Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ministry at High Speed

Times they are a-changing!
Hello Everyone! I cannot believe that it's been a full month since I posted my first blog. For that, I apologize, but I have been very busy doing ministry. I'm slowly learning that in full time ministry, there are so many more things to do then you have time to do. I'm someone who needs to get everything completed to be at peace, but that's simply not possible without going crazy! So, here is a brief fast forward of the past month to catch you up, with a hope that I will be able to update more frequently with more specific details!

Orientation Week (2/22-2/28) and the First week of Class! (3/1-3/8)
What a crazy two weeks! These were my first two weeks on campus interacting directly with Aussie students. Primarily, these two week were about connecting with students and praying the Lord would connect us with all those who would be interested in learning about our campus group, Student Life, and hearing about Christianity and Jesus. To do this, we had stalls set up. Basically, a table with posters, that advertise our group. We had students fill out quick surveys to gauge their interest levels and then we'd give them a free chupa chup (suckers), which Aussies Die for! During these two weeks we were praying for 800 students to do these surveys with us and we did over 1100, 306 of which were interested in hearing about Jesus! We then took those surveys which showed interested students and spent much of the past 2-3 weeks meeting with them to share about Jesus and to start up Christianity Explained courses (6 weeks going through Mark to learn about Christ). I'm doing a CE with two students each week and has been so amazing seeing the Lord bringing them closer and closer to making a decision about Jesus (picture of me and these two asian guys playing Ultimate Frisbee) God has been so faithful! He is worthy of Praise!

A move of God
As I mentioned, we did over 300 more surveys then ever before. We've also seen many students, especially first years, indicate that they want to attend Bible Studies and weekly events that we run, the main one being our weekly meeting called Fusion. We've also begun pioneering on a campus we've never had a presence on before, Logan. Logan is a campus about 20 minutes away, by bus, from all the other campuses. It is a very small campus with only 2000 students. Students here have never shown a great interest in spiritual things but this year we've had about 40 students indicate an interest! We started our first weekly Bible Study there Ever! Praise God! Like I said, times they are a-changing. Something is different here at Griffith Uni then previous years. Students CARE about their classes and want to learn. They're excited about going to class! The Lord is moving here in powerful ways. He is drawing all those who are seeking what's true. He is slowly breaking the chains of apathy and relativism that bind this Uni and this country. On top of that, God continues to bring Christians to us who are passionate about Jesus and sharing their faith. God is gathering the small group of Christians here at Griffith and slowly uniting us in one body. I can't wait to see what He does as we continue to step out in faith with the power of the Holy Spirit!

First Year Outreach (3/18)
This was an Awesome Day for us! We threw a first year party for all the students who we've been in contact with and met in the past 3 weeks to make them feel welcome. We pulled out Giant Jenga! It's just like regular Jenga except it stands about 3.5 feet tall and the blocks are huge! It was so much fun and there were times when we had 50-60 people watching us play. Students joined in the fun with us the entire time! We were able to have so many deep spiritual conversations through this party/outreach! There was a girl named Eliana who came and sat with us for more then 2 hours, discussing Christianity. She is going to start going through Christianity Explained with us and attending our weekly Fusion events!

What do I do for Fun?!
I have had so much fun doing ministry! Although it's very hard and demanding spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally, it is such a blessing to be doing what God has called me to be doing. Besides ministry, I've been having a blast! During the past few weeks I've gone to the Movie Theatres with students, gone to the Broncos-Cowboys Rugby game-which was unbelievably awesome [AP would dominate though ;)] and even spent a Saturday over at Will's house, a vietnamese Aussie student, for an international dinner! We had a Vietnamese barbecue and it was SO good! Needless to say, I'm having a blast in the land of Oz!

Learning Points:
One thing that I've been consistently praying for is that God would continue to reveal to me the depths of my sin and wickedness before Him. Boy has He been answering that prayer in many different ways; through my relationships with my teammates and as a roommate through the Spirit, and especially through His Word. It is so humbling to see your own sinfulness. Sometimes, I regret asking for that in prayer but at the same time, it allows me to see in a deeper way the grace and beauty of God in Jesus Christ. I have been thoroughly enjoying my daily reading in my Chronological Bible, currently going through Deuteronomy. I have also been graciously learning the disciplines of studying the Word and memorizing Scripture! I have been studying the book of Romans once a week for 2-3 hours and have almost got the first chapter of Philippians memorized! It's been so rewarding!

