Friday, December 08, 2006

apPARently I'm ...

Just to follow the crowd and do the brutally honest personality test... ouch! I guess it's hard being...

Almost Perfect- INFP
33% Extraversion, 53% Intuition, 33% Thinking, 33% Judging

So, you want to make the world a better place? Too bad it's never gonna happen.

Of all the types, you have to be one of the hardest to find fault in. You have a selfless and caring nature. You're a good listener and someone who wants to avoid conflict. You genuinely desire to do good.

Of course, these all add up to an incredibly overpowered conscience which makes you feel guilty and responsible when anything goes wrong. Of course, it MUST be your fault EVERYTIME.

Though you're constantly on a mission to find the truth, you have no use for hard facts and logic, which is a source of great confusion for those of us with brains. Despite this, in a losing argument, you're not above spouting off inaccurate fact after fact in an effort to protect your precious values.

You're most probably a perfectionist, which in this case, is a bad thing. Any group work is destined to fail because of your incredibly high standards.

Disregard what I said before. You're just easy to find fault in as everyone else!

Luckily, you're generally very hard on yourself, meaning I don't need to waste my precious time insulting you. Instead, just find all your own faults and insult yourself.


If you want to learn more about your personality type in a slightly less negative way, check'>">check out this.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Your 1950s Name is:
Betty Charlene
Your Quirk Factor: 47%
You're a pretty quirky person, but you're just normal enough to hide it.Congratulations - you've fooled other people into thinking you're just like them!
How Quirky Are You?
Your Personality Cluster is Introverted Thinking
You are:
Objective, honest, and credibleIntellectually curious, with many diverse interestsMore inclined toward ideas than peopleFiercely independent and unapologetically unconventional

bored much?

You Are Jan Brady
Brainy and a little introverted, you tend to think life is a lot worse than it actually is.And while you may think you're a little goofy looking, most people consider you to be a major babe.
What Brady Are You?

Monday, November 20, 2006

after much anticipation

The moment has arrived, I got my speccie blood donor card in the mail today (double yay-factor whammie - I got mail, AND I found out my blood type on my new shiny card). After WEEKS of anticipation (never minding the fact I could probably have easily found out by looking on my birth certificate, I preferred to ignore that fact and savour the anticipation of waiting for my card) my blood type is...


I was slightly disappointed - NEG sounds a little more pessimistic than POS, which has a more optimistic ring to it. But I'll get the all-knowing Anne to fill me in on the benefits of A NEG this arvo.

YAY BLOOD [donating]

Saturday, November 18, 2006

doo be doo bah

Well because Emma, my wonderful friend, subtley hinted that I should update, I figured I'd better.

So what's new? Nothing much. Had my last uni exam on thursday (philosophy exams - *shudder*. I considered just drawing a giant question mark (a la Room with a View) and leaving it at that, but of course I could never bring myself to actually do it.) No alarms went off this time. And now I'm trying to find stuff to do, and get used to not feeling guilty that I'm not studying! Bliss!

Mum, Dad and Jon arrived back a bit over a week ago, and are settling back into life in Adelaide - no more ridiculously picturesque scenery greeting them everywhere they go (although the Adelaide hills aren't THAT bad) and daily trips to quaint and funky cafe's ;) There's an overall tally of 3000 photos to show for it as well!

And now there seem to be fire-engines apparently heading into the area around the church, so I think I'll go sus that one out... eep!
* Update 30 seconds later - they're not heading for the church, but for Eden Park. Apparently it's nothing big - lets hope so! There seems to be a theme running through my posts...

Saturday, November 04, 2006

alarm bells

So had my first exam today- Classics. Only had one day to study for it (been working for the rest of the week on other essays - only one more to go: 2500 words in 36 hours? Easy! not.) so wasn't feeling majorly prepared. Regardless of that, it was going OK, had almost finished with half an hour to go... and the alarms went off!! That's right, the alarms. Shrieking alarms.

I half expected/hoped that those roof sprinklers would come on, but alas, no such luck. Everyone just sat there for about 5 mins not sure whether to run for their lives in a sudden frenzy or just ignore them and try and keep writing. The former won out (kind of, except it was more at a confused yet calm pace) and everyone was evacuated - that's right, the entire Wayville pavilion full of students doing their exams, in the writing zone, suddenly shuffling out onto the oval. A lot of people were pretty annoyed (especially if we have to resit it on the 18th) but personally I found it kind of exciting.

That's my story for today :P

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Sleepy Cat

OK, so THIS is the final one - something cute to finish of the youtube wave...!!
The Easter Bunny hates you

Me and Ez found this at about midnight last night - the bashing up stuff's a bit stupid (lol, as opposed to the rest of it?!) but watch out for his walk in Time Sq, and the ice cream!

(last youtube, i promise!)
chin monkeys

they actually look like monkeys!
Harry Potter & the Goblet of Chin People

mighty mighty all blacks

No explanation necessary, the Haka speaks for itself. Boo yah!

OK well actually, for the sake of education, here's the translation:

Ka mate, ka mate! Ka ora! ka ora!
Ka mate! Ka mate! Ka ora! Ka ora!
Tēnei te tangata pūhuruhuru
Nāna nei i tiki mai whakawhiti te rā
A upa ... ne! ka upa ... ne!
A upane kaupane whiti te ra!

’Tis death! ‘tis death! (or: I may die) ’Tis life! ‘tis life! (or: I may live)
’Tis death! ‘tis death! ’Tis life! ‘tis life!
This the hairy man that stands here...
…who brought the sun and caused it to shine
A step upward, another step upward!
An step upward, another... the Sun shines!

Monday, October 30, 2006

to when you roll the dice...

OC- I love it! Unashamedly.

As well as the obvious emotional turbulance that this clip sends you into (good emotional turbulance that is), the editing's so well done. The music, the glitter, the "thrrreeeeee" as Ryan throws open the door, the slow down at *cough* appropriate moments... Those were the days when Marissa was alive!!New season starts next Tues... Ok I'm going to shut up about the OC now- am I turning into one of 'those' people whose blogs are dedicated to soaps? Ah!

