The Beginning of Saying Goodbye

Looking back over the last few posts you’d be forgiven for thinking that there was nothing happening on the campus at the moment with the FOCUS ministry. That’s not the case at all! I’ve been struggling a little (as I knew I would) with the tension between finishing this year well, and getting ready for the move to Sydney and study.

We are into the final week of Uni for the year. There is the exam period which continues on into November, but after this week the regular FOCUS meetings on the campus finish up, most of the campus Bible studies will begin to phase out, and the regular meetings 121 with students will start to fall off as the students head back home for the summer break. This is my 10th year of being involved with the Christian outreach on the campuses in Canberra, the year has taken on a regular pattern around weeks like this. But this is the last time, at least for a while.
The strange thing is that it’s turning out to be a quiet week. The great climax of meetings, relationships, Bible study – the final opportunity to say a word that God might use to grow or encourage one of his children – hasn’t really happened. It’s not surprising, everyone is flat out with assignments, study, and exams. A lot of the regular people I meet with have had to pull out on me this week. So instead I’ve been spending more time with all the odds and ends of administration that I usually have excuses to ignore. The truth is that there will be lots of opportunities over the next few weeks to say goodbye to people and to have that final word. I do need to keep praying for the opportunities and being ready and prepared to take them.

There is plenty of FOCUS News:
A couple of weeks ago we elected a new student committee to help lead the ministry next year. I’m really excited by the new group of students who will take over this role. They are enthusiastic and capable. There is a good range of people from different Churches; guys, as well as girls. And out of a total of 11 people, 5 are finishing their 1st year of Uni. That is great for the future strength of the group. It is a large leadership team but they will be facing next year with a new Staff worker, and a totally new group of Ministry Trainees. It will be a challenging year.
Our past 2 committee meetings have been combined meetings with the old and new teams of people. That’s a very large group of people (nearly 20) for a committee meeting. It’s been a lot of fun, though, as we’ve focussed on handing over roles and discussing how to work well together.
One of the greatest encouragements this past year has been seeing the growth of the students on the committee. There has been a great focus on building each other up in these meetings, we’ve had short Bible devotions in each meeting, and we’ve prayed together well. Our student president, Tim, has done a great job in thinking this through and making it happen. Praise God!

Last night I had the UC ministry trainees (MTS) over for dinner. We’ve been meeting up together each week this year and become close friends. It was a fun evening, though we ate so much that by the end, all I wanted to do was lie on the ground and groan. I thought Kerryn’s cheese cake was going to put me in a coma…
It’s been a great gift from God to be able to work alongside these people. When one of us has struggled, the others have encouraged and lifted. We’ve been able to keep each other accountable for our work, and to teach each other from the word. I’ve really enjoyed the great times of praying together, particularly at the start of the year, and the creativity that we’ve been able to generate in thinking through how to develop the ministry with the students. We’ve had great discussions about evangelism, how to encourage prayerfulness, about meeting 121 with students – there has been a lot of joy in working side by side for the gospel.
Next year we are all heading in different directions. Kerryn is getting married and going back to work at the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Ollie is off to study at Sydney Missionary Bible College (SMBC), Pete is getting back into the workforce and hoping to continue his involvement with Sports Chaplaincy. Pray that they would continue to lead others in glorifying God for the rest of their lives.

1:27   Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel… (ESV)

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