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

 

 

Advertisements

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 🙂