(Music's Dice by Finley Quaye- great song. Montage song.)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

chef a la harris'

Ah, what a happy scene.... Ez, me, and our amazing napoletana-chicken-mushroom-broccolini-pasta bake! We were so proud of it we had a bit of a photo shoot...
Isn't it beautiful?
First we loved it, then we ate it.


That last one's a funny story actually. Well I don't know about funny, probably a bit boring, but a story. We each got free knives at the supermarket the other day - you know those telemarket ads where they try and sell you life-changing utensils with multiple free extras you never knew you needed so badly before? Well it was like that... but LIVE. We had to stand there for 5 mins of so while the women showed us how this *awesome* knife could cut through hammers and solid wood etc, and then we got a free knife for our time. Woo!

Monday, October 23, 2006

I would like to revisit a debate that occured approx 10 months ago.

Please focus your attention on the meal in the middle :: see, it's written in print, it's spag BOG not spag BOL!

I rest my case.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

we need to get some brid! (bread)

Well would you believe it, at the moment I'm writing in the picturesque town of Pahia in the Bay of Islands on the North Island of New Zealand! It's the sort of place where pine forests and lush rainforests meets the coast. After we arrived on tuesday we spent a few days in Auckland, and now we're just kicking back and relaxing before we move across the bay to Russell in a couple of days. Mum and I were adventurous this arvo and took 'the fastest' speed boat trip around the bay, through the 'Hole in a Rock' (imaginative name - it's uh... a hole... in a rock - looks pretty awesome!) and around all these different islands. Lots of fun! It was really cute, there was this little jack russell dog that was with the skipper, who kept on wandering around, and knew when we were about to slow down and would come out and look over the side, lol.

Missing you all, hope you're doing well - for all you uniers you'd better be making the most of the last few days of hols :P

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Egypt pixies

haha, yep...
How funky - Connie heels! I thought of Erin...
OH the novelty!
A quick jaunt on the camel (literally, it got up, walked in a little circle to have some photos, and then sat down again! Joh and Karen went on as well) - I figured, when in Cairo... :P

Me, Joh, Mike, David and Pyramid
Kat, Joh and I looking pretty with the pyramids

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


After some subtle hinting that it's well time I updated, here it is. After weeks of anticipation... an update!
SO I'm on holidays, which is always good. Today I've enjoyed a very lovely sleep in (after going to sleep at 10 - so early!) and am lapping up the warm weather... well I was until it started raining! I even washed my slippers. I love down time.

I'm in a pleasantly spaced out mood today. At 3am on monday morning I finished my philosophy essay on dualism, which I have now triumphantly crossed off on my whiteboard with great satisfaction. Now I've only got a couple of other things to do for uni before we leave for NZ next tuesday (I'm going for a couple of weeks, Mum, Dad and Jon for 6/7 for those of you not in the know - I'm even missing the first week of uni *gasp*!)

On a more exciting note - Lib got back on Sunday! Welcome home Lib! Lisa, Dave and I met her at the airport which was very cool, and then mosied on back to her place for dinner. We got to have a squizz at some her tres funky fashion buys, as well as American mags (it's funny, all the articles they advertise on the front cover only ever seemed to be one page long!) Looking fwd to Steph's Potluck din dins for her on Thurs nite to catch up on the last 6 months, and just hang out!

Yesterday Edwin, Annie, Miz and I headed up to the EU leadership conference at Belair (I think it's the same you went to for the Rotary camp u went on Andre if ur reading this - I recognised it from the photos! it's such a nice place!) where I found out I have a 'Reflector' learning style, learned a bit about Leviticus (after just typing that out I realised I've been wrongly pronouncing that as 'Levictitus' my whole life!) had a great time getting to know other ppl from EU a bit more, amongst other things!

Even though it almost feels like the moments gone to continue my gradual recap of the trip, I also decided that today would be an apt opportunity to that - esp if blogger lets me upload photos!

EGYPT:: land of the pharaohs

We descended into the smog of Cairo at 12.30 am, trying to spot giant pyramid shapes in the dark! It was sad to leave our little oasis Kenya - we'd already done so much and we had so much more to go. I had a sense that Egypt was going to be completely different, and I was right! Despite tiredness (and grumpiness*cough*) we were all excited to be in Cairo!! The airport was big, white and foreign with the majority of signs in Arabic (or Aramaic?) and lots of security checks. At one of the checks everyone got through but David (who's Sudanese) - that was really frustrating, to see the racial prejudice (it happened at Hong Kong airport on the way home as well)

There were all these people crowding around outside the doors as we walked out which was a bit overwhelming (I started recounting the stories these women from church had told me, clutching my arm and telling me to wear loose unattractive clothing, don't make eye contact with anyone for fear it being mistaken for being open to a marriage proposal, and always walk in a group with men surrounding you!!), as well as "helpful" men buzzing around us trying to grab our bags to take them to the bus. That's when I was glad we were in a group - Gab started softly singing our theme song the kids at MCF sang, "it's okay, it's okay" which was funny...
Cairo's huge (19 mill pop), and insanely alive at 2am in the morning - people everywhere, kids selling fairy floss, boats lit up with coloured lights, music, partying etc. It was great! We were welcomed to the guesthouse by Murray (a friendly Kiwi with a pleasantly weathered face who runs the place with his wife) and divvied up into our apartments.

Here's a rundown of the next few days activities:

7/9 = big tourist day, shown around by our tour guides Michael and Michael (that's not a typo)
  • PYRAMIDS & SPHINX!!! = many many photos, pushy locals trying to sell us things (even kids - it was kind of sad that they were so shrewd, probably the best in the business with cuteness to their advantage), first successful haggling experience, and general wowness.
  • Checking out Coptic churches (big emphasis on the story about Mary, Joseph and Jesus fleeing to Egypt (Matt 2:13-18) to escape Herod)
  • Lunch on the Nile
  • Antiquities Museum (inc. seeing the Mummy room which had about 10 Mummies, King Tut's bling, and massive ancient statues of Akhenaten, Rameses, and even an Egyptian style Alexander the Great - seeing all this stuff I'd been learning about was amazing!)

