Anticipating the Resurrection

Today is our last day of waiting.  40 days of remembering, learning and anticipating.  Tomorrow Christians all over the world will celebrate Resurrection Sunday, the day that marks Christ rising from the dead.  Our God is not dead.  He’s alive.  Hallelujah!  Screen Shot 2017-04-15 at 4.53.29 PMSo today we went to the park and sat, enjoyed the beautiful day and remembered.  We’ve read devotionals for the past 40 days, learning more about scripture and the final candle has now been blown out.  Palm Sunday marked the beginning of Holy Week as we anticipated the events that had to happen in order to fulfill the prophecies.  We celebrated with a Passover Seder, ate and drank and remembered.  We heard a beautiful sermon on Good Friday, Christ was dead, buried and in the tomb.  And now we wait.  Because tomorrow we know what happens but that doesn’t make it any less marvelous.  He is surely alive.  Hallelujah!

Tomorrow we will light all the candles, we will sing songs of His glorious resurrection and we will celebrate Christ overcoming death.  It was worth the wait.  Hallelujah!

Where’s the Matzah?

Growing up in California, Easter was always marked with the beginning of spring, pastel colors and new baby bunnies and little chicks.  Easter was filled with family and church celebrations, a special Easter outfit for Sunday was a must and supermarket shelves were filled with chocolate eggs, bright colored candies as well as all the makings for a passover meal.  This includes shelves of kosher wine and, of course, matzah bread.

In preparation for a Christian Seder* meal tonight, I went to the store to grab a few special ingredients.  Apples, walnuts and wine to make the charoset, horseradish for the maror, parsley for the karpas, chocolate prizes, a few other things and the special Matzah bread.  While we did find a whole section filled with chocolate goodies, bunnies and eggs, there was no Passover section.  And when I asked about the Matzah bread, the man had no idea what it was, and I was told to look in the specialty crackers by the deli.  Matzah was no where to be found.  There are many different substitutes, unleavened bread in flatbread form, I could make the bread, like I did when I was in Papua New Guinea, or we could use another form of cracker.  However, I am still surprised that Matzah isn’t easily available at this time of the year.

Sometimes I could almost forget that it is autumn here in the southern hemisphere.  The weather is still warm, there are new little goslings in the neighborhood park and it’s Easter after all.  I could almost forget that Australia and the US are different, even more than just the accents and kangaroos.  But then something simple happens and I realize that I am not in the US and there are things here that I can’t take for granted, like easily finding Matzah in the regular grocery store.

*Tonight we will celebrate a Christian Seder meal with a group of friends.  This will have many of the elements of a traditional Passover meal including being celebrated at sundown but instead of hoping for an unknown Messiah, we will acknowledge the Messiah Jesus Christ and take communion together.  I love the history and tradition that is woven into this beautiful meal.  It is a wonderful way to acknowledge our Christianity’s roots in Judaism, celebrate Holy Week and prepare for Good Friday.

Social Work at UWA

Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 6.55.05 PM.pngHere’s a little more of a peek into my life at UWA.  First of all, the campus is beautiful.  I will share more pictures some other time but between the roses, the trees, the lovely lawn areas and all the peacocks and ducks (currently with ducklings!) we have many beautiful things to enjoy as we walk through campus or sit outside while meeting for our group projects.Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 6.53.13 PMGroup projects have been a significant part of our course and I’m sure there will be more in our future.  Today we completed our first group task and this picture is from our group presentation.  Our group of 9 students read a chapter from a book, summarized the chapter, made our own reflections and presented our findings to the entire class.  Working in a group always has challenges but I love the conversations and the learning that is taking place through our group interactions.  There are some pretty amazing students in this class!Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 6.52.42 PMAnd not just a few students but 130 students!  We are typically split into two groups for our lectures but our Indigenous Studies Course has us all together and we fill the lecture hall to the brim.  I took this picture during a break when not everyone was in their seats.  There is also a lot of independent learning expected from us but I am thankful for the time outside of class to research interesting social work theories and to continue the conversations that start around our the lectures and other classroom work.Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 7.14.30 PM.pngI’m currently finalizing my first paper for this semester.  It includes reflections about how critical thinking is impacting my views as a future social worker.  While we are learning plenty of content, a lot of the course is geared towards introspection, self awareness and critical thinking.  I’m being challenged to think differently and this is only week 7 of the course!  There is still so much to learn.