Until next time...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Starting to Feel Like Home

Hello everyone and welcome to my blog! This will be the place to find the chronicles of my adventures doing ministry, experiencing life and seeing the sights in Australia. I will also try to provide an inside glimpse of what full-time ministry looks like, through the exciting and hard times, that is not often seen externally. So without further ado, here goes!

Since I've already been here close two weeks already, I'm going to catch you up by providing the highlights or major events!

Arrival-Wednesday Feb. 10th
After nearly 28 hours of traveling and nearly missing two connecting flights, I FINALLY arrived in Brisbane, Australia! I didn't get much sleep that day because my teammates kept me up to help me beat jet lag as soon as possible. As much as I grumbled about them doing that, I really appreciated it because it Did help me get over it more quickly. That night we took the bus to South Bank which is right next to downtown and the Brisbane river. We had our first team dinner! Fish and CHIPS! It wasn't just us though! We were accompanied by thousands of fruit bats hovering above us in the trees along with a couple Ibis birds on the ground! Google 'Ibis'! Then my teammates took me on the CityCat. Basically the CityCat is a water taxi that takes you up and down the Brisbane river, stopping at each bank of the river at different locations! After this I crashed HARD!

Impact Camp-Feb. 11th-13th
Right away the next day, I jumped straight into ministry! Awesome! Impact Camp is a retreat for all the students who will be leaders on campus, both with evangelism and discipleship. It was SUCH a great time meeting the Aussie students for the first time and getting to know them! It is so encouraging to see these Aussie students so passionate for the Lord and ready to take a leadership role to see that more students get involved with 'Student Life', our campus club, and take the initiative to share their faith with lost students. During this retreat I had the opportunity to give a devotional with something I'm very passionate about-prayer. I talked about how we shouldn't always focus on praying to God to change our circumstances but, rather, pray for the hearts of those who are in difficult times. I used Paul and his sufferings for Christ as an example. The Lord put him through many trials, pains, and sufferings but can you think of anyone in the Bible who was more passionate about knowing Christ than Paul? I can't! We go through those times in order that we may know Him MORE; what His desire for us is! I also led a one hour training session on evangelism and how to share your faith. I'm continuing to see that I have a passion for teaching and equipping young men and women to do ministry well! To sum it up, it was a Blast!

Planning/Strategy/Organization/Preparations, etc.-Feb. 15-19th
The reason the title of this small section seems very boring is because it more or less was! One of the things I struggle with, not only in ministry but in a lot of areas, is planning everything out and doing administrative type stuff. I'm an activator, which means I like to 'go get it' and get my hands and feet wet. But, planning and strategy in ministry is Crucial and I'm hoping in the Lord that I'll grow in this area. Our team put in close to 30 hours worth of meetings, planning out schedules, events, bible study and discipleship materials, team development plans, team norms, etc.

Day With the Lord-Friday Feb. 19th
Today we got to spend the whole day with the Lord! It was awesome! I went to downtown Brisbane and sat in a Gloria Jeans coffee shop sipping some espresso! I was able to spend a ton of time diving into His Word, journaling/thinking, and reading 'A Short History of Philosophy' by Robert Solomon. That evening our team went geocaching ( at Kangaroo's Point in South Bank!
Struggles: jetlag, restlessness, homesickness, no a/c, missing family and my girlfriend Liz and her family, missing friends, lack of control with transportation-I have to ride the bus everywhere, food-I can't eat what I normally like to eat back in the States.
Blessings: the opportunity to grow and trust in the Lord with my 'struggles', sweet times of prayer and reading God's Word, fellowship with my teammates, meeting the Aussie students and getting a glimpse of what ministry will look like, tim-tam slams, great coffee, skype, a place to sleep, the Holy Spirit!