8/9 = Jon's b'day

  • Found out about Refuge Egypt @ Cathedral (who do great stuff with the Sudanese refugees in Egypt)
  • Free time to wander streets - lunch (we boringly did the safe option of getting pizza - Italian food in Egypt!) and shopping
  • 'Interfaith dialogue' with some Muslims and a Coptic Christian. The most vocal Muslims were about as liberal as you can get ("I'm a Muslim, Catholic, Jew - we're all the same!") and tended to go off on tangents, which was just frustrating and not very helpful. But the reasons the facilitators had for the discussion was admirable (in terms of promoting more understanding), and partic a couple of the younger ones had some really articulate and honest things to say - it was a shame they tended to get talked over! It also got some good convo's going after, as well as highlighted some of the different views within the group. Also got me thinking about the whole issue of tolerance...

9 - 10/7

  • Got sick!! Along with about half the group. Not nice. Also meant it was the toughest day in terms of homesickness. BUT got to ring Mum and Dad (at 2am Adelaide time!) and have a teary little convo which made me feel better - albeit the briefness! Also made me really appreciate the prayer-network at home :D
  • Left at midnight to fly down to Kenya (hours of hanging round at Nairobi airport) and then down to Rwanda! It was pretty funny/embarassing on the plane - you know when so tired that you literally keep your eyes open? Well I was exhausted and slept almost the whole way, but still wanted my inflight meal, so when they came around I was sort of slurring my words and doing the whole tired, heavy-lid blinking thing. I think (tho my memory's not so clear at that point) the airhostess was trying not to laugh at me... ;)

kenya pix

Mueni Mulli introducing our breakfast at MCF Yatta - look on the right, BANANAS!!
African landscape at MCF, with Lindy and Rose
Awesome MCF kids singing for us
Everyone looking chirpy at Nairobi airport, 5am
Our delish food (half devoured) at MCF

Thursday, August 24, 2006

assumed evangelicalism ... say wha?

In the habit of few but lengthy posts, here's an article from a few years ago which I came across in my 'random stuff' file on my comp. I can't remember if Dad put it on Hikanos, or I came across it otherwise, but as I'm learning more about the church I grew up in, it now has heightened relevance and interest. It's long, I know, but I thought it was interesting!

Just for the sake of clarity, a couple of brief definitions* **:
*partial courtesy to - now with a new look! No joke,'s gone all modern. Am I a nerd for actually noticing and commenting on that :P?
** these definitions may be debatable

evangelical: 'Christian churches that emphasize teachings and authority of Scriptures, esp the New Testament, in opposition to the institutional authority of the church itself, and stress as paramount the tenet that salvation is achieved by personal conversion to faith in atonement of Christ.'

In other words, an evangelical church is one that puts authority on the Scriptures or Bible (rather than holding the Bible in a 'useful read but not necessarily nessecary' light), in particular on how we can only be saved, or have a relationship with God, through Jesus Christ (not our own works, by being 'good'). It's probably more complex than that, but that's my simple definition.
'Evangelical' in itself isn't a denomination - for example St Matts is Anglican evangelical, but there's also Baptist evangelical, Lutheran evangelical, and so forth. In Adelaide there is a minority of evangelicals, and a majority of Liberals (not to be confused with the political party) who in general don't place as much (if any in some cases...) authority on the Bible, or keeping to the message that the only way to get to God is through Jesus.

The word evangelical is often confused with evangelism which is different: this is the "zealous preaching and advocacy of the gospel", or telling people about Jesus as Christ.

Now that's cleared up, onto the article:

Assumed Evangelicalism

Posted on 31/12/2004 Filed in: articles
This article comes courtesy of The Briefing, one of Australia’s leading Christian magazines. For more info, samples, and subscription information visit
their website.

Some reflections en route to denying the gospel By David Gibson

Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. (Heb 2:1)


You may have heard the story of the Mennonite Brethren movement. One particular analysis goes like this: the first generation believed and proclaimed the gospel and thought that there were certain social entailments. The next generation assumed the gospel and advocated the entailments. The third generation denied the gospel and all that were left were the entailments. (1)

Proclaiming, assuming, denying—it is a story that could be told many times over, and is repeated in the lives of many a movement. (2) In this article, I want to suggest that evangelicalism is exactly one such ‘movement’, and to examine what evangelicalism in the middle stage, the assumed stage, looks like.

Firstly, let me suggest a definition:

Assumed evangelicalism believes and signs up to the gospel. It certainly does not deny the gospel. But in terms of priorities, focus, and direction, assumed evangelicalism begins to give gradually increasing energy to concerns other than the gospel and key evangelical distinctives, to gradually elevate secondary issues to a primary level, to be increasingly worried about how it is perceived by others and to allow itself to be increasingly influenced both in content and method by the prevailing culture of the day.

It is relatively straightforward to point to individuals, churches, movements and institutions that are clearly either proclaiming the gospel or denying it; it is extremely difficult to spot assumed evangelicalism and to evaluate and critique it. It is assumed evangelicalism. It acknowledges all the right things. There is an in-between-ness about assumed evangelicalism and the crossing of boundaries is notoriously hard to see until you have arrived on the other side.

And so, wary of the risk of being judgemental, and fully aware that we are, by the nature of the case, speaking about potentialities more than actualities, let’s see what we can say about assumed evangelicalism. What does the phase actually look like? What are its characteristics? We can address the issue positively by asking two questions to determine which of the three stages best describes ourselves and our ministries.

1. To what extent does the gospel dictate our priorities in life, and the visions and strategies of our churches, movements and institutions?

