Skip to main content


Showing posts from December, 2016

The end: Australia 2016 (Nov. 23)

And just like that, it's here: our last full day in Australia. In the afternoon, Paul and Sharon met with a representative from the Anglican church and then someone from the Salvation Army.

To the left, you can see the Sydney harbour bridge on our last day. (It was a stormy one!)

These two meetings mark the end of our month in Australia. We caught the 4:55 ferry out of Circular Quay and watched the Sydney Opera House move slowly out of sight through rain and distance. Nevertheless, for UDC Australia, this is still just the beginning.

A day at HQ: Australia 2016 (Nov. 22)

We're coming closer and closer to the end of our time here in Australia, but we are still making the most of it. Paul, Sharon and Sarah spent the day at the Baptist Association of NSW and ACT headquarters.

From left: Sharon, Karina, and Paul discuss how to bring a live-facilitated Happiness Lab to Sydney!

In the morning, local Morling College lecturer Karina Kreminski came to discuss what it would look like to run Australia's first live-facilitated Happiness Lab! We're so excited to follow along with her as she undertakes this project at the start of 2017.

Lunchtime was a chance for us to catch up with Keith Jobberns. Above is a video in which he discusses the work UDC does.

From left: Paul, Belinda, Ian, Sharon, and Sarah

Finally, we finished the day with Ian and Belinda, familiarising them with our resources. Belinda even walked home with Table Talk for Christmas to help her facilitate conversation with her new neighbours at their upcoming gingerbread hous…

Sun and sea: Australia 2016 (Nov. 21)

Pancakes, preaching and picnics: Australia 2016 (Nov. 20)

Today was another busy one as our trio split between churches and activities. Paul spent the day with Springwood Baptist Church, preaching at both morning services and a later one in the afternoon. Sharon returned to Wentworthville to preach and lead the worship music for their morning service. Sarah also returned to Wentworthville, but spent the service time with a small group of youth in the kitchen, making both pancakes and a mess. These were consumed by the congregation as they emerged from the service and gathered to drink tea and converse.        But for Springwood, this was no ordinary Sunday; it was celebration Sunday! Springwood Baptist set aside this specific day to be cognisantly joyful and thankful for God's presence and provision.         This meant that along with their services, the whole church was gathering for a picnic and friendly cricket game in the park. We went along, ate, cheered, and celebrated the sunshine.
       We returned together to Springwood fo…

Wentworthville: Australia 2016 (Nov. 19)

We were up this morning for a training session with members of Wentworthville Baptist Church. Together, the church members engaged with Paul and the practicalities of evangelism in their church context, and we ended it all with a curry lunch. 
       Today was also a chance to continue going through a new set of Resolve video edits.

One meeting, two friends and three sisters: Australia 2016 (Nov. 18)

Late yesterday evening we made the trip to the Blue Mountains, a huge National Park and one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is also, coincidentally, where Baptist minister, friend and host Philip Waugh lives.

Springwood Anglican Church leadership lean in to see Paul's demonstration of the Table Talk app.

Therefore, we were able to wake up in the morning ready for a lunch meeting with the Anglican church in the nearby town of Springwood. Through a fortuitous set of circumstances, this meeting was arranged with the help of two friends from St. James in Bream!

We loved getting to see some friendly faces and talk familiar geography. It's a Bream reunion!

From left: Phil, Paul, Sharon, and Sisters 1-3

The day's excitement continued with a trip to see the Three Sisters, a trio of sandstone pillars in the Blue Mountains. To Sharon's delight, they were not clouded in fog as they were the last time she came. You can see them for yourself!

A garden party: Australia 2016 (Nov. 17)

Paul, Sharon and Sarah continued working with Church of Christ connections this morning in Sydney. John and Ian from the Church of Christ office were interested in what Paul had to say about training and supporting lay evangelists.

       This week also has us heading all over the suburbs and neighbourhoods of the city, and this afternoon was no exception. Rick Mumford, pastor at Wentworthville Baptist Church, took us out to Wentworthville so that Sharon and Sarah could participate in a women's garden party. We bonded over cake disasters, Sharon shared her story and we ended the afternoon tea with a thought-provoking round of Table Talk for Women.

       We finished in time for a dinner with Wentworthville Baptist Church leadership, which was an excellent chance to get to know the congregation we will be working with over the weekend and simply to enjoy each other's company.

Goodbye to Adelaide: Australia 2016 (Nov. 16)

This is it: our last day in Adelaide for the trip! Our time here flew by (sometimes literally, if you consider the winds rolling off of the ocean this week). Because we needed to prepare for Sydney, Paul, Sharon and Sarah spent the morning ironing out details for our final stop and continuing to tweak Resolve.         We changed gears to speak with Geoff, who works with Church of Christ's CareWorks as a community-builder in several settings. We told Geoff about Puzzling Questions, Table Talk and The Happiness Lab and, in return, he told us the story of the prodigal son using a standard 52-card deck. It was a productive meeting for all of us.         After lunch, we met with another set of Church of Christ leaders to get an even broader sense of Australian contemporary church context. 
       We left the meeting for the airport, where we reluctantly said goodbye to Mark and to Adelaide itself. Once we land in Sydney, we'll start the final leg of this trip in Australia, and …

A day at Tabor College: Australia 2016 (Nov. 15)

Thanks to the invitation of our Church of Christ friend Mark Riessen, we spent the morning at Adelaide's Tabor College, a Christian college whose offered degrees include various ministry-related ones. Our first session involved a discussion with current Church of Christ ministers surrounding the challenges and joys of their ministry contexts and how evangelism operates both in and out of these contexts.        For the afternoon, Paul led another discussion on the role of evangelism in today's culture, this time with ministry students currently attending Tabor College. Both groups were sharp-minded and engaged as we worked together toward a new understanding of evangelism and evangelism resources.
       We then used our afternoon to review new Resolve videos our producer sent over. Each day is one day closer to an exciting conclusion!

On air in Adelaide : Australia 2016 (Nov. 14)

Today is in the running for our busiest day yet in Australia. We caught a tram into the city for a morning meeting with St. Peter's cathedral Dean Frank Nelson and spent our time discussing the role cathedrals play in the Adelaide community. 

Our next stop was radio station LifeFM! Thanks to an interview with Lyn Arnolds, Sharon and Paul were able to share information about UDC and our hopes regarding Australia with a larger audience. We look forward to hearing the finished product!

The day continued still with Church Development Facilitator at Baptist Churches of SA Andrew Turner and his insights on further connections within Australia's Baptist community.
Finally, we were joined for dinner by Greg, Mark and their wives, Elaine and Verity. We're so fortunate as we spend more and more time in Australia to nurture truly deep and joy-filled relationships not just as colleagues, but as friends.