Its second semester already …

I can’t believe how quick time has gone but i’m actually now in my second semester of Hillsong College, no longer a newbie – how CRAZY!

After three weeks of conference mode I enjoyed two of the most relaxing weeks off ever, and i’ve now finished my first week of second semester intensive classes. In this post i’m going to tell you about how Hillsong Conference gave me a fresh outlook on life, how I found my happy place, and how I’m entering second semester with a completely new mindset.

Hillsong conference – so the two weeks before conference college students have to complete two weeks of conference intensives, basically getting everything ready for conference. I spent two weeks in the kids office and absolutely loved it! My main job was organising the kids groups, so making sure the groups didn’t go over numbers, were equal sizes, moving kids to be with friends if requested and keeping the leaders up to date with their groups numbers. I really enjoyed it, I know it doesn’t sound like the most exciting job, but it was great to see how much goes into conference before conference and to then see what I had been a part of come together at conference.

At conference I was on the Treasure Chest team, which meant that I was a buddy to a child/children with additional needs, supporting them and allowing them to access the full Kidsong program. The child I was connected with only came to the day program, which meant I only had the opportunity to hang out with him for three days, but those days changed my life – this little four year old, who had more fighting against him than a four year old should, had the most inspiring, enthusiastic, “I can conquer the world’ attitude to life i’ve ever encountered. This little kid believed he could do anything, and because he believed he could he did, and he dragged me along with him – one moment that highlights this is me sitting at the top of the biggest inflatable slide I can imagine, exhausted after chasing him up, him sitting on my lap excitedly screaming to slide down and me begging for a minute to compose myself wondering how I can get out of this, but because of him I did it (ignoring the fact that there was actually no other way down), I did it, and it was fun, totally scary and I sent someone else up with him the second time, but it was fun! These amazing kids make you realise how pathetic your excuses are, and that there’s actually nothing holding you back – you can do this – we can do this! That thing you’d love to try but your not quite brave enough, GO DO IT! Lets embrace this life, conquer this life, love this life!

After conference and after sleeping Saturday away, and then volunteering in church on Sunday,  I escaped to my new favourite place in Australia, my new happy place, Patonga! This little fishing village, two streets with the sea on one side and a creek on the other, one road over a mountain in and out, or a ferry – quiet, peaceful, stunningly beautiful! I was blessed to be invited to stay with the parents of the beautiful woman I serve with on a Sunday evening, and her parents welcomed me into their family with open arms, for five days I was at home in their home. I squeezed so much into those five days: I went to see the beach where they film home and away (for my sister), I went to a Country Women’s Association meeting and learned all about Hemp (the little old ladies shared some interesting stories), I went to some beautiful coffee shops, watched fishermen play darts, went to so many beaches, sat on the beach and watched the sun rise – but most importantly I spent time with God and had space to breathe, re-charge and dream!

Shirley welcomed me into her life, and blessed me more than she probably realises. Shirley has a coaching business, and for five days the conversations I had, the places she showed me, and the people she introduced me too, fuelled a dream God has given me and made me realise that that dream could actually become a reality, and because of that I have entered second semester with a new attitude, I have a purpose and I’m using this time more effectively as I work towards making that dream a reality (more details on that to come soon, but i’m so excited).

The second week of holidays was spent with my housemates and my college friends, I went to more beaches, more coffee shops, gardens, shops – It was a lovely week of just catching up with people and getting ready for second semester.

And I can’t believe that the first week of second semester is already over. This semester we have all new subjects and all new lecturers. This semesters subjects are: Christian Doctrine, Church History, Intro to Pastoral Leadership, New Testament Introduction, Personal Evangelism, Spirit-Filled Living, Teamwork and World Religions. I really feel like some of these subjects and the assignments are going to challenge me (in a good way) and strengthen me.