Evangelical Church—and an assumed gospel

Imagine Soundville Evangelical Church around the corner. A typical evangelical church with a Sunday school and youth work, a mid-week prayer meeting, two services on a Sunday with lively hymns, contemporary songs and half-hour sermons. How would we know if this was a church that was beginning to just assume the gospel? There could be at least two symptoms:


It is quite possible that the gospel is preached, but the Christian congregation do not make the connection between that gospel and their own lives. The gospel is regarded as being for the outsiders, the non-Christians who ever so rarely slip in to one of the services. And, when we limit the gospel to unbelievers we begin to adopt non-gospel ways of relating to God and to others, aka, legalism.

But in any church legalism may also exist in other forms, such as everyone constantly appearing sorted and problem-free, or preaching that constantly scolds and sets unrealistic standards.
The antidote to legalism is always to recover the sheer scandal of the gospel of grace.

Expounding Romans 6:1, Martyn Lloyd-Jones had this penetrating insight:

There is no better test as to whether a man is really preaching the New Testament gospel of salvation than this: that some people might misunderstand it and misinterpret to mean that … because you are saved by grace alone it does not matter at all what you do; you can go on sinning as much as you like because it will redound all the more to the glory of grace … If my preaching and presentation of the gospel of salvation does not expose it to that misunderstanding then it is not the gospel. (3)

In other words, the effect of truly grasping the gospel is to find ourselves amazed at the fact that what we do adds nothing and takes away nothing from what God has done for us in the Lord Jesus.


The other symptom of assuming the gospel is exactly what we meet in Romans 6:1: licence—thinking that because the gospel of grace is so amazing it really does not matter how we live from now on.

The most common form this takes is moral licence—I am saved by grace so my sexual immorality or my gossiping and coveting does not really bother God. In Soundville Evangelical Church there may be some Christians who are assuming the gospel like this, with very real and serious consequences.

However there is another type of licence and this is probably more likely to afflict the church as a whole: practical licence. What happens here is that the gospel is assumed as being true and important but actual church practice has little to do with it. So, for instance, a church that is just assuming the gospel in this way will begin to foster distorted spirituality, a spirituality that seeks to draw near to God other than “by the blood of Jesus” (see Heb 10:19-20). We need to realize that, if it is the blood of Jesus that draws us near to God, then singing, religious art, breathtaking scenery and church buildings do not. According to the gospel, we are no closer to God in the pew than the pub.

2. To what extent do the key features of evangelicalism dictate our priorities in life, and the visions and strategies of our churches, movements and institutions?

Evangelical study of theology—and assumed biblical authority In the book Letters Along the Way: A Novel of the Christian Life, the senior scholar Professor Paul Woodson writes to the young Timothy Journeyman who has just embarked on theological study:

I doubt very much that evangelicals are wise to pursue academic respectability. What we need is academic responsibility. There is a world of difference. Elevating academic respectability to the level of controlling desideratum is an invitation to theological and spiritual compromise. (4)

Academic respectability and academic responsibility adopt different approaches to the matter of biblical authority. Respectability will assume that the Bible is truthful and authoritative, but realizes that to draw attention to this in the academy will often bring scorn and derision. And so it keeps quiet, and keeps evangelical convictions apart from academic study.

Responsibility, on the other hand, holds onto biblical authority, even when that is not a position shared in the wider academic world. Striving to be responsible means students will work to the best of their ability, weighs all the options, thinks openly and creatively, and reads widely—but will be governed by the desire to remain faithful to the Bible and not the academy.

Evangelical Movements—and the assumed cross

I recently read through the magazine of an influential evangelical charitable organization. The word that I met most frequently was ‘justice’ and its many applications to various socio-political and economic crises and the very right need for action and intervention. What is being obscured is the fact that God’s justice would consume the oppressed refugee in a shanty town as much as it would consume the privileged westerner. The storyline of the whole Bible presents us with the cross as the place where God uniquely demonstrates his justice with the result that, as one writer has put it, “What Golgotha secured for us was not sympathy but immunity”. (5)

I do not wish to be misunderstood here. I am not suggesting that organizations like this do not believe what I have stated about the cross. However, by just assuming this truth, rather than clearly and repeatedly articulating it, there is vast potential for the next generation to deny what they have simply never had the chance to understand.


In each of the areas it is vital to realize that the temptations we face are often exceedingly subtle. Some evangelical biographies and histories give the impression that difficult decisions only need to be made when we reach a watershed moment, a clear-cut choice between truth and error. In reality, such crisis points come about because of daily decisions, made on a minute scale and over a period of time, to either assume evangelical distinctives or actively articulate them.

Individually, every day, we face the choice whether to sit under the Bible alone, to run to the cross alone and look to Christ alone or to begin to shift our gaze on to other things. Once we begin simply to assume these truths, then we are already beginning to stop conducting ourselves “in step with the truth of the gospel” (Gal 2:14). The potential consequences for ourselves are harmful; for the generation following us they are disastrous.

David Gibson is a postgraduate student at Aberdeen (Scotland) and editor of The Biblical Theology Briefings ( This is an extract of an article which first appeared in the RTSF Newsletter From Athens to Jerusalem, Vol 3, Issue 4, Autumn 2002. To read the article in full, visit

1. D. A. Carson, The Primacy of Expository Preaching, Tape 1. Address given at Bethlehem Conference for Pastors, 1995. 2. See Risto Lehtonen, Story of a Storm, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1998. 3. D. M. Lloyd-Jones, “The New Man: An Exposition of Chapter 6”, Banner of Truth, London, 1972, p. 8. 4. D. A. Carson and J. D. Woodbridge, Letters Along the Way: A Novel of the Christian Life, Crossway, Illinois, 1993, p. 174. 5. Donald Macleod, The Person of Christ, IVP, Downers Grove, 1998, p. 178.

Monday, August 07, 2006

next exciting installment: KENYAN ADVENTURES!!

Kenya: 4 - 6 July

Right, so where were we. Touchdown in Nairobi - 4.30 am local time! We had our first taste of the infamous 'African time' we'd heard so much about when our bus that was scheduled to arrive at 6am to take us out to MCF (will explain more about that later) eventually arrived at 7.30. But I didn't really mind - we had plenty of time to chill out, play uno, look in a little newsagency that was exciting because it was in Kenya, but which sold merchandise remarkably similar to our own ($2 Cleo mag anyone?) Actually getting changed in the lovely but rather squeezy toilets proved a bit of a challenge - I worked out as I was wedged between the wall and the toilet door that it's a good idea to take off large travellers backpack before entering stall with inward opening door.

