Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Emerged Sunday...

Last Sunday our Neighborhood Community at Foothills shared the morning at one of our local elderly peoples homes, come boarding house. We have been doing this once a month this year connecting with some of the people who have been coming along to our Christmas Day lunch. Considering our oldest Foothillian person is 42, it is a real change for us to go along and hang out with others twice our age, its also great for our kids. We run a "church service type of thingy" with some kids songs, alt worship eldely style and a brief devotion. It kind of reminds me of the Bible studies I used to run in prison years ago, you never knew what to expect, someone would always yell out half way through something totally irrevelant to what was going on, but most of all I am constantly meeting Jesus in the lives of those considered to be of no significance. Don't worry about the emerging church, this lot have well and truly emerged...

Winners are grinners...

Only 1 basketball game and 1 footy game to get to for this weeekend gone, plus of course seeing a replay of the always mighty pies on Friday night. Jack played in his under 14 basketball grandfinal on Saturday and after a tight 25 minutes where the scores where locked at 12 all finally blew their opponets away in the last 10 minutes to win 19-13, with wild celebrations following. Jack unfortunately crashed out afterwards and has spent the better part of the past 2 1/2 days on the coach with gastro, very pale in the face, so with Helen away I have been playing nurse. Rory won his footy match on Sunday by some 7 goals and he had a great game kicking 2 goals 3, with some great strong leading marks at full forward. I even had the joy of doing canteen duty in the 2nd half. What better way to spend a weekend, watching kids playing sport and supporting their interests, the joys of being a dad...

Friday, May 26, 2006

Wild Ones launch

Part of my role with UNOH is helping out with UNOH Publications, our humble attempt to get books that encourage radical discipleship and responses to the poor out to the general public. Our newest book is by one of my favorite Kiwis Mick Duncan, Wild Ones according to Mick is summarised in the fact that "God chooses wild ones and not just nice ones to be his global workers." I've had the privilege of reading/proofreading some early drafts and I must say that this book is a ripper, designed to challenge, inspire, make you laugh, cry and feel a little uncomfortable along the way.

We are having a launch on Wednesday June 7 at UNOH HQ, 66 Regent St Springvale, come and meet Mick, party with some other wild ones and be inspired to go wild as we follow the ultimate wild one, Jesus. Mike at Wild Ones Blog has more details on the night.

Sorry seems to be the hardest word...

Today is National Sorry Day (Fri May 26) and the begining of National Reconciliation Week. My theory is that this day and in fact this week comes and goes each year with little or no acknowledgment by the general public. Not because they are not interested but because they are totally unaware, there is very little in the mainstream media about this. This has been again my experience this week talking to locals and friends, that they were simply unaware it was happening.

Earlier this month a motion calling on the Senate to recognise National Sorry Day was defeated by the Government in the Senate. Senator Siewert responded by stating
"I am extremely disappointed that the Government has refused to acknowledge the importance of National Sorry Day to Aboriginal Australians, and refused to support even the smallest symbolic gesture to recognise the grief caused by the removal of children and the pressing need for reconcilliation."
Our local council at Knox City are holding their second flag raising ceremony at 11.00 which I will be attending alongside many others to mark Sorry Day. Click here to check out other activites around the state.

There are many things that we can be passionate about, I believe that we need to reverse the lead of our PM, and not only say sorry but stop playing the blame game as well.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Back to school...

Today I went and spoke at Berwick Secondary College to a group of year 11 students. This was arranged through a mate Pete who is chaplain at the school. Pete is loving his work there and is in the right place. This was a special health day with many types of electives, mine was just one among many but I had a full class of 28 students for the topic "Spirituality", I was quite impressed with the number especially when I found out I was competing against "Safe sex". It was a great session with the time literally flying and just when we'd got into some good indepth q and a's, in walked the local ambulance officer ready to start the next sesion. It was the first time I had spoken in a secondary school setting for a while, after doing it day in and day our for many years. And the feedback was very positive.

So reflecting on the day I learned that I am now much older that I think I am and secondly it is much harder to impress young people these days so why try...

This sporting weekend

First full weekend in Melbourne after spending the past 3 in Bangkok, and it was business as usual, running around with kids to lots of sporting events. Some good and not so good results, Rory's basketball team lost by 3 points in a tight elimination final on Friday night so he has a few weeks off. Jacks under 14's team won by an even tighter 2 points to earn the weeks break and advance straight to the grand final Saturday week. It was Jacks first real game for nearly 3 months since he broke first his arm, then badly strained his thumb just when his arm came good. Also thrown in there was a special Saturday morning training fun day for Ella, which wouldn't have been complete without the ever so healthy BBQ sausage in bread afterwards.

