Thursday, December 15, 2011

My New Blog!

I have a new blog!  From now on I will be writing at

I'd love you to come and have a look.

It's been wonderful sharing my adventures Sydneyside with you all :)

love B

The last post in Sydney- from Melbourne

Things in your head very rarely turn out quite like you expect on the plate.

That is in many ways how I feel about this blog post. It would have been really lovely to have a final blog post from this blog, written on my final day or two in Sydney.  A beautiful opportunity to reflect on all that is happened, all that I have learnt.

But of course, the last two weeks have been spent finishing work and packing and cleaning the house.  So my final post "Sydney-side" is actually being written at my parent-in-laws dinning room table in Camberwell :)

But, in this un-ideal reality I thought I would be still worthwhile reflecting on my time in Sydney, and particularly the goodbyes of the last few weeks.

It really is a special city.  In many ways its always seemed surreal, catching a train to work over the harbour bridge, hanging at darling harbour, driving the 20 minutes it takes to get to Bondi.  I have enjoyed living there.  But the main things that have made our time in Sydney have been People, College, Church, and Newtown.  God has provided some terrific friends, friends that have been with us through some really tough times, laughed with us through the fun times, and been some amazing godly examples to us.  College has been wonderful, both for supplying many of the above friends, but also for the wonderful stretching Tim has been through as he's wrestled with God's Word in great depth.  Church has been such an important part of our lives in Sydney, in many ways they have been our family.  And Newtown has been such a fun place to live, in many ways feeling like another character in the play of our lives in Sydney.

The last few weeks have been mad, so many goodbyes, some really positive and happy, some really sad.  I have felt so loved and appreciated by those I've worked with.  The thoughtful presents from Playgroup people, the words of encouragement, and the support of our future plans has been great comfort through the pain of change.  When I look back on these last few weeks, I am very aware of God's goodness in providing lots of evidence that the last three years of ministry have not been in vain.  This is not aways the case for those of us in ministry, and it is a great comfort as I step into a new life and a new role, to see that God can use me despite my weakness

Now, well, now is time to get a new blog.  I'm going to do some work on it tonight, and hopefully have it ready in the next week :)  Stay tuned for the link!

Thanks for following my Sydney adventures!
love B

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Slowly disappearing

Man moving is weird.

It is going so fast.  And one of the reasons it is going so fast is because we are so busy.  Packing is going quite slowly.  Every time I set aside for packing, someone invites us to do something.  Hmmmm- hanging out with friends we will not longer live near or packing.

Which do you think I choose?

I feel like such a goose.  I just read this post and realised that it didn't make sense- the title is "slowly disappearing" and then I say "going so fast".  Perhaps shares more about my crazy brain that the post itself :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

For Term 4

Why do I do ministry?

I do ministry for Term 4

Ministry can be really hard.  It can be such a term 1.  Lots of admin, lots of organisation, lots of asking people to do this or that and have them say no and thinking "For once I wish I could say no- but I can't because I'm paid to do this".  New relationship where you can't tell if people are shy or if they actually don't want to talk to you!  All that careful planning and you still find yourself saying "Why didn't I do this task before the madness of the year began!"

But I do ministry for Term 4

Ministry can be really crazy.  It can be such a Term 2.  Seeing an event you were going to run sneaking up on the calender, and having to decide that its just not going to happen. Exhaustion as everyone Else's long weekend is your busy time.  A whirl wind of emotions, as one week you see Teenagers get so excited about God, and the next week someone suggests that there is something wrong with the way you are leading Bible study.  And all the prep for a big ministry event- with the fruit still along way off.

But I do Ministry for Term 4

Ministry can be really exhausting.  It can be such a Term 3.  And amazing week of Kids Club- but with no time to recover before it's back to work again.  All the events that all ended up in the same month, despite your supposed careful planning of the church calendar.  All the people who suddenly want to meet, learn, grow, find out about Jesus, who you are so excited about- and yet how do you fit them in?  All the personal drama's that always seems to come up  right on the day of a talk your giving, a Bible study your leading, or a kids talk you are doing.  And all you can do is dry your eyes, pray like crazy, and do your job.

But I do Ministry for Term 4

Term 4!  The relationships that after a year are deep enough so that people actually come to you to talk about things of God.  The kids who go from seeming to get nothing from your teaching- to all of a suddenly showing they were listening all along.  Parents who start to think that maybe taking kids to church is a priority.  Women who shyly tell you they have started meeting with someone to read the Bible and they'd like some advice.  People who become Christians.  People who get Baptised.  People who grow.  People who change.  Term 4 is where the rubber hits the road, when you SEE and don't just know- that no work you do for the Lord is ever in vain.

I write this because ministry is hard.  It is sometimes a Term 1, 2, and 3 and at those times I forget the big picture.  But Term 4 doesn't happen without the hard slog through the others.

