For the past 2 weeks I’ve been involved with the AFES National Training Event in Canberra. It was fantastic. This year we had close to 1000 students attend. We filled all of the residential colleges at the Australian National University.
Talks were from Richard Gibson (on The Doctrine of the Church) and Richard Chin (on the book of Deuteronomy). I was really challenged and inspired by both speakers, particularly Richard Gibson. His exposition of 1 Timothy 3:15 and its relationship to 1 Kings 8 was great and I was challenged to not despise the Church.
I led a strand group at the conference with Pete Prior who is a great mate and co-worker. The strand material is designed to develop people as they return to the conference during their time at Uni. I was leading strand 1 which is an introduction to expository Bible reading and study. It is a great group to lead as for many students it is their first encounter with in-depth Bible study. It is designed to teach students tools for use in their own personal study of the Bible and also how to teach and lead others in Bible study.
NTE is always a highlight of my year. I love being able to meet old friends, many of whom are now involved in ministry in other parts of the country. Some of these people I have known since I was in high school and going to camps in Tumut.
After NTE we took a team of students from UC away on a short mission to Laurieton. Laurieton is a beautiful little town on the NSW mid-north coast. I can remember going there on a holiday when I was quite young, fishing with my Dad. It’s mostly filled with retirees and people enjoying the quite life. Our team was hosted by Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church, who billeted us and cared for us very well. The programme was packed; Scripture sessions in local primary and high schools, nursing home visits, door-knocking, car-wash cafe, Men’s breakfast, Dads’ and Kids’ afternoon, dialogue meeting and a few different Church services on Sunday. It was exhausting but made possible through God’s strength. The team demonstrated heaps of love and care for each other and all the programmes were practiced and well thought out. The Church in Laurieton were wonderful and are keen for us to come back next year.
On the way home the team had a day off together in the Hunter Valley at a beautiful home owned by the parents of one of our team members. It was great to have some time together to relax and say farewell to Con Campbell. Emma and I made our way back to Canberra via a very circuitous route. It followed the original Great North Road carved out by Governor Laclan Macquarie (with plenty of help from convict slaves) in the 1830s. The road is mostly dirt and unused. It runs through the hills at the back of the Hawkesbury. We saw some amazing country and thought it was well worth the extra traveling time. It was then through the Blue Mountains to Oberon and back down the western side of the Mountains to Taralga, Goulbourn, and finally Canberra. It was an beautiful drive although much longer than following the Highway.
Now we are back at home (and work), getting ready for Christmas and all the business involved with the end of the year.