were able to do was host the Student Association weekly breakfast. It’s a breakfast totally funded and organised by the Student Clubs Association, and we just got to turn up and cook/serve the food (and stick up our flag and tell people about our group) – low effort, high reward!
We met lots of people this way and had a chance to talk to them about why we were part of a club that’s all about Jesus. I’m hoping we can do this a lot more next year. I’m thinking through some simple training that could equip our students in this context to be ready to talk about Jesus in a flexible, non-threatening, gospel focussed way.
Slowly growing prayerfulness
Our aim as AFES begins with, “In prayerful dependance upon God…”. We’ve been challenged over the last year to make this more of a priority in our group but we have really struggled. We’ve had a few sporadic prayer times but have difficulty maintaining anything super regular as a group. We’re always so encouraged, though, when we do meet, and it’s what we need to be building our efforts upon. I’ve been thinking through the obstacles that stop us from praying and I’m keen to begin next year with a stronger focus on prayer, with a clear regular meeting time, and speaking about it often.
National Training Event
NTE is the next big thing on the horizon, and I’m really looking forward to it. We have a couple of students coming along for the first time this year, so I’m really excited for them. It’s a big effort for students from far-away Cairns but it’s so good because the week is about being transformed by the Gospel, trained in the gospel, and sent with the gospel. And it’s such an encouragement to meet with 2000+ other uni students who are in a similar situation to them and hear each other’s stories.
As we approach NTE I’ll be preparing to lead one of the many strand groups that meet every day throughout the conference. I really love this task – it’s is one of the key parts of NTE, where students dive deep into a part of the Bible and learn how to read it and teach it well.
The home team
I’m always so thankful that what I do is a team effort – that I am not alone in this ministry but have partners like yourselves near and far, but also my family at home that enable me to work here. I love to hear Bryn tell me he’s praying for me when I’m preparing my Bible talk – he knows I’m not a natural public speaker and need God’s help in this area. Here are a few shots of the home team.