When the bus eventually came we all managed to fit in somehow - what would usually be a 12 seater in Aus, in Kenya fit all 26 of us in (with little fold down chairs in the aisles, that were fun to play corners with as they could tilt at a 45 degree angle when you sat on them (or lent on them if u were sitting behind, mwahaha) at the right angle). What would you expect to see when you first drove out of Nairobi airport? Sweeping planes? African style trees? A giraffe grazing? Well, we saw all of those within minutes of getting in the bus! I think it was just a freakishly lucky coincidence that a giraffe happened to be there becuase we didn't see any others wandering round like that for the rest of the trip, but it was a pretty cool welcome to Africa. The next thing (apart from the tall spotty wildlife) that I noticed as we drove along was people walking in the streets - seems like a natural thing to do, I know, but there were just so many people walking along the sides of the road! On bikes, carrying things, doing whatever. There were a lot of other buses and trucks around (before going thru the city centre later), but walking's the most practical way to get around. Novel idea really, walking ;)

The driving was pretty interesting - our driver really liked the horn, and timing his overtakings just so we would be gripping our seats in fear and holding our breaths. Another thing that's hard not to notice is just how Christian Kenya is (apparently 90% of the population call themselves Christian of some sort) - a lot of the buses have some sort of God slogan on them (and are really colourful - a lot of them individually decorated, with bright purple paint) and signs all over the place for different churches (even tho judging by the areas we were driving thru a lot of them may not have been more than lean-to's or sheds). The areas we drove thru were pretty poor - stalls lining the roads in places (wooden poles supporting tin shed roof) selling furniture, clothes, food, shoes.

One of the villages we passed thru, we paused for a second on the road, and as soon as we did that all these people from the stalls ran up to the windows and swarmed around the outside of the bus to try and sell us things. I was next to a window, so I closed it quickly before I had a bunch of bananas thrust in my face (and felt affirmed in this instinct when David, who was sitting next to me, said 'you did well', haha). I didn't know whether to feel bad or not - it felt so rude to do that! Going to the
Mully Children's Family (MCF) was a really positive way to start the trip. It's a "street children's rescue ministry" with an amazing story behind it of how it started, and has grown into a huge ministry over 5 branches, caring for around 1000 kids who are in particular need of 'special care and protection'. Each child has their own story, and most of them are pretty horrific. But although you could see they still carried pain with them, they didn't seem hopeless - actually just how happy, hopeful and centred many of them were was pretty astounding. What I really admired about the way the home's operated was how gospel based they were - they hadn't grown into a cold corporate entity, but each staff member, mission statement, program or whatever was centred around the Gospel (from as much as we could see!)

We first dropped into MCF Yatta, which is relatively new - it "caters for 220 street girls, child mothers, former commercial sez workers, and abused girls" and teaches them vocational studies like computer skills, hairdressing, dressmaking etc. We had a tour around there, and had a second breakfast - including the much coveted BANANAS!! We then went onto MCF Ndalani, which cares for over 500 kids (little ones, to bigger ones), as well as having about 100 acres for farming (which I didn't realise was so extensive). We had a gorgeous lunch there under some trees, watched a couple of video's on MCF and had a couple of singing groups sing for us. One of the highlights of the visit would've been when we spent some time with the little kids, and when they were told to, all swarmed towards us and took one of our hands each and dragged us thru to show us their individual bunk beds, and where they kept their shoes and clothes etc - all the whole eagerly smiling at us, and being simultaneously shy and openly curious.

The next day was wonderfully full and intense - we were welcomed at our guesthouse by about a dozen Sudanese pastors (Sudan's just above Kenya, and has a complex history of civil war, with only about 10 yrs of relative peace since 1955, just for a bit of info) in what I think is the most joyous, exhuberant and welcoming welcome I've ever had. We again piled into our buses and cars and went out to a church where we had a 3 1/2 hour church service with the Sudanese congregation. It was one of those things where you wish you could've written down everything that was said in the service, because so many people spoke in such a heartfelt way, about the different issues facing them and crying out for help from us their brothers and sisters in Christ, that is was impossible to remember all the profound things that were said! When we first walked in we were greeted by the beautiful, strong, almost wailing style of singing African's seem to have, and a pounding drum beat (new ambition: learn to play drums). There were speakers on the history of the Sudan and the aspects of the warring - political, religious (largely Christian and Islam), economic (eg the south, with a majority of Christians, has the majority of oil) - which made me realise how little I knew about it before hand (when we're in our little bubble of comfort at home, it can be easier just to ignore things like that, or not let them have a personal impact on you). One female priest (woo!) called Rebecca got up and spoke at one stage, in the most emotional way (pretty charismatic in personality and spiritual gift)saying that these (the Sudanese church) were her children, and they are lost. She also asked how the West could spend so much money to go to the moon, but not the Sudan - effectively feigning ignorance. That got a big laugh from the Sudanese, but stuck in our minds. Another guy - a youth pastor - also talked about how though we were from different continents, we were one in Christ's blood, and that if you looked at the blood of a white and a black man, you couldn't tell the difference.

There was a lot more from that service, but that's enough for here I think. After that we had lunch (again bowled over by their hospitality - how much they'd cooked, and had special tables set up for us while everyone else just sat on chairs). I also had an interesting encounter with a rather full squat toilet - but hey, when nature calls ... you just have to hold your breath against the smell and yeah... It was great meeting people from the congregation after the service - learning how to communicate with them when language is a bit of a barrier, and without being patronising! Actually seeing how others in the group did that was pretty invaluable - one of the bonus' of going in a group. Seeing the strength of their (the Sudanese) faith despite (or because of?) their trials - it was really refreshing. But also seeing where they need help (eg theological training for pastors) was useful as well as sad.