This week we’ve had Teamwork and Intro to Pastoral Leadership – both classes were really interesting and inspiring. The main thing I’ve taken away from this week of classes is how much of what we do, and what I’m being taught, could simply be said as ‘love people’ – in team work it was all about loving and encouraging your team/team members and Pastoral Leadership is in basic form ‘loving people’. I feel like sometimes we make things seems harder than they are and more complicated with formulas, steps and extra words – when really I feel we are simply called to Love God and Love people!

So I’m entering this semester with a new purpose and a lot of love. Although the decision has not in any way been made final yet (and I am still praying and open to staying), I really feel like this is going to be my last semester at Hillsong College – I love it here, the people, the classes and the opportunities we are given, are changing my life, I am changing and growing every day I feel – but God has given me a dream, and I enter this semester with renewed excitement, as I am given time to unpack and work towards my dream, and learn and grow into the person ready to fulfil this dream. Leaving my home in Neath has made me realise (and believe me I never thought I would say this, and still kind of don’t want to) that Neath and Wales are my home (although I am still holding on to the fact that I am english, although in college we’re taught to say Christian first). Definitely not where I wanted, or expected, to make home (a beach house in Patonga would be much more exciting) but for a reason I believe I am finally starting to see, God has placed me in Neath for a purpose……

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Five months

I have been in Australia FIVE months today, I can’t believe it! I am sorry I haven’t been posting as regularly as I planned, honestly I don’t know where the time has gone. Last week all my assignments were completed for this semester, I have one more week of classes, then we have three weeks of conference season (two weeks of prep and then one week at Hillsong Conference) and then first semester is finished. And as today is a public holiday for the Queens Birthday, and I am recovering from a horrible cold (sympathy needed here), I am committing to posting something today.

So much has happened and I want to tell you all so much but putting how i’m feeling into words has proved challenging, I’ve started writing at least 6 posts over the last two months and none of them sounded right. I easily write an introduction, a quick update of where I’m at and then … I get stuck. So ….

[Sorry it happened again, cup of tea break – side note: did you know it gets really cold in Australia and it rains, I mean heavy downpours of rain (more sympathy needed here) 🙂 sorry now focus]

Here goes … so in all honesty over the last two months I have been questioning whether or not I was getting much out of college, whether I actually needed to stay for the second semester of first year, never mind second year – I know crazy right – I mean this is HILLSONG AUSTRALIA – I couldn’t have dreamed of being in a better place to put aside time to grow in my relationship with God, learn more about the bible, and unravel some of the calling he’s placed on my life – It truly is a fantastic church, college and community and i’m loving it and feel so blessed to get to spend a season here ….

But I didn’t feel as settled, as at home, as some of my classmates seemed to be feeling, and I couldn’t see as clearly what purpose God had for bringing me here, whereas I could easily see why others had been bought here. However I think I let the size of the church overwhelm me a little, I felt like a small fish in a big pond, no make that a tiny fish in the ocean – a tiny fish who was trying to fight the waves to move away from the shore and grow into a bigger fish, but I felt like every time I made progress a wave came and carried me back again.

But then I found my school of fish – my housemates, my connect group sisters and my core tutorial – they’ve helped me re-focus, they’ve helped me remind me what I CAN do and encouraged me to step out and be brave, they’ve hugged me, laughed with me and kept me afloat. They are some of the most amazing, beautiful, encouraging, strong, inspiring people I could wish to be on this journey with. So it may have taken me nearly half of my first year (and possibly half of my time here) to settle and get swimming in the right direction, but I honestly feel like I am on track now, and the swim is invigorating.

[OK end of fish metaphor – swam a little bit off course there]

So this is where it gets challenging, this post was supposed to cover everything that has happened to me in the last three months but its actually taken me all day (with multiple distractions) to write this much, and as I start this post by saying I’ve been in Australia five months TODAY, I can’t really put off posting it until tomorrow, but I want to tell you all everything, its just so hard, I wish I could FaceTime all of you and chat for an hour, hear all about whats happening with you ….