And I do ministry for Term 4

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Objections to a song

Last week at playgroup, in the middle of one of my songs, three year old Max stamped his way to the front of the kids.

One hand went on his hip, the other was pointed at me and gesuring as he talked.  He has the most adorable Aussie/Polish accent.

"Belinda.  We shouldn't sing this song.  It is a bad song.  Spiders are bad.  They bite you and they put venom in you and they hurt you and kill you."

The Mum's in the group began to laugh, while I did my best to keep a straight face, to keep singing, and to use gaps in the song to rescue poor Insy-Winsies now tanished reputation!
love B

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Teaching the Christmas story at playgroup

(This is actually a post I planned and took photos for last year and never got around to posting, but better late than never!)

The nature of our playgroup is that it is a group run for people in the community, and our prayer and hope is that it might lead parents and kids to develop an interest in God and Jesus.  This means that times like Christmas and Easter are important- because they are very natural times for talking about such things.

The first year I ran playgroup I decided to do two weeks on the Christmas story with the kids.  The first week I found a good story book and read it through.  On the second week, when I got to a picture of the "nativity scene" I asked if any of the kids remembered who the characters in the story were.  One boy yelled out "Santa" and another girl cried "The Wiggles".  I realised then that perhaps with pre-schoolers I needed a few more weeks to get the story to stick :)

The follow year, and this year, I worked out a cool way to cover the Christmas story, assisted with some suggestion from the website kidzlink which has some great ideas which I stole and adapted for my situation and style.

The first thing I did was get a plastic plant we had at church and turned it into a Christmas tree!

Then I brought in my nativity scene which my sister bought me when she went to Israel.  I like it because its really rustic, it's not very comercial, and in some ways it represents quite well I think the simplicity of the first Christmas.

Each week I choose part of the Christmas story to cover.  Usually in the first week I do the Angel telling Mary and Joseph they are going to have Jesus, the second week they go to Bethlehem and have Jesus, the third week the shepherds and the fourth week the wise men.

I wrap up the pieces of the nativity scene which come up in that week.  I don't have an angel in my set so I had to use this ornament :)

Once the pieces are wrapped, I place them underneither the Christmas tree

Each week I pick a few kids (making sure its not the same ones every week!) to unwrap the "presents" and then I use the figures to tell the story.

I love it, because it involves the kids, they don't just hear but they see and touch as well, and we have multiple weeks to go over the story.  It also starts with things they associate with Christmas (presents and trees) and uses them to bring it back to the real reason behind the celebrations.

To keep emphasising it, I also show them the pictures from the Beginner's Bible, which I think does a great job of covering the Christmas story.

It is amazing how much more the kids take it.  They love looking at and holding the Baby Jesus.  And each week I get to say- "Christmas is actually all about Jesus"

And so far this year, we haven't had a single mention of the Wiggles.  Thought the term is not over yet!
love B

Saturday, November 5, 2011


There is a silly joke in our household.  Tim and I have some similar taste in movies and TV shows (Sci-fi and adventure sitting pretty high on the list), but one thing that brings us together like nothing else is the Back to the Future Movies.  We both loved them as kids, we still love them as adults.  One of the jokes that occasionally comes up is the excitement of counting down until we reach 2015.  Because, despite no advancements to suggest this is the case yet, of course by 2015 there will be flying cars and most particularly hover-boards.  That reminds me, I need to start working on my skateboard skills in preparations ;)

Time is such a weird thing.

We have just a little under a month and a half until we move to Melbourne for good.  It hit me this week that I could no longer feel super organised by saying "Yes, I think I'll probably start packing this week".  Three weeks ago, that was super organised.  This week, given that I haven't actually even put together a box, I realised that a month is not a long time to pack up a house, while working pretty much full time and socialising the rest of the time.

It has hit our year of College that things are almost over.  And so the next three weeks or so are filled with lots of "Final events".  Final College dinner in the playground.  Final Bible study social.  Final book club, final chapel, extra four year specific thanksgiving service.  Official College good-bye dinner and any number of goodbye dinners that we organise just because we are going to miss everyone.  A friend and I were saying, it's great that we are being so social, but we wish we'd realise how much we'd miss our year sooner so we could have fit all these events into the whole year and not just the last month!

And so, even though it will be a special and meaningful month, I feel a little dizzy when I think about it.  Because I already feel exhausted coming home from work to quickly cook dinner before heading out again.  Adding packing to the mix seems like a bit much.

We have been in Sydney for Four years.  Sometimes it seems like the time has flown and sometimes it seems that four years cannot be enough time to fit in all that we have experienced, the good and the bad.  Nothing has been as I have expected- the things I thought would be hard have not been, the things that I thought would be easy have not been.  But God has got us to this point anyway, and I am grateful.

On Tuesday, Tim will sit his last exam for a very long time.  And then, we will get ready to pack up and leave this Sydney life forever.

Time is such a weird thing.
Love B