Ryan Preaches on Palm Sunday

“Hosanna to the Son of David!  He who comes in the name of the Lord is the blessed One!  Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Matthew 21:9Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 6.30.33 PMI’ve been looking forward to Palm Sunday all year.  Since I love Easter, I am disappointed when we miss or overlook all the amazing things leading up to Resurrection Sunday that anchor our faith in history and point us towards Jesus as he fulfills prophesy.  Palm Sunday does both and Ryan preached a great sermon reminding us of the impactful history of our faith and pointing us towards Jesus, not just as the one who fulfills prophecy but the one who died to save us and loves us so much that he weeps when we reject him.Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 6.28.28 PMAfter church in Brookton, we always share a morning tea, which is feeling more and more like a family gathering.  Today we had all sorts of treats that included leftover birthday cake, fairy bread, muffins, other goodies and the special Easter hot cross buns.  We prefer ours sans fruit so I just make them with lots of cinnamon:-)  Fellowship and treats are always a sweet way to spend a Sunday.screen-shot-2017-04-09-at-6-31-17-pm.png

Reflections on Change

Four years ago the Australia team looked very different, more singles and an even higher concentration of creative types.  2/3 of the people in this picture are in Australia with me now but the others left their footprints.  Four years ago Ryan and I had just begun our relationship but the future was uncertain and no commitments had been made.  I didn’t even know at this point that he was seriously praying about Australia.  Four years ago I had no idea how things would change.Screen Shot 2017-04-07 at 1.56.40 PMI’m pausing for a bit of reflection because I needed a break from the paper I’m currently working on for the university and because I find myself in a wonderful place where I miss what could have been but I’m so amazed at what God has done.  I can definitely idealize the way the team dynamics would have played out if four years ago we could have all snapped our fingers and been in Perth together.  But I can currently see some of what would have been lost if we had circumvented God’s process.  This is the benefit that we have from being able to look back.  You know, the whole hindsight is 20/20 thing.

I’m thankful that my path crossed with these amazing people.  I’m thankful for the winding journey that kept me away from Australia until now.  I’m thankful that I can see evidence of God’s faithfulness in my life and all who are pictured here.  Change is rarely easy yet sometimes change can be amazing.

Visiting York

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 6.49.25 PMIt’s been 3 years since Ryan and I have visited York.  This little town of about 3000 people is about an hour north of Brookton.  It was one of my favorite towns along the 120 and I’m excited to get to spend more time in this part of the Wheatbelt.Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 6.50.02 PMSome of the members of the church in Brookton live in York, therefore it has been decided that the weekly Bible study will try occasionaly to meet in York.  Although I usually stay home and study for my University classes, I’m going to accompany Ryan out to York today and we’ll spend the night with friends after the study.  I’m looking forward to seeing everyone and participating in the Bible study too.  York here we come!

The Postgraduate Study Area

Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 4.27.42 PMTucked into the corner of the library’s second floor is the the Postgraduate Study Area.  It is silent, still and makes me feel guilty if I sneeze.  In the Postgraduate Study Area all you hear is typing and the clicking of computer mice.  In the Postgraduate Study Area the sound of squeaking chairs is deafening.  I sit, work and pause to wonder what everyone around me is studying.  I see computer screens covered in complicated codes, thick books and hunched shoulders.  In the Postgraduate Study Area individual learning is at its peek.  This is one aspect of University life that I probably should get used to.Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 4.28.11 PM