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!

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“… 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).

A Night At The Museum

This post is written by our guest blogger Joyce Mok , ASC Student Services Coordinator.

Sometimes you stumble on an event which is so rich, it makes you smile days after it is over. Last week, Roxanne and I had the privilege to attend an “after dark” event at the Queensland Museum. A celebratory event showcasing Aboriginal Peoples and Torres Strait Islanders’ history, heritage and culture. The night featured talented young artists from Digi Youth Arts (creative space for indigenous youth), panel discussions, poetry, weaving, live music, roving performances, visual art and short films.

The night began with a moving ceremony, welcoming us (guests to this land) through song and dance.

Welcome to country

A Welcome to Country ceremony

With Welcome to Country over, we wandered the rest of this treasure trove of all things old and large. There was a room full of dinosaur bones, beetles and an assortment of deep sea creatures you only hear about in Jules Verne stories! I was in awe of the creative Creator who made these diverse beings.

With access to rooms and exhibits, we stumble upon a young performer. Motivated by her Aboriginal and Jamaican heritage, Aurora  Liddle-Christie uses her art as a platform to explore the experiences of people of colour within Australian society. Her poetry strong, bold, engaging!

As we weave past artifacts and gigantic termite mounds, it was only natural we end our night expanding our skills in weaving. Practiced by both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, each cultural group uses particular materials, techniques, patterns, colours and design based on the plants found in region.  Children are taught at an early age to make baskets for collecting food, nets of fishing and even toys.

Weaving workshop with Torres Strait Islander

Weaving workshop Torres Strait Islander style

I (and Roxanne) certainly enjoyed our night out at the Queensland Museum and look forward in the coming months in sharing experiences like these with the ASCers.

Sushi, Service, Fireworks and Frustrations

Excerpt from Spring 2013 student Fiona Tranquillo’s blog “My Aussieland Adventure”. Reproduced with permission http://myaussielandadventure.blogspot.com.au/

My first week of classes had a very delicious ending… sushi!!! As I mentioned earlier, my host mom is from Singapore, so many of the dinners we have are oriental. On Friday, she told Tarah and me that she was going to teach us how to make sushi! I had mixed feelings. First let me say, I do NOT do raw fish… ew. Just thinking about it gives me the heeby jeebies (I think I just made up that spelling). I was QUITE relieved to see that everything she had for us to use was fully cooked. It was the sweetest thing… Bee-Hoon got everything totally prepped and set up a little sushi rolling station for each of us. She had prepared cucumber, carrots, crab, omelette strips, chicken, and radish. I put everything in every roll and it was SO delicious. Also, good news, I wrote down all of Bee-Hoon’s tricks for the sushi so that I can repeat it at home! This was not easy, however. Bee-Hoon, being quite the thrifty one, told us that taking her recipe AND her being in our blogs was going to require a contract and some major cash. Good news, though, we were able to pull it out of her, free of charge. 😉

Fiona

Fiona and her host mom

I think I may have become a sushaholic.

The best part about the night, however, wasn’t just eating the sushi. More than that, I felt like I really connected with my host family and started to feel “at home” for the first time. I was able to joke with them, laugh with them, and just be myself. I went to bed feeling very thankful.

Saturday started off bright and EARLY. Part of the ASC program is that all participants are required to put in 35 hours of service in a placement of their choosing. I, along with about 7 other ASC students, was placed on the Hillsong Street Team. This is a group of people from Hillsong Church and Hillsong College that go out every Saturday morning to different harder areas of town, knock on doors, and simply build relationships and help in any way they can. If often consists of yard work, but other times is just being good company for people who are often lacking in that area.

It was a really neat experience. Most of my group’s time was spent talking with this older woman named Shirley. We didn’t clean her house, preach the Gospel, or bring radical change… we simply sat and enjoyed chatting with her and listening to whatever she had to say. This was a bit of a challenge for me. So many Americans are engrained with the belief that service means doing. I left feeling like I hadn’t actually DONE anything to help. The more I’ve thought about it, however, the more I am finding value in the simple act of being there for Shirley and building a relationship with her… showing her that we care. I think that being on this team will challenge my view of service and teach me that spreading God’s love and light doesn’t necessarily mean serving a meal or handing out Bibles.

Saturday had a pretty slam-bang finish. I’m not sure what the occasion was or how often it happens, but we had heard that there was going to be fireworks that night. To sum it up… it was magical. Darling Harbor is one of my favourite spots so far, and seeing it lit up with fireworks was incredible. The icing on the cake was some really good conversations with a couple of girls in the group… some serious bonding, which I’m a huge fan of.

There were many wonderful highlights of the weekend, but there was also a lot of frustration. I’ve found myself being frustrated that Australian wifi stinks and that we’re never allowed to use it. I’ve found myself being frustrated with how stinkin’ expensive everything is. I’ve found myself being frustrated with how long public transportation takes. Most of all, I’ve found myself being frustrated with myself for being so darn frustrated all the time! I was expecting everything to be easy and happy-go-lucky, but it hasn’t really been that way a lot of the time. It is in these moments, though, where the Lord is teaching me so much. First of all, the things that are frustrating me are so trivial, and I need to open my eyes to the world around me and to the needs of others. Like seriously… being frustrated about wifi?? Let’s be real, Fiona. Second, when things really are hard… that’s okay! I have been clinging to the words of Psalm 34 that tell us that, as Christians, things are not going to be easy. Our hope is not in a promise of all happy-go-lucky circumstances, but rather, our hope is in a God who will be with us and FOR us no matter what the circumstances are! It is because of that hope that we can “bless the Lord at all times” and “have His praise continually on our lips.”

