92 and still driving…

This blog is written by Matthew Wiebe. Matt, is a Fall 2018 student from Cedarville University. Editor’s note: This post has been edited.

Seniors, are just like anyone else! They can be awesome and also not so awesome.

Luckily, the seniors at Citipointe Seniors are fantastic. These seniors, while they may be old, are young at heart. These are not the grumpy old seniors who sit around and do nothing. One lady is 92 and still drives.

Seniors at a picnic

They are very active and engaging and genuinely want you to be there. They love talking to students and asking students questions about home life in the States.

The seniors really love when you ask them questions and engage with their lives. They want to tell you their experiences. My time at Citipointe Seniors has been nothing but fun and brilliant. I’ve really enjoyed the fellowship I had with the seniors through chats, drinking coffee, day trips to Bribie island or playing bowls! All of it was lots of fun.

Regular morning tea at Citipointe Seniors

Our weekly morning tea at Citipointe Seniors

I’ve have been fortunate of having my grandparents live with me for three years. This definitely made engaging with the seniors much simpler because I’ve been doing it for years. It also helps that the seniors at Citipointe see you as one of their grandchildren, so it’ll be no different for you to interact with these seniors then your grandparents.

Three people in a group

Jessica Gurrola from Biola University with Citipointe Seniors coordinators Anne & Stuart at the Toowoomba Flower Festival

If you haven’t been around your grandparents much, then this volunteer service might seem a bit scary. Never fear because you don’t need to try. You simply need to be there, and engagement will happen. It’ll probably take a couple days to feel fully comfortable. Once that mark is hit, then the rest of the time there will be amazing.

Service Placements are part of
The View of Australia Class (AS 200).
Find out more about the unit!

“… wherever two or three come together in honor of my name, I am right there with them”

This blog is written by Susan Leonard a local CHC student. Susan and other Australian students participated in the Australian Indigenous Worldviews (CS254) class, along with ASC students in semester two, 2018. Editor’s note: This post has been edited.

Traditional Welcome to Country ceremony

In August this year, my Australian Indigenous Worldviews class took a trip away to  Minjerribah (Aboriginal name for North Stradbroke Island). The knowledge and the experience profoundly changed my perspective and my attitude towards Australian Indigenous people and their way of life.

CHC students (left to right): Sophie, Georgia , Susan (me), Billie & Alison after getting our faces painted

Georgia having her face painted by an Aboriginal elder

I have asked myself, at which point did the empathy come. Upon reflection, there was a profound moment when we worshiped together on the shores of Brown Lake.  In Matthew 18:20 (The Passion Translation) tells us that “… wherever two or three come together in honor of my name, I am right there with them”.  I could not stop the tears from coming when I heard Lea (our Indigenous lecturer) share how her ancestors had sat in that same place.  There, in the presence of the Holy Spirit, it all became real for me.

Local elder Matty with ASC Indigenous lecturer Lea

However, it was not just that moment that changed my understanding.  It was a culmination of lessons and readings, throwing boomerangs and spears, learning about bush tucker (food), having my face decorated, participating in ceremonial dances, creating sand art on the beach, being ‘in country’, hearing the hearts of the amazing brothers and sisters we met, and the revelation of the Holy Spirit.

CHC student Ben learning to throw a spear

Having fun with sand art on the beach

Having fun with ASC students (left to right): Julia from Dordt College and Katie from John Brown University, Susan (me) making sand art

Despite the horrors Aboriginal people and their ancestors have endured and with racism still prevalent in Australian society, the elders were still open in sharing from their heart about their culture. The Aboriginal elders clearly demonstrated reconciliation and the healing we ALL so desperately need. This experience gave me, not only understanding, but a sense of belonging.

Being part of community

My joy in all of this comes from the knowledge that out of great pain and suffering God, our Jehovah-Rapha, will bring great healing –

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendour.  Isaiah 61:1-3 (NIV)

Sand art design with the kangaroo totem

My prayer is that our Heavenly Father will show us how to honour our Aboriginal brothers and sisters so that together we can rejoice in the healing and the coming together of the Body of Christ.
Interested in finding out more
about the Australian Indigenous Class, click here

Alternatively, watch the video below of Sarah (Gordon College) and Alex (Wheaton College), ASC students from Spring 2018 share about their experience about the Australian Indigenous Worldview class (CS254).