Sunday was off to the footy, Jack resting his arm for one more week before plunging right in, his team now has won 4 from 4 and again won easily. Rory's team managed to play some good contested footy and won their second game of the year, and Rory picking up an award for a gutsy display in the forward line. Another weekend, another lot of running around...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

One too many double cheezeburgers with fries

In Thailand as in Oz one cannot escape the jolly Mc Clown who stands for all things good. So I'd thought I'd share this little pic that I got sent the other day.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


For Christmas last year my good mate Marc, got me a desk calander with 365 classic quotes of wisdom from the great George W. I thought I'd share a few of them here:
"The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country"
"If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure"
"The future will be better tomorrow"
"A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls"
"It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it"
God help America

Monday, May 08, 2006

Miner funeral tommorrow

One of the things that I have come back to is the drama surrounding the 2 miners being dug out of the shaft in Tasmania. I had only caught a few snippets of news while away so had assumed they had been "rescued" after a couple of days. Like many around this country my thoughts and prayers are with the familes of these 2 guys and from the news tonight it seems only a matter of hours away before they are able to come up.
Tomorrow is the funeral though of Larry Knight who was killed on April 25 by the rock fall that trapped the other two men. His body was recovered two days later. His funeral is being conducted by 2 brothers from the Launceston chapter of God's Squad CMC, Chris and Grubby. My thoughts and prayers are with you guys tommorrow as well.

Final stuff

Well home a little after 24 hours things click back into gear pretty quickly. The last few days have been a bit of a blur. We finished our last class on Friday, was great with many parents and community leaders coming to see the "graduation" of their children from English classes. For these kids who have very little this was an incredibly proud moment for them, and there were a few tears shed.

I picked up a heavy cold in my last couple of days, too much time going from very hot conditions totally covered in sweat then into air conditioned environments. That meant that travelling on a plane with a cold is not the best thing to do. Suffice to say that my ears have not unblocked themselves yet and are very sore. Spending 90 minutes with 4 customs at Melbourne airport Sunday morning with a waiting family wondering what was happening outside DID NOT help things at all either.

Finally got to see Helen and Ella who had braved the trip out, great to see them and I appreciate immensely the opportunity they gave and continue to give me to do these sort of things. Sunday arvo I was watching Rory's footy game when the skies opened and the hail came down on the coldest Melbourne day for 8 months. Welcome back...

Saturday, May 06, 2006

A bit close to home

Yesterday while we were having our final lunch together the reality of where we were struck close as news came that there was a "crazed madman" running around with a knife stabbing people. As we learnt later the man, who had just got out of prison days before, and high as a kite from paint fumes had indeed stabbed and killed his mother, before going on to kill 2 other people, including a policeman, and wound 5 others before he was subdued and taken away. This was less than 100 meters from where we were and just a small block from the Barkers house. The story was front page of todays Bangkok Post. It was a stark reminder that when there is no hope people often turn to desperate messures to get through life. The night before I was with Anj and Ash at their home when at 10.30pm in came 4 scared kids who we had taken swimmimg earlier that afternoon. There was a fight going on at their home, with someone attacking someone else with a piece of wood.
Without a clear sense of call and hope for the future no wonder the "workers are so few, but the harvest is plentiful" Yet here God is present in amazing ways and his invitation to join him in the slums amongst the pain and hopelessness of peoples lives to some may sound like madness but to the God who constantly surprises us all, a real opportunity to follow.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Almost there

Finished our third last day of lessons this morning. This week we have had 3 groups of teachers and kids, so I have been teaming up with Naomi from Foothills and we have been leading the 9-10 year olds, and usually have about 15 per day, so it feels much more saner than last weeks 35 kids. Only issue is that from tomorrow we can’t use the kinder building that we have been using but move into a little office somewhere else, so we’ll see how we go. It has been amazing meeting kids each day that just seem so hungry to learn but have such limited opportunities. In some ways it seems like what we are doing is just a drop in a bucket for the kids yet it is so encouraging seeing the look of hope in their eyes. It seems that most of the children from this community have come at some part of our teaching, and many of the community leaders rally appreciate our being there.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Sunday at Ta Rua

I had the privilege this morning of again preaching at the Ta Rua church here in Klong Toey. Having preached there last October I told them how brave they were having me back again. It seemed to go very well, looking at the passage of the calling of Levi in Mark 2. It’s a real challenge preaching a phrase at a time as the translation occurs, it means I have to work hard on really simplifying the message and making it clear. I received a fair bit of encouragement afterwards and a few people came forward for prayer. Rod said he felt the message was the right encouragement to the locals as I spoke on the fact of God’s grace of coming to those who were considered outsiders in the society of the day, like tax collectors and other sinners and that he still does that today. In a place where they are shunned as being ”slum people” to experience the grace of God because they are known and loved by the God of the universe I guess must make a significant difference.
poatscript: Rodger, another member of our team speaks of his experiences and the message.

Many different ways to go

One of the great things over our time here is the opportunity to get around the city of Bangkok a bit during some of the afternoons and evenings. We get to sample many different modes of transport, and it’s a lot of fun going on the public system without knowing exactly where we are going. So over the past few days I have been on buses, sky trains, the underground trains, tut tuts, taxi, motorcycle taxi, and klong boat, it’s all a bit of an adrenalin buzz especially heading off on the back of a bike across the other side of town.

One week down

We finished our first week of teaching last Friday, all feeling a little tired but also very excited. Our small group of 4 teachers at Glua Prik ended the week with over 80 kids registered and most days averaging over 65, spilt into 2 groups. I was with the younger kids, usually over 30, 6-9 year olds in an area no bigger than 6 x 4 meters. It was great improvising and teaching a whole variety of topics like what is your name, family, body parts, clothes and numbers. Roll on week 2 with some extra teachers from some of the other communities.