Praising Him in the good and the hard,

Fiona

Orientation in the City

Turning over a new leaf, the ASC decided that trying orientation in the city would be a nice approach to welcoming the new batch of ASC students.

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So excited to see the new students!

At first it took some time for the students to learn how to get around.

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There were rivers to cross.

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And mountains to climb.

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After some lunch and a walk around they were ready to go.

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The Hope Collective: Making a Difference through Music

Originally posted on Wesley Institute’s website: http://www.wi.edu.au/news/hope-collective

Written by: 

“As musicians living in suburban Australia with a young family, we are thankful for the relatively easy life we have. But for us, that’s not enough. We want to make a difference in this world.”

– Lauren Moxey, 2006 Bachelor of Music Alumnus

Tim and Lauren Moxey studied the Bachelor of Music at Wesley Institute. Lauren graduated from the program in 2006, while Tim completed further studies and finished his degree in 2008 at the University of Central Queensland. The married couple still reflects very fondly on their time at Wesley Institute, says Lauren, not the least reason being it is the place where they met! Now, six years on from their studies, Tim and Lauren have embarked on a new creative pursuit with global implications.

Tim and Lauren are founders of The Hope Collective: Making a Difference through Music. The organisation raises awareness and funds for projects around the world that restore life, health, justice, hope and dignity. “Our model is simple”, say Lauren. “We create professional CDs of beautiful music, and $10 from every CD goes directly to charity. The other half will be used to fund future projects. Each album is created for a specific organisation or project.”

The first album, Stargazing, has recently been released through The Hope Collective. Tim provides lead vocals, accompanied by Australian music legend, Mark Isaacs, on piano. All 15 songs on the album are ‘old favourites’, including “Bridge over Troubled Water”, “My Favourite Things”, “Another Day in Paradise”, “Both Sides Now” and more.

Stargazing will directly support the work of TEAR Australia and its partner, United Mission to Nepal (UMN). Specifically, funds raised go to UMN Cluster Program: Maternal & Child Health. This program is addressing horrific child and maternal mortality rates in remote Nepali villages by providing prenatal care and 24-hour birthing centres, as well as antenatal care for the mothers.

“Music is beautiful and inspiring and enjoyable. We want to use it to make a difference with our lives, and we want to be at least a very small part of addressing social injustice”, say Lauren. “Out of this desire, The Hope Collective was born. It’s our way of using our gifts to bring positive change where it is needed most.”

For further information on The Hope Collective and to purchase Stargazing, visit www.thehopecollective.com.au. CDs cost $20 (plus postage).HopeCollective

On behalf of Wesley Institute, we heartily congratulate Tim and Lauren for what they’ve accomplished through The Hope Collective! At Wesley Institute, we seek to benefit our community as we equip people for Christian life and leadership in a range of influential vocations, and are so encouraged to see our alumni using their gifts and skills to positively impact communities around Australia and the world.

*Artwork for ‘The Hope Collective’ by Kim Hall, Wesley Institute Bachelor of Graphic Design Alumnus

Wesley Institute Alumni Theatre Company Performs at the Seymour Centre

Originally posted on Wesley Institute’s website: http://www.wi.edu.au/news/twisted-tree-theatre-seymour-centre

Wesley Institute’s alumni theatre company, Twisted Tree Theatre, will be presenting The Way of All Fish at the high-profile performing arts space, the Seymour Centre, from 30 October – 1 November.

Twisted Tree Theatre began in 2007 with the purpose of providing Wesley Institute alumni a platform for their theatrical endeavours. In an industry where artists are often confronted with obstacles, Twisted Tree Theatre supports alumni by offering a range of opportunities to develop skills in performing, production, marketing, budgeting and theatre administration, with the aim of producing professional and public work. Alumni are welcome to approach the company at any time with their creative ideas and scripts.

In The Way of All Fish, a one-act play by renowned playwright Elaine May, nothing is as it seems. Having been described as the The Devil Wears Prada meets The Office, this uniquely executed production presents an hilarious and revealing exploration of powerThe Way of All Fish in the modern-day workplace.

The Way of All Fish will be produced, directed, stage-managed and performed entirely by alumni of Wesley Institute’s Bachelor of Dramatic Art. Hailey McQueen (2002 graduate) and Sarah Farmer (2003 graduate) have taken on the play’s lead roles, and Neridah Morris (2006 graduate) will serve as Stage Manager. Naomi Stewart (2002 graduate) is making her debut with Twisted Tree Theatre as director.

Since graduating from Wesley Institute, Naomi completed a Teaching degree and went on to teach Drama and Dance at the HSC level. She also studied extensively in London with exclusive schools, including LABAN Contemporary Dance and Movement Academy and The Circus School. Her talent is in combining physical theatre and comic realism.

“In The Way of All Fish, we are creating something physical, something very funny and something through which audience members will see elements of themselves,” said Naomi.

Wesley Institute congratulates Twisted Tree Theatre on its success, and is proud of the commitment of our alumni to use their skills and areas of expertise for the benefit of their communities.

To book tickets to The Way of All Fish, please click here. For further information on Twisted Tree Theatre, visit their Facebook page.