We walked around Nairobi in the afternoon and did a little shopping - it didn't feel as different or as foreign as I expected actually. That night we debriefed and chatted together - I had lots of questions raised in my head about how to respond to such pleas for help. Hearing things like that - you can't just walk away, it felt like we'd had a responsibility placed on our shoulders to do something. Still working that one out!

If you've got to the end of this, congratulations! This whole chapter thing wasn't such a bad idea ;)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

oh man

i know i'm breaking the whole chapter thing, but ...

I was on the bus this morning - it was pretty full with a whole class from MHS going into town as well, so I was standing near the front, holding on to one of the poles behind the chairs with one hand. We'd stopped at a stop (oh, is that what you do there?), and were just starting up again - you know how it is on a bus where it's pretty jerky. I started to lose my balance so I went to grab the pole with my other hand by reflex and ... back handed the girl sitting in the seat next to/in front of me, across the cheek, by accident! Not even a light tap, my knuckle hurt afterwards! It was so bad! So I sort of exclaimed and apologised, and thought 'damn, I knew I should've brought that ice pack with me' ... And then one of the girls from MHS who was sitting opposite poor back-handed girl started giggling, and I had to stop myself from doing the same because then I would've appeared violent AND sadistic. I felt like the girl in the Princess Diaries before she gets a makeover, lol. Then my friend got on, and was telling me about last week when she accidentally fell into someones lap on the bus - you know where the fold down seats are where the seats are opposite one another? So that was pretty funny (dw, we were out of earshot of the poor back handed girl).

Just had to let you know...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

yay, pics!

Elenka, Rose, Catie and Gabriel looking chirpy at 5am, Melbourne airport
This was at a shop in Melb airport, I had to take a photo - sheep placenta?! lol!
It's a bit hard to read, but this was at Hong Kong airport, an ad for 'Wing Wah Wife Cake' - we never really worked out why it was called that, bit it was pretty funny. Brad's new nickname for Joh's now Wife Cake, ha! I didn't get a photo of it, but in Nairobi we saw this LG shop, which underneath the LG sign said 'Housewife's Paradise!' I was simultaniously outraged and cracking up

Kat on our first flight enjoying the novelties of flying - complimentary headphones, and little plastic spoons.

The view out of the window at Hong Kong airport - pretty stunning! Our little Adelaide hills look puny in comparison :P

L to R - Scott, Gabriel, me & Rose (a little travel weary and slightly hysterical by this stage?) - we were in the doorway of the plane during the stopover at Bangkok (btw Lib the trip seems so roundabout because there's no flight straight to Nairobi - we had to fly Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong, then switch to Kenyan Airways from there to Nairobi, with a stop over for whatever reason in Bangkok - which is pretty much on the way (well Bangkok's not, it's South, but at least it's not backwards!)

Monday, July 31, 2006

when "processing" turns to procrastinating

OK, so I've been putting off posting about the trip bcoz 1) I'm a lazy uni student, 2) I've either been saying not much about the trip or having sudden verbal diarrhoea about it, 3) we did SO much, it feels like I'd need to write for like 6 hours straight to get it all down, and I don't want to bore you with unecessary detail.

BUT post I must. Maybe it'll turn out short, maybe it'll turn out long, we'll see. Actually, I've just been hit by a wave of brilliance - I shall break it up. Into easily digestable chunks. Let's see how that goes ;)

First up: le journey - a trip in itself.

The Adelaide crew arrived at the airport at at civilised hour in the afternoon (compared to Law's early morning departure - it was kinda cool that we were leaving on the same day, but it sucked as well because I couldn't do all the farewell things with the others for him!). Seeing as most of us hardly knew the rest of us in the group, I think we were all kind of nervous, but excited as well at the friendships-to-be. I was glad to have my farewell party there (Mum, Dad, Dan, Dave, Anne, Miz and Jordan). At the airport I was in a bit of a daze (tho if you ask my parents, thats not that unusual ;) - after half an hour of just hanging around (a weird time of limbo, standing at the gate where there's nothing between now and saying a big goodbye except time) all of a sudden we were boarding. I don't really like goodbyes, because I always feel like I've forgetten to say something vital, and hate it if they aren't 'right'. As soon as I was walking down the walkway thing I was feeling terrible - already missing people, and also because I forgot to tell Dave that I loved him (which I knew he knew, but at a time where I was ripe for a freakout, it wasn't good!) So rather than stealing myself to save up my letters for the big flights - as in 9 hours, as opposed to the 45 mins to Melbourne - I read them before the plane even took off!

Anyway, my first lesson of the trip for trusting in God for peace of heart - Mum made me this awesome notebook for the trip which had a verse and comment for each day, and for the first one (read before we were even taxiing!) had a pretty apt quote :
Lord, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts find no peace unless they rest in you." Augustine of Hippo. (haha, Hippo - how ironic as I was going to Africa!)

In Melb we arrived, walked with our big backpacks, feeling every bit the travellers already (well, kind of - I was a bit of a weakling complaining after 5 mins of sore shoulders!) the 20 min walk to our oh so classy overnight abode - 'Formule 1' (as opposed to Formula?? were they trying to be French we wondered?), which despite having fun campervan type bathroom (where you can toilet AND shower at the same time - score!) were comfy. Me and Rose were together which was good fun - I was impressed, she managed to come on the trip while doing year 12, had just done all her trial exams, and was still sniffly at that stage with a cold :( (well I wasn't impressed by the cold, that sounds a bit odd). We met the rest of the group from Gippsland and went out to a restaurant to bond and stuff. 'Stuff' meaning in this sense both stuffing our faces because we were STARVING (*warning, family joke that others prob won't get ahead* I could feel a CP attack coming on...), as well as playing get to know you name games, chatting, getting our shell necklaces (each line representing a diff part of our pilgrimage - I thought that a pretty cool idea of Lindy's) and ladada.