So a really super speedy account of the last five months – Hillsong church is massive and amazing, college and classes have been incredible, I love the Old Testament, I passed my public speaking class, have seen Sydney, experienced Vivid, climbed the giant stairway in the blue mountains (all 911 steps), stood in the ocean, seen a killer spider, met loads of amazing people from all over the world, started to dream God sized dreams, discovered so much more about myself …..

Theres just so much, obviously this post isn’t going to cover it. So I’m going to post more, I promise. I want to sit down with a cup of tea and share my heart with you regularly, theres just so much I want to share with you, so i’m adding it to my schedule (after my personal leadership development plan I LOVE my calendar app, and if its in there I have to do it, so you will be hearing from me). Feel free to post any questions on here or on Facebook, would love to include what you actually want to know in my blog posts. Love you and miss you all, speak soon xxx

 

What God taught me at the Wildlife Park

So for my 29th Birthday me and my housemates FINALLY went to see the two things that everyone comes to Australia to see – a Kangaroo and a Koala. I could so easily just upload the 737 pictures I took and walk you through the wildlife park, however instead I am going to share things that God spoke to me through the animals at the zoo (obviously the animals didn’t actually speak to me, and it wasn’t actually a zoo trip full of revelation after revelation of how amazing God is, although he totally is, its more things he’s been speaking to me recently and how the zoo reminded me).

As we waited in the queue the excitement hit (well actually I had been excited all week, hardly slept the night before, and was ready ridiculously early). And thats the first lesson I learnt at the wildlife park – excitement! To live life excited, to experience happiness, to embrace joy. I feel like sometimes I get caught up in the busyness, in the schedules, classes and assignments, serving and attendance, that I forget to feel excited. I mean I’m at Hillsong College, IN AUSTRALIA, something I’ve been working towards for so long and somedays I forget to celebrate that, I forget to feel excited for what God could do today, I forget to live every day to the fullest.

After the Wallaby enclosure we got to the Koala Enclosure – Incredible! Koala’s apparently sleep ALOT, although we were told there were seven female Koalas in this little area, we could only see three and only one was awake, and you couldn’t see her face because she was settled in a tree, surrounded by Eucalyptus leaves, munching away, perfectly content. What interested me was how precarious she looked balanced between the two branches of the tree, but how actually perfectly balanced and settled she was. And that was my next lesson – to settle. Although the normal message is to ‘not settle’, I feel like for this season God is asking me to settle – to settle in his presence, to settle in his provision, to settle in his love. And to remember that even when I feel like my life looks precarious, like I’m losing my balance, even when I feel like i’m about to fall, He has me! I’m in his plan, he’s holding me and he doesn’t want me to live with feelings of being unbalanced and about to fall, He wants me to feel settled and to relax and be able to sleep all day if I want to knowing he’s got me.

In the middle of the wildlife park was a little Farmyard, outside was a sign that introduced the animals – there was a pig, sheep, ducks, chickens – all the typical farmyard animals. So I didn’t go in, I mean outside the farmyard there was Tasmanian Devils, Wombats and Dingos, why did I need to waste my time seeing boring farmyard animals that we have in the UK. In retrospect the farmyard represents to me missed opportunities, those decisions made because they don’t seem to fit into the exciting plan God has for your life, it represents how we under appreciate the ‘regular’ and how much God actually values and uses those days where we just do the regular life things – those days spent serving when we don’t feel appreciated, those times that feel like we’re not achieving anything, those times when its hard to make the effort or where we don’t easily see the fruit from your little effort. God reminded me this week that he still uses those moments where we’re not really feeling it. Side story – part of my practicum is sending out postcards to all the new children who accessed one of the Sunday programs at Hills campus each week, and yes I agree with what there doing, its a very important part of placing value on the children and encouraging them to come back, however last week during intensives trying to squeeze time to do it in the packed schedule felt hard. Then on Friday I got forwarded an email about a little girl who received a postcard and it was the first piece of mail she’d ever received and it made her day, she even had photos with the postcard. Now her first memory of church, and therefore God, will be receiving that postcard, feeling acknowledged, noticed and loved – God doesn’t just use us when it feels exciting and important, he uses those boring everyday events. He uses us when we feel tired and even when we feel maybe a little unwilling.

