What's your favourite bible passage & why?
Probably John 4, the Woman at the Well. I love how Jesus speaks to her with unexpected kindness yet piercing truth. And her responses resonate with me too, a little sassy but not so much as to avoid a deeper level conversation. She is courageous and embraces the opportunity at a new reality. The dialogue is so layered and the story, even the reaction of the disciples when they return, is so engaging and relatable.
How do you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus?
I’m not the disciplined type, not in the classic sense. I used to beat myself up over than and try to be a better Christian by establishing better habits. But this didn’t help me to see myself as Jesus sees me. Instead I try to focus on his unchanging nature as I swing from interest to interest and project to project. I remind myself that he loves me and look to his encouragement when I get frustrated or worried. I’m practicing hearing his voice and obeying quickly when I do. I pray a lot, short prayers like “Jesus give me patience” and “God bless that family” as I go about my everyday life. I think that helps me to remember the spiritual aspects of most of life.
What would you like the next generation of Christian women to know?
I’d like the next generation to know that church doesn’t have to be as complicated as we have made it. I’d like to see simpler structures where more Christians felt they could contribute. Though I admire the depth and strength of good academics in Christian study and believe we need educated teachers amongst us I also believe there are other strengths and giftings that are not being fully utilised in the life of the church. We have a task to do - bringing the gospel of Jesus to the nations- and I believe flattening our structures and giving leadership faster to men and women while they are still new believers is essential in accomplishing this task. I would love to see a generation where it wasn’t even questioned if women can fill the same roles in the church and instead we set our attention on finishing what Jesus asked us to do.
What's one thing that you love about your local church?
During the years we worked overseas I never thought our home church would do so well in staying with us and tracking with our story. When we came back for our first home assignment I didn’t expect to be remembered but they did amazingly well, even remembering the names and stories of people we had asked them to pray for. New people who I had never met came up and asked questions about our lives and work. Last year we finished up our time in overseas mission, sooner than planned. Our home church sheltered and supported us through all those bumps and changes, grieving with us. And they didn’t ask us to volunteer for anything :) they just welcomed us into action as we slowly became more able. We are physically a long commute away now and have tried and failed to find something closer to our home suburb. The amount of love coming out of that place can’t be easily replaced, even though we can only be there once a week.
What did you learn about God at a time in your life you found hard?
Leaving the mission field prematurely has been a real struggle. Those who know us well have seen the grief, but but outsiders expect us to be happy to be enjoying the obvious practical advantages of living in a place as beautiful and “liveable” as Melbourne when compared to a regional centre in Siberia. But, in the ministry sense I felt benched. It felt like God had taken away my favourite way of living for him. 12 years in missions and we had finally found our place, finally getting stuff done. But God had other plans. I was like a teenager, strapping on my own gear and begging to get put back on the field. But he has a completely different assignment for us this time. This year I am learning to trust him and wait. I think if he had given me the whole picture immediately when I asked I would have thrown it back in his face. Only now is he starting to let me see bits of it.
What are you passionate about?
The nations. Especially the ones on the outer edges. The minorities, the indigenous tribes, the oral and nomadic societies. The animist/shamanist cultures who know their need for spiritual redemption but have no name to call.
What do you enjoy doing when you rest?
I sew and I cook. And I binge watch sci-fi. :)