This is getting long ... oh well! The next morning we all woke up, bright and chirpy of course, at 4am (and, I was able to send a couple of emails righting the goodbyes that felt a bit wrong *sigh of relief*, and hence giving me enough closure to be able to leave the country!), hung around at the airport for a while, and finally boarded our Cathay Pacific plane (our first taste of waiting in lines at airports). I was actually feeling pretty relieved at this stage because everyone more or less was getting on really well - which is a good thing when you're about to go on an overseas trip with them! Bizarrly one of the guys - Gabriel - has a personality a fair bit like Michael (superstar cousin Michael) who arrived in Adelaide just after I left, so that was strangely comforting. I scored a window seat (and would somehow proceed to do so for all of the seven flights, but two) next to Kat, and we spent the next 8 or so hours enjoying the novelty of screens in the seat in front of you (viewing such quality movies as She's the Man, Keeping Mum (seperately seeing beginnings and ends several times in fact...), and shows like The Office - English version of course!) chatting, trying to unsuccessfully sleep, and ... I don't know, whatever you do when you fly.

Touch down in Hong Kong was pretty cool - come on, Hong Kong! A foreign country! woohoo!! Yeah, another few hours of killing time - despite wanting to try out some cultural food, we ended up getting Burger King - oh the shame! The next flight I was next to a nice girl who (I think) was from Hong Kong, going to see her bro in Nairobi - embarrassingly just as we were striking up a good convo I managed to spill my tea all down the front of my largely white shirt, before the turbulance hit so I couldn't even blame it on that - classy! But funny... :P Actually we had pretty bad turbulance - scary, but kind of fun. When we had a 45 min stopover at Bangkok I was feeling tired but strangely chirpy...
After another 9 hours we touched down in NAIROBI! at 4.30 am...

And that concluded our broadcast for today, tune in next time for... Kenyan adventures!

I would post pics but blogger's not letting me ... will try again soon.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

here I go...

In about an hour we leave for the airport.

This time tomorrow we'll be half way to Hong Kong.

Right now Law's half way to LA.

Let the adventuring begin.

I'll miss you all!!! love jess xo

ps I reckon this is a valid excuse for lack of blogs in the next few weeks. But when I get back there'll be THREE weeks worth of comments, woah! So i've got a challenge for you guys - 20 entertaining (or non-entertaining, your choice) comments by the time I get back. I don't reckon you can do it (notice subtle reverse psychology). That way you'll never notice I'm gone from blogland!

Friday, June 30, 2006

ironically accurate...?

I hope Jamie doesn't mind that I stole this from his blog, but I thought it was funny, esp in light of the nature of that tragic and infamous last penalty that saw our Socceroo boys out of the cup...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

can I say the Lord's Prayer?

Here's a thing that I came across in an great old family devotional book thing Mum and Dad put together when we were kids. I like it. Gets straight to the point! These words aren't light words to say and carry life changing meaning along with them. Full on!

" I cannot say "our" if I live in a watertight spiritual compartment; if I think a special place in Heaven is reserved for my denomination.

I cannot say "Father", if I do not demonstrate the relationship in my daily life.

I cannot say "in Heaven", if I am so occupied in the earth that I am laying up not treasure there.

I cannot say "Your Kingdom come", if I am not doing all in my power to hasten its coming.

I cannot say "Your will be done", if I am questioning, resentful of, or disobedient to His will for me.

I cannot say "On earth as it is in Heaven", if I am not prepared to devote my life here to His service.

I cannot say "Give me this day our daily bread", if I am living on past experience.

I cannot say "Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us", if I harbour a grudge against anyone.

I cannot say "Lead us not into temptation", if I deliberately place myself, or remain in a position where I am likely to be tempted.

I cannot say "Deliver us from evil", if I am not prepared to fight in the spiritual realm with the weapon on prayer.

I cannot say "Your is the Kingdom", if I do not accord the King the disclipined obedience of a loyal subject.

I cannot say "Yours is the power", if I fear what men may do, or what my neighbours may think.

I cannot say "The glory is Yours", if I am seeking glory for myself.

I cannot say "Forever and ever", if my horizon is bounded by the things of time.

I cannot say "Amen", if I do not also add 'cost what is may, for to say this prayer honestly will cost everything. "

a tribute

Sorry if this is a bit mushy, but here's a random tribute to all my wonderful friends and family. I thank God each day for each of you! Actually I take back that apology, here's to unbridled mushiness! *in no partic order of fav's ;)

Monday, June 26, 2006

the countdown is on

Only the final quarter of my exams to go tomorrow arvo - Classics (philosophy, latin and anc. greek - tick, tick, tick), and I realise I'm being very naughty by blogging instead of studying right now! I'm disturbingly understressed about exams - I do want to do well, and I actually kind of enjoy studying once I get into it, but at the moment lacking in motivation ... is it the closeness to yr 12, or... my African adventure beginning in 6 sleeps?!

I'm getting so excited - I can't believe that I'm going on this amazing and challenging trip in the first place, and that I'm leaving so soon ... this time next week I may well be in Nairobi!! It's so much fun being at this stage as well, it's the best conversation starter with strangers - today going with Mum to Norwood to get some things for the trip I ended up speaking to a very helpful and interested woman in the pharmacy who brought out a whole armful of insect bite sprays, creams and gels so I could get the best one and proceeded to ask all about the trip (as Mum said, she almost asked for the list of stuff I have to take the Mum was holding!), the woman at the counter in the pharmacy (who also has dreams of going to Africa), the woman in the organic shop (who went to south America last year, and who we pondered with on the fact that the people and the scenery are the highlights of trips), as well as three people from church we also saw there! And then there was the blood test woman last week (who around my age went to Egypt and other places which completely opened her eyes), as well as our doctor and physio, and the physio receptionist!

Yesterday at church was great as well - Brad, Joh and I were interviewed by James about the trip at each of the services, and it was such a great and 'gripping' (mind the pun) commissioning - especially having people come up and lay hands on us as we were prayed for, it was really special. At the morning service I had all these older people coming up and clutching me by the arm, wishing me well and saying they were going to pray for me/us - they were so heartfelt, I felt a bit feeble in reply just saying 'thanks, I will!'