My favourite animal surprisingly was the Wombat – Wombats look grumpy and are very food focused. It was about an hour after meal time and this one WomIMG_3445bat was just pacing back and forth in the corner as if he was waiting on his next meal and couldn’t relax incase he missed it. Regardless of the fact that the staff have always ensured that he was well fed and looked after, he lived in a state of alert, constant readiness,
waiting, worrying. One of the biggest challenges for college students is finance – its hard trying not to feel stressed and overwhelmed, not to pace back and forth worrying about paying your rent, buying food, paying for course fees or getting a job. But the Wombat reminded me that we’re living in Gods plan, he bought us to college, he’s ensured we’ve been provided for this far, he has a plan. And he doesn’t want us to
pace back and forth worrying and stressing, he wants us to relax and trust in his provision, his plan.

So yes I had an amazing Birthday and so much fun at the Wildlife Park. More photos to be uploaded to Facebook once I’ve gone sorted through all 700 of them.

I’m very excited about what my 29th Year will hold but thats for another blog post. Keep reading, commenting and asking questions. Love you all xxx

 

 

College – classes, serving, chapel and colour.

So next week is the second week of intensives, which college counts as being half way through the semester, which just seems impossible because I feel like I’m only just getting started. This post is going to contain some of my highlights, some info on classes and where I’m serving.

Classes – The teaching here is really interesting and thought provoking, this semester I am doing Old Testament Introduction, Mission and Culture, Public Speaking and Personal Leadership. For each class we have 1 and a half to 2 hours of lectures, these are incredible, I’m on my third notebook. Then for each class we have a tutorial with our core group, this is where we get a chance to go a little deeper, ask any questions and just see what other people pulled from the lecture. My core tutorial is the ‘oldest’ group of students, which is really nice as we are all focused on our studies and together we have so much life experience – there a fantastic group of people, who have all trust blessed my time at college so far.

Chapel – As students we have First Year Chapel on a Monday, and all College Chapel on Tuesday and Wednesday. Chapel always has amazing worship from our students and messages from college staff and leaders. Every chapel we have a three minute slot called out of the boat, where a college student has to give a message in three minutes, no more no less, it gets pretty crazy!

Colour Conference – for those of you know don’t know Colour Conference in Bobbie Houston’s Women’s conference and its amazing. She holds the first two conferences in Sydney and then travels around the rest of the world, this weekend she’s in the US. For conference one I was on Pastoral Care for Kids, so my role was to meet with any parents with children with additional needs and also to be available if a situation requiring a little more care occurred. It was a lovely week, I got to meet loads of students from the City campus and also got to talk to some of the staff at the brand new Sydney ICC theatre. For conference two the first year girls are actually able to attend the conference as delegates, so we got to sit into all the sessions. This years speakers at Sydney were Lisa Harper and Sy Rogers, the three days were beautiful – the worship was incredible, the speakers were inspiring and doing it as a core tutorial really bonded us as women!

Serving and Practicum – I basically serve in the Kids ministry in all areas 🙂 On a Sunday I sit in the 8am service, which I love as it is smaller and more intimate. Then I serve in Treasure Chest in the 11:15. Treasure Chest is the children program for children with additional needs, such as autism. They have there own set of rooms on there own floor with there own entrance, all rooms were purpose built in the new Epicentre, and includes a Sensory room, Soft play room and worship room – its incredible for the children. Then I serve in the 5pm on Cubby House, the 1-3s. I also serve in Cubby house every other week for Sisterhood. My practicum (this is my chosen pathway and what I get assessed on) is on a Wednesday afternoon, and I serve in the kids offices, its great to see another side of how the kids ministry is run, and its massive. This week one of my jobs was sending out postcards to all the children that attended for the first time last Sunday.

