Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Teaching English…

I have been teaching over the past couple of days at a community slum called Glua Prik, which is about 10 minute drive from the main Klong Toey Centre. There are 4 of us and we have had a little over 50 kids each day. My group is made up of about 22, 6-9 year olds, and we have been having a lot of fun. Unfortunately we don’t have anyone with us who speaks both Thai and English so our teaching is very limited, but we have fun with EDUCATIONAL crafts, games, songs and activities. I am teaching with a Mel, a young woman from Perth who has great ideas, so we seem to work together well. The kids are great and seem to look forward to seeing us. The local community leaders also seem very pleased and they look in each day just to check things are ok. Its amazing how good a singer you are thousands of k’s from home.

Kickboxing friends

Went to the Klong Toey community centre Monday afternoon with Ash to “help out” with the soccer program. I caught up with some young kids I met last year who I had taught English to and also helped out with some Thai kick boxing training. They were keen for me to see their kick boxing and for me to “train” them, read put the mittens on and let them punch and kick me. Was great fun and got me working up a real sweat and great for them to remember me and some things we taught them. This was also a good warm up for the soccer games we played later on as we put together a 5 a side Aussie team against many of the Thais, we did ok and even won a couple of games much to Ash’s surprise. Very sweaty stuff this though playing in 35c plus temperatures on the concrete, must be crazy eh…

Anzac day…

I led communion this morning for our team, and spoke on Simpson and his donkey, the fact that the died so that others may live in the true Anzac spirit. In the same vein Jesus also did and as in the passage from Mark when James and John ask him if they can sit at his right and left hand, just a small favor. Jesus replies by telling them all again that if we want to be great we must serve. Challenging words here when it is easy to think good of yourself just by the fact that we are here, yet Jesus constantly calls us to serve and reverses the order that society dictates it should be. Thee other good thing about this anzac day… Collingwood won.

A little break…

Arrived in Bangkok around 9.00 last Thursday night, with nothing booked but abit of an idea where to go. Got a bus into Khao san road, the hippee, backpacker side of Bangkok and found a room in a little guest house down near the river for $7- a night. Had a quiet drink with a Pom and a South African before heading off to book a tour for the next day. Back for another drink at a Thai blues bar and off to bed a little more than 24 hours after when I had woken up in Melbourne Thursday morning. Up again at 6.00 to walk down and meet my tour group, drive for nearly 2 hours up to a floating market, riding a boat through narrow canals. Then off to a elephant and crocodile show, back in Bangkok by 5.00, some tea on the street and a well needed Thai massage, before chatting to many people back in the streets, in bed by midnight. Saturday morning went across town to Klong Toey to meet the Barkers, this was meant to be some time out, and was a great time but for now I feel a little tired.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Thailand bound...

In the midst of everything that happens I am currently trying to get through as much work as I can, and maybe even start to pack because tomorrow morning I head off to Thailand for 18 days. I am faciliating a short term trip for people to teach English to young children in the slums of Klong Toey in Bangkok through UNOH and the local Ta Rua church community. For the next 2 weeks we will be spending our time supporting the amazing work of the Barkers and Rod who live in Klong Toey. I am looking forward to it, and it will be my 3rd trip in the past 2 years and a great time to connect with our sister church community with the Ta Rua church. I'll attempt to write often of our journies. Last year 3 of us from Foothills went and we kept a blog going. This year the Dekkers from Foothills are also going and attempting to write also. Would appreciate your thoughts, prayers and words through this time.

Makes you think...

Yesterday i attended the funeral service of a dear friend of my mothers. Tom Malone died Thursday morning at a hospice after a very short battle with cancer. He passes away just a few moments after my mum had got there to visit him, which she had been doing daily over the past 2 months. The funeral was at Reservoir Baptist where I grew up and mum still goes. It evoked many feelings for me yesterday. It was a great celebration of the life of one who had given himself to serve others and was not afraid to go home just 2 days shy of his 73 birthday. I also caught up with some people I hadn't seen for many years including an old primary school friend, that was pretty freaky. But the big thing for me was that I can tend to take people for granted, cause you never know when you spend time with someone if you will ever see them again in this life time. So the challenge for me??? To enjoy other peoples company as if it is the last day I will ever spend with them, to fully give them my time and patience, now there's a great challenge...