Although I have various little fears and worries about the trip, I'm just so glad I'm going on it. I'm excited not just because it's going to be fun, because it's not going to be the whole time. We're going to be facing really confronting things that will probably shock us, and challenge us in ways we may not have been challenged before, I know that. Even just logistically travelling in a group like that, there are going to be grumpy moods and tiredness and (altho hopefully not!) sickness. But that's what I'm looking forward to - being shaken up, and woken up out of my comfort zone. I've got no idea how I'm going to cope, but as someone I was talking to last night said, when you go somewhere like that you kick into survival mode and can be pushed further than you thought - hopefully that'll happen! We're going to be having reflection/Bible study times as a group each night which I think is a good idea, and a relief to know we'll have that time to collect our thoughts and bring what we're thinking and feeling back to God. I want to get to know God more on this trip thru meeting His people, and getting seeing just how similar or different we are, and learning from them! OK, enough talk, I just want to go on the trip now!

Back to study... but the question still remains... do I remain patriotic and stay up (the night before my exam...) to watch the Socceroos take on (and trounce!) Italy? Seeing as it's 10 now I'd say there's a fairly good chance. On ya Socceroos :D!!!! Let's hope we have a vaguely decent umpire this time! :S

Friday, June 16, 2006

for the birthday boy...


and now for some charming photos of the photogenic one himself ... (poser? never!)

I won't go all mushy on you, but have a great day (despite working for like 10 hrs of it!)... and I love you lots!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

It's moments like these I'm proud to be an Aussie

Well I see that Anna's already beaten me to an enthused recreation of the game, but GO THE SOCCEROO'S!!!! After the most frustrating game of hundreds of near misses, the Japanese continually tripping over and cradling their ankles when they'd been 'fouled' (granted, some of the falls looked painful, but still, THAT many?), a clearly dodgy call on Japan's goal (all this coming from a complete Soccer novice) ... I must admit I was starting to get sleepy and thought all was lost, but then we (I use 'we' because clearly we the viewers did so much work from watching on our couches, (or baby mattresses, whatever the case may be!) ;) scored not one, not two, but 3 brilliant goals in the last 8 minutes!! Go Cahill and Aloisi!!

Now onto Croatia and Brazil

I'm glad I stayed up...

Friday, June 09, 2006

late nite mania and chocolate ecstasy

I know, I know, I've been terrible and not updated my blog with new and entertaining things for a WHOLE WEEK.... BUT I'm BACK! And you know why? Because I have no more essays to write - that's right, none, nada, zip! At the moment I'm going on, oh, roughly 3 1/2 hours sleep ...
Who ever said that a 2500 work essay couldn't be written in a day? Especially when you've only written the introduction and it's 10pm... Well, not me (well maybe the thought flashed across my mind briefly, once or twice...) I stayed up till 4am, surviving on powernaps* (* not actually helpful, surprisingly just made me more tired... funny that), but I DID IT!

And then to top it off today I enjoyed my newfound freedom (you always apprectiate the days when you don't have to do anything after handing in an essay...) with my two good friends Emma and Richo - it happened to be the Indian spread (or something...) day at the vego cafe on Rundle Street (just what we were feeling like ... just ask about the 'legendary' butter chicken, lol...) where we had a quality lunch... and we even had a brief brush with celebrity seeing the guys from All Saints (Mitch? Mick? Longish hair, reminds me of Russell Crowe) there with his wife who was the Sandra from Always Greener - they were both in The Alice I think. Hopefully that description gives u enough to go on :P We contemplated asking them for their autograph, but settled instead for 'subtle'-pinching-and-pointing-out-to-each-other of them, combined with embarrassingly-giggly-giggling-and-not-so-subtle-mentionings-of-the-quality-of-their-past-shows-as-they-hovered-nearby. We even gave up our table for them, aren't we nice? (we were on the way out anyway, haha... I mean *cough* sacrifice, yep) So that was a bit of a thrill, they looked like nice ppl... from the 2 seconds we saw of them!

AND THEN we made our way to the oh so talked about Chocolate Bean off Rundle St - oh. my. goodness. Before we even got to the chocolate, we were seated in this fantastically decorated little room upstairs - funky purple walls, dangly shelly light shades (they look better than I'm describing them!), draped fabric drifting in the breeze, coming through the sunny open French windows ... quite blissful. I could've fallen asleep there even if I hadn't got to sleep at 4 last night. After much deliberation and weighing up the pros and cons of each menu choice, we decided on chocolate soup (that's right, soup!) and the martini chocolate mousse - which, as Emma cleverly discovered (quite possibly the 'best thing she's ever done') taste delectible together. The chocolate was possibly up to the standards of Anna's mud cake last night at Tranny's! So several hours later we drifted home on full stomachs, after much laughter (perhaps a little too hysterical after handing in those essays...?) and frivolity...

I was going to put a couple of random but cool photos up, but the photo thing's decided not to work today... shame.

Friday, May 26, 2006

For Libito on becoming an official adult!

Let's hope that on turning 18 you stay out of jail ... (cmon, had to have ONE of your signature seducing the camera shots!)

... that you will always know you have friend who love you, and with whom you can also do such fun things as sing christmas carols and watch fireworks on the roof of the Entertainment center ...

Always ready and raring for any dress up party opportunity ... or else simply displaying your unique and funky fashion sense! In those famous words of Dead or Alive 'you spin me right round baby right round, like a record baby right round, round round...' (they seemed apt for the photo ;)

Party girl extraordinare - you're a girl who lives her life, always up for a good time - and helping others to do the same by sharing that beaming smile of yours around! (dance buddies forever!!)

Thanks Lib for being a great friend and person - I've always loved our chats over the years and look forward to lots more. I love your faith, your honesty and openess, your willingness to always give good sound advice, and your independent spirit! Just don't forget your friends in little old Adelaide at the same time, bcoz we haven't forgotten you ;) And, of course, HAPPY 18th BIRTHDAY!!!