Assignments – so I’ve been busy doing lots of assignments, thankfully I’m ahead of schedule. Have managed to use the rainy days to get a big chunk of my assignments done. I’m now left with some assignments that require more thought and prayer, such as writing a mission statement for my life, figuring out my life’s core values and setting goals for my future, with steps to achieve them whilst I’m here. Its really good because it forces you to stop and think about some of the things that you sometimes forget about in the busyness of life.

My biggest achievement at college so far happened last Tuesday where I had my first public speaking assessment, a five minute community presentation. It went really well and I had some lovely feedback.

So thats just a little bit about life at Hillsong College. One of my goals is more blogging – so I’m holding myself accountable to you all, feel free to prompt me and also to message me with any questions you have about my life in Australia. Love and miss you all 🙂

My Nanny Daisy

So just over two weeks ago I lost one of the greatest women I had the honour to know, my Nanny Daisy. Honestly I was heartbroken, I was lost. After never not having my nan close by she left a massive gap, a massive loss. For two weeks though I held my tears in, I felt separated by the oceans and so separated myself from the grief, from the reality. But then reality struck, I crumbled, I couldn’t breathe, I cried two weeks of tears in two hours, I felt desperate, I felt alone, I felt broken.

For 24 hours I kind of checked out to cope, I walked through my day but didn’t really pay attention to it, I chatted with people but didn’t take it in, I sat a lot. And then I slept …

I woke up and it was like I suddenly remembered God was there, I wasn’t alone, yes I was sad, but I had a choice to make. I could sit and wallow, or I could give my grief to God and choose to celebrate – to celebrate my nan’s life, to celebrate the life i’ve been given and to embrace every day. I had 28 wonderful years with my Nan, a true gift from God, so i’m choosing to thank God for those memories, to embrace them, to find the joy in them, but not get caught up in them, not let the grief take over my life because thats not what my nan would want and its not why God has bought me here.

So this post is just to share some of my memories, to share some of the joy and love my nanny daisy bought into my life, to celebrate, to laugh, to engage with the past but not get stuck there. Its kind of a public therapy session, maybe some of you would like to post your memories in the comments (on here or Facebook), and we can find joy together…

 

My nanny Daisy:

Daisy the artist – Nan was a very creative person (I like to think I get some of my creativity from her, definitely didn’t get it from my mum). She loved to write and draw. We often found drawings or doodles, and lines of poetry in her paperwork. When me and Jenny were little we spent countless days cutting and sticking from catalogues, writing stories and making paintings into books. She taught me to knit and she didn’t go far without her crochet bag, she could crochet a blanket without paying attention, and her artistic individuality came out in her sometimes quirky choice of coloured stripes. She also showed her creative side in her constant need to rearrange her furniture, quite often we would pop around and catch her with the sofa in the middle of the room, the table blocking the doorway and there she would be trying to push an armchair by herself (in her eighties).

Daisy the dog lover – My nan introduced me to my love of dogs. My first dog wasn’t actually my dog, she was my nan’s – Kirsty. When nan moved into her flat in Wimborne she wasn’t allowed dogs so Kirsty moved in with us, and I loved her! Then when we moved to Wales and had our dogs they became nan’s as well. Scampa used to run outside and wait for nan to play football with him, and she loved telling everyone how great he was at it, and Oscar always jumped up on to the sofa, knocking nan backwards and gave her kisses all over when she came for Sunday dinner, and he doesn’t do that to just anyone.

Daisy the gymnast – we all have memories of nan showing us that even at 80 years of age she could still put her legs behind her head and doing exercises whilst lying on the bed with our legs in the air. I’ll always remember how after nan’s heart attack she came home with a booklet of recommended exercises and a giant elastic exercise band – and no matter how many times we tried to tell nan that they were mostly exercises for people that could do those exercises prior to their heart attack, nan was convinced she needed to be able to do them all, and try she did.