Easter Sunday morning a crowd of 25 people gathered and huddled from the cold,meeting at 6.00am for our sunrise service. It was a great time of celebration as we remembered Jesus who rose from the grave. Was great to share the morning with some of our friends from Knoxfield Chrches of Christ. These mornings have became special for me as we reflect on our faith. Also are a great way of sharing life with some of our local friends. We all eventually warmed up back at our place with brekkie and hot drinks all around for 18 people.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Passover and Tennebrae

Last night we hosted a Passover meal at our house. We had nearly 30 adults and kids gathered around our table(s) and scattered throughout the house. At Foothills we have had these meals for a few years now and last night 2 of our Neighborhood Communities celebrated life this way. Many at our home were our local neighbors aren't the 'normal' churchy type. We had a great feast and spent a few hours going through a very rough paraphrase of a messianic passover, including the 4 cups of wine which always make the night rather jolly.

We finished the night with an 11.00pm tennebrae time, which included readings and singing in the dark by candlelight. It all finished at midnight as people left in silence, as we contemplated Jesus being put to death on the cross. We pick this up again with a sunrise gathering on Sunday mornng 6.00am at the Arboretum in Ferntree Gully, anyone want to join us.

The Brick Easter

Last Sunday at Foothills we had our monthly celebration gathering at Ferntree Gully North Primary School. Being Palm sunday and having loads of kids we went through the wek of Easter in the life of Jesus, commencing on Palm Sunday and going through to Easter Sunday. It is great to be reminded again of what happened in that week. It starts with Jesus being cheered like a home coming champion as he enteres Jeruslaem and ends with much of the same crowd wanting his blood less than 5 days later.

Also yesterday I went through the stories again with my 3 RE classes at FTG North PS with the grade 5's and 6's. I love to use the Brick Testament stuff, which seems to make it come alive. Loads of questions always follow, why would Jesus do that? Whay doesn't he save himself? Did he do that for me? Why would they kill a good man? Is he really the son of God?

A night with Jim Wallis

Had a great night the other night with Jim Wallis of Sojourners fame. This was a smaller intimate crowd of some real heros of the faith here in Melbourne and was hosted by Tim Costello. Two great quotes from the night:

Jim talked about elderly Mary Glover who at their prayer meetings before their food distribution mornings opened would pray, "Lord we know you'll be coming through the door today, so help us to treat you well."

And talking about someone who was checking out faith and justice issues and the Bible, "I love the red words in the Bible, they seem to make lots of sense." It is hard to be a better contributor to humanity than to follow Jesus.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Came accross this pic today, kind of speaks for itself.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Jim Wallis in Oz

I am off to hear Jim Wallis tonight. Jim of Sojourners fame has been a hero of mine for many years now, and his books have been influential in my formation. So tonight is a small gathering to pick his brains abit. He is in town to promote the Australian release of his book "God's Politics: Why the American Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It."

Bono has this to say about the book, "The Left mocks the Right. The Right knows it's right. Two ugly traits. How far should we go to try to understand each other's point of view? Maybe the distance grace covered on the cross is a clue."

The Age here in Melbourne ran this interesting article on him and his book over the weekend.

Jack's back

Another great weekend of running kids around and watching sport, Sunday footy with the boys, Jack watching his team and Rory playing their last practise match before the season proper. Then basketball Friday night with Rory, a good win, Saturday morning with Ella they tried hard (read between the lines here) and afternoon with Jack. Jack had his first set of court time since his arm break back in early February, went on for 2 lots of 90 second bursts late in the game. He got plenty of the ball but did pull up a bit sore, but is rarin to go, so hopefully after Easter will get into it more as his team the mighty Ferntree Gully Falcons marches towards the finals sitting on top of the ladder.

Free coffee I hear

Heard a great story the other day. I attended Neil Coles Melbourne Summitt on Organic Leadership hosted by my good friends at Forge. There were many good thoughts which I'll attempt to digest over the next while, but one classic which I liked was the way many people "do" evangelism. He told the story in America about a friend who went into a cafe with a heart to share his faith story. He sat in the corner and put up a sign that read, "I'll buy you a free cup of coffee if you listen to me TELL you about my Jesus". After a day of no takers but plenty of abuse he rethought his tactic. He came back sometime later with another sign which read, "I'll buy you a free cup of coffee if I can LISTEN to your thoughts on God" Neil says that the guy was flooded all day from people wanting to talk to him, some went and bought other friends, and told others to come and see this guy. At the end of the day he never paid for one coffee, everyone bought him one.

The morale of the story for me, faith and life is not so much about telling people who don't want to be told but rather listening and sharing life with people, and like with Jesus the journey is often more important than the destination.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Back blogging

Not sure about you but when I miss a few days, instead of just getting back into it I come up with all kinds of excuses; theres better things to do, I'll wait till tonight, no one reads it anyway, my back hurts, I'll go play with the kids, its too hard to start again. For me and blogging all of these have been true, but today I draw a line in the sand, or accross the screen and attempt to start again. So as they say in the classics, here we go again...