Daisy the walker – nan loved a  good walk (and a good car ride). All my life I’ve been on walks with my nan, walks through the New Forest, Upton Country Park, Moors Valley, Scotland, Sandbanks, Mumbles, Cadoxton, the Gnoll and Aberavon to name a few. When nan couldn’t physically do the walk anymore we got a wheelchair and took turns pushing her, although nan was hesitant to use the wheelchair at first she soon sat back and enjoyed the ride as she got to go to all the places she loved, and even some new places. Last summer we went to Burry Port for the first time and after a lovely walk had fish and chips, one of nan’s favourites, then after another walk enjoyed watching nan eat an ice-cream, another of her favourites. Nan loved Aberavon, and would go at every possibility – she loved having a little walk and then a coffee, or an ice-cream. Another great memory from last summer was taking nan down to Aberavon, which turned out to be the hottest day we had so it was packed, after fish and chips we pushed nan down the ramp and then sat her in her wheelchair on the edge of the sand – what I love about that day is that she got to watch Scarlett have her first summer beach day, and she loved every minute, especially the ice-cream on the way back to the car.

Daisy the traveller – nanny Daisy loved to learn about and see the world. In her life she visited Hong Kong, Dubai, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Holland, France and Germany. Growing up we had lots of holidays with nan in the trailer tent and the caravan, including joining us on our caravan holiday to Scotland. I take peace knowing that although I am separated from my family at this time, nan was so proud and excited that I was going out and seeing the world – especially Australia. After travelling here in her late 70s she came home full of life and love for Australia, so when I told her of my dreams/plans to come to Hillsong College she said GO! and here I am – maybe I get some of my dreams to see the world from her as well. A holiday I will always treasure was in Summer 2014 when me, mum and nan spent a week in Dorset, visiting favourite places, (Poole, Sandbanks, Bournemouth, Wimborne and the New Forest) sharing memories, recreating memories and creating new ones.

Daisy the giver of gifts – nan was so generous, you only had to say you liked something and she’d offered it to you. A favourite on a Sunday was seeing what she would pull out of her handbag for dessert. When she was still getting about she would always pop to the corner shop and pick up a packet of cakes or biscuits, however when she got less mobile she would just bring something from her cupboard, a tin of rice pudding, a tin of custard, a tin of peaches, a tin of sweetcorn, then during the next week mum (who had bought the tin in the first place) would have to sneak it back into her cupboard.

Daisy the mum/nan – Nanny Daisy was all about family. If you sat down for a chat she would talk about family – who she’d heard from, news from a postcard or sharing a memory. Nanny Daisy was blessed with a large family, and we were all blessed by being a part of it. Her flat was full of the latest photos of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, she was so proud of all of us. She loved and cared for us all so much, she would have given us all the moon if she could. She was truly the best nan you could have wished for – she taught me so much, believed in me always and encouraged me constantly.

I am so blessed to have so many happy memories of days spent with nan that I will treasure and stories that I will share with generations to come. So I guess that ends my therapy session – feel free to join in the sharing of joy, the celebration of life and leave your messages in the comments below or on Facebook. Thank-you for taking the time to read, I hope it bought to mind some of your own memories of nanny Daisy. Love you all xxx

Hillsong College – the experience.

So I’ve just finished my second week as a Hillsong International Leadership College Student. First week was enrolement and then this last week has been Intensives week. I thought I would give you all a mini diary of my two weeks of college 🙂

 

Monday 23/01/17. Evaluation Day. First day started with free breakfast which as a student is always a good thing. Then after a brief introduction to college we got split into streams, as pastoral students don’t have evaluations we had an introduction to the different pathways we can choose (kids, youth, social justice, church ministry, pastoral care, events) – it was in this session that I decided to go for kids not social justice as I had been thinking previously. We then had our photo taken for our student ID and that was first day done.

Tuesday 24/01/17 – Enrolement day! Today involved a lot of queuing but was very relaxed! We got our children’s checks and then we officially enrolled and selected our pathway and applied for our practicum! So exciting! Love that when you queue in Australia they make sure you get chairs – it was like a giant game of musical chairs all day!

Wednesday 25/01/17 – Orientation day! We had our first chapel, we heard two great messages from Lee Burns and Catrina Henderson, we watched interviews with other new students, heard all about sisterhood, worshiped together and had free lunch!

Then that was first week done – Australia Day gave us our first holiday, four days off, got to love Australia!

Second week. Intensives week – we have two weeks of intensives each semester. This semester our intensive subjects are Church and Ministry and Communication in Ministry. We will cover the first half of these subjects this week and then the second half in intensives week in April.

Monday 30th January (first day of classes) started with a morning session entitled how to maximise your college experience, in this session we were introduced to the college vision, the rules, whats expected of us, tips on applying for a job, dealing with homesickness, college timetables and portal and loads of important contact numbers and emails. This was my favourite slide from the morning:img_1116

After lunch we had our first afternoon of intensives – three hour-long sessions on Church and Ministry. In the first two sessions we broke down the mission statement of the church and then the last session was entitled what makes church church? Very interesting sessions and not too intense!

Tuesday 31st January – can’t believe its the last day of January already! Our day started at 12 with our first ever college chapel – its crazy! The college fills the Hub Auditorium, the worship was amazing and then we had another incredible message from Catrina Henderson. After lunch we had another block of three hour-long sessions, this time on Communication in Ministry. In this session we learned all about Healthy Communication skills, the importance of written communication and creative writing, and then communication that builds culture. This was another lovely and relaxed session, with a great lecturer.

Wednesday 1st February – Our first full day (9:00-5:15). Started with a session on our Practicum and our Passport. Then we had another hour on Communication in Ministry, which was with Michelle and she talked all about Cross Cultural Communication, it was really interesting. Then before lunch we had another College Chapel, where Lee Burns preached an incredible message ‘You are Empowered’. Then after lunch we had another three hour long sessions on Church and Ministry with Duncan Corby, the sessions were The House of God, The People of God and The Body of Christ – more incredible teaching.

Thursday 2nd February – another late start. 11am we had another Church and ministry session, entitled Weekend Services that Work – all about the elements of a Hillsong service and why they do what they do. We then had a lovely relaxed lunch. Then came our last block of intensives – four hours with Robert Fergusson – this was where intensives week got intense. He spoke about 10 languages we need to understand (although we didn’t get through them all), they included the language of the heart, the language of Adam, the language of light, the language of the prophets, the language of the spirit and the language of leadership. It was incredible, it was emotional … we all went home to process, it was an intense end to intensives week.

Friday 3rd February – started with a meet the pastors breakfast, where lots of the pastors put on a breakfast for all new intake. It was lovely, relaxed – with pastries and muffins. Then we had two safe church sessions – we found out all about health and safety and child safety. Then we got in a queue to have our children’s work interviews. Remember Australians sit when they queue, this time we also watched movies – I got through High School Musical and the Lion King. Inside out was just starting when I moved to the last queue …. it was getting late and it was getting obvious that we weren’t all going to get seen. Then it happened the queue was closed and we were asked to leave 😦 only I didn’t leave, I hung around in the last little group and thank-you God I was the LAST person interviewed that day!

End of intensives week 1!

This weekend the Children’s Work moved into the epicentre (church/college moves in next weekend). And I got to serve for the first time at Hillsong. I started at 6:30am (early early start). I blew up balloons, then I crashed the Kids leaders tour of the epicentre – the rooms are beautiful, the treasure chest rooms (special needs) are amazing, the facilities are going to be such a blessing to the children – then I served on welcoming, where I signed the children into there group and then helped direct them to the right room. One good thing about the epicentre being new is that everyone is having to learn there way around not just us newbies. Then I got to serve in the All Stars group (don’t actually know how old they are), it was so much fun. I can’t wait to get my placement on Wednesday to find out where I will be serving this semester.

This Sunday I attended the end of the 11:15 service and caught another fantastic message from Robert Fergusson. Then we had Bethel leading worship at the 6pm service and Pastor Brian preached for the first time since I’ve been in Australia. It was a fantastic Sunday!

 

Today is Monday and I have another long day – a one hour meet your tutorial session at 10:30am and that is all – so now its 12:30 and I am done. This week is lecture week, so I have the first lecture in all my other subjects. Full timetable starts next week when I will have my practicum placements and lectures and tutorials. This semester my subjects are: Church and Ministry, Communication in Ministry, Mission and Culture, Old Testament Introduction, Personal Leadership, and Public Speaking and Presentation.

So yes, I still don’t know what a normal week is going to look like, should have more of an idea on Wednesday, so will fill you all in then. Thank you for reading, I hope your enjoying a little glimpse into life at Hillsong International Leadership College.

Australia – settling in and being a tourist.

So I have now been in Australia for two and a half weeks and I’m now an official Hillsong College Student.

So my first full week was spent doing lots of cleaning, shopping and full of crazy bus trips with ridiculous amounts of boxes and bags! There was a lot of time spent sitting in front of a fan contemplating how I was going to actually go to college in this crazy hot weather – all I can say is that I truly thank God for the creator of air conditioning and the beautiful air conditioning at Hillsong church and college. (As I type this up I have got up super early and am sitting at college even though I don’t have class for 3 hours – guessing by second week my energy levels may have failed a bit).

Finally finished my room – so I want to say a massive thank you again for everyone who gave me a gift, I feel truly blessed – and now have a space that feels like mine, like home, even though I’m half the world away! (See above pics)

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During the first week and a half all my beautiful housemates trickled in, filling the big empty house with love, laughter and luggage. We are an ‘older’ house, ages ranging from 22-34, and we are a true international house – two from the UK (Wales and England), New Zealand, USA/Russia, Hawaii, South Africa and Chile.

Have only known these lovely ladies for two weeks but they’ve already blessed my life more than they can realise – the last two weeks have been emotionally exhausting but these girls have helped me through, they’ve given me hugs, kind words and prayer support, they’ve kept e smiling and kept me going – so blessed to have them as my ‘Australian’ family –  love you all!

In the last two weeks I’ve also embraced being a tourist – I want to make the most of every opportunity to see Australia. On our first day trip to Sydney we didn’t really know what the plan was, on arrival we found a Starbucks and settled in (it was raining), then we walked for 40 minutes (in the wrong direction) visited some beautiful churches and some shops. Eventually after realising we were heading in the wrong direction we turned around and headed in search of food, and then the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney (thanks to my Auntie Linda’s advice). The gardens were absolutely beautiful, we literally took hundreds of photos, you wouldn’t believe you were in the centre of Sydney, I plan to spend some more time here. Then we found Sydney Opera House (a lot yellower in real life) – more photos were taken.

The 26th January is Australia Day – which means after three days of college we were off (this college thing is so hard lol). Our local family park, Bella Vista Farm, had a family fun day event, I got to see Sheep Shearing, Whip Cracking and Working Dogs. We then went into Sydney to see the Darling Harbour fireworks, I’m not going to lie I didn’t suddenly develop a love of fireworks, but from our spot on the bridge we were pretty much in the fireworks and it was beautiful.

Then 28th January was Chinese New Year – we set off into Sydney early and walked around the Chinese Garden of Friendship, it is so pretty, like a little oasis in the middle of the city. We then got to see some Chinese lion dancing – which was really interesting. Then we walked through China Town (which was full of Australian tourist shops) and headed to a massive indoor market place (also full of Australian tourist shops). After a lunch stop we walked around Circular Quay and viewed all the Lunar lanterns (which are massive animal figures, representing each of the Lunar Zodiac signs). Then we took our first boat trip back to Darling Harbour – then I realised I had had way to much sun so headed home – it was a great day.

Ok – so I’m having a problem linking photos to my laptop with the lack of wifi so these will have to do for now – plan to post more on Facebook so check out there.

Sorry if this blog posts seems really random but I’ve been writing it in shifts every time i visit the college. My next blog post will cover enrolment and first week of college. Feel free to message me any questions – love and miss you all!