Belonging Matters

As I transition from living at Worldview College of Intercultural Studies in Tasmania, back to life in Melbourne, I have found Sarah A. Lanier’s book “Foreign to familiar“, helpful for understanding the differences between these two places.

In my experience, transition is always hard. I deeply miss my friends, who became like family, the church community I belonged in and the purpose that came from studying. But until I read that book I did not realise how much I miss the culture of Worldview. Although located in what the author refers to as a “cold culture,” which is categorised as being task-orientated (vs a “hot culture” which is relationship-based), Worldview has many elements of a “hot culture“;

  • Spontaneity is everywhere. For example, if you want to play a game of volleyball, you just post it on the group chat and see who turns up. 
  • Everyone is welcome. I can’t count the number of times I would be walking to the bins and someone would invite me into their home, conversation or game. The invitation was- come in and jump into our lives
  • And as a result, boundaries and life look very different.

For some, this culture of life is overwhelming, exhausting and at times can feel invasive. But I found I loved it- thrived in it. And when I needed space (generally on a Sunday afternoon) I’d go for a walk by myself or hide in my room.

In contrast, Melbourne culture is so different.

  • It is fast-paced
  • To get anywhere I have to drive 
  • And to organise a catch up with a friend, you set a time and date (sometimes a month in advance) 

Consequently, I have been missing the joys of spontaneous deep fellowship. The kind that comes when you have time, space and a shared vision and are invited to be vulnerable.

Adventures with friends from Worldview.

At the start of the month, I was able to get away for a few days to visit friends from Worldview. It was such a blessing to spend a few days away experiencing that culture and style of life again. Stories were shared, laughs were had, and I went to bed feeling full. Full of life, joy and deep contentment.

I understand that Worldview is unique. For those of you who haven’t had the joy of living in the community, it’s the kind of unique that one might experience on a camp or mission trip. One that has all the feelings and experiences. Where you do life together- from cooking meals, to cleaning bathrooms and trips to the shops. Where you’re there long enough that people see the good and also the ugly.

And I’ve been wondering, how does one create the culture here? The culture that says, “you’re welcome as you are. Come, be and sit. Enjoy.” I don’t have all the answers yet, but I believe there is a deep longing in each of us to belong, to be welcomed and loved.

I believe that every person SHOULD be part of a community because belonging is important. 

Here are a few reasons why:
  1. Because we were created for it.
    After God made everything in the garden he states, “it is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him” (Gen 2:18). Right back in the beginning, we are told that man is made for meaning and relationships. Before the curse of the fall- where everything went wrong- we were made to be in relationships with one another- and that is still true today. 
    The author of Hebrews tells us, not to give “up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing” (Heb 10:25). Instead, we are to be encouraging one another as “the Day” is approaching.
  2. It’s fun!!
    Doing life together is fun! Sure, it hard and challenging and conflict is bound to happen (I’ll talk about that next), but it is also in the context of community- of belonging- that memories are made and shared. I have thousands of photos from the eighteen months I lived in Tasmania and even more memories from that time. We did holidays and day trips together, as well as had meals together and did simple things like walking to the post office. The mundane and everyday life things needed to happen, however, the relationships made them enjoyable and fun.
  3. Because growth happens. 
    Living in the Worldview community made my sins and human dependencies so much clearer to me. At times this was scary but working through these is always worthwhile and refining. We shared numerous great memories, but there were also moments when we would clash. We would disagree on topics, or have misunderstandings and find ourselves needing to apologise. But these also made us grow stronger together and closer to God. It is only through journeying with others that I recognised lies that I had believed about myself, and these were able to be brought into the light.  
  4. Because when we belong, we can invite others to belong.
    It is not only Christians who are made with a longing to belong. Loneliness is something so many people in our society experience, in fact in 2018 about 1 in 4 reported to currently experiencing loneliness- and I imagine this experience has only increased during the lockdowns, as a result of COVID-19. Non-Christians want a place where they feel welcomed, safe and like they are important. The tailrace community youth group is an amazing place of belonging. Youth who may be bullied at school are safe here. They matter there, and that knowledge and experience is powerful to a teenager, but also those older.
  5. Because proximity matters.
    The second greatest commandment is to “love your neighbour as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). We can’t love someone until we know them- without knowing someone that love is only surface deep. But the kind of love Jesus invites us into is bigger and deeper than that. It’s the kind of love that Jesus demonstrated for us- a love that goes beyond age, gender, ethnicity/race, sexuality, religion or any other social or personal characteristics.

Belonging isn’t something you can take, it is something you are given. So what does it look like for you, and me, to be a culture that says, “come let’s be together.” It might be messy, hard and challenging. But I also believe it can be sweet, and give us a glimpse into what we had in the Garden of Eden.

Question: What is your experience with belonging, is it something you are currently experiencing?

Thank you so much for joining me on this journey!

With love,
Amber

Links:
Previous Post: A group who gets me.
Tailrace Community has recently done a series on this theme of belonging, listen to their sermons here.
More statistics about social isolation and loneliness: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-welfare/social-isolation-and-loneliness

Am I successful?

The other night as I was trying to fall asleep this question, with such quickness and authority, popped into my brain, “if this is my life for the next few years would God say to me “well done good and faithful servant?”
It had my attention and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to fall asleep until I thought it through. So, I shot straight up and grabbed my journal to start writing about it.

These are some of my musings. I think we have this ideal view of what we want our life to be like, and then we could fully follow Jesus. I know I’ve fallen into the trap of thinking; when I get my dream job and are more financially stable, then I could help that person in need; or then, I could witness to that co-worker.

But I think far too often we get caught up with planning, and longing for the next stage of life that we miss the blessings in the current one.

Maybe you’re single and want to be married, and you’re so sick of the waiting, you want to be in the next stage of life already. Or maybe you’re already married and want children.
Or maybe you’re studying and thinking I just want to be working in the industry already.
Or maybe you’re in this season of waiting on God to open the doors for the next and meanwhile, you’re doing the mundane. You’re going to the job (even though it’s not your ideal) and you’re cooking meals, and catching up with people. All the while thinking, hoping and longing for the next stage.
Or maybe it’s something else entirely, but you’re using it as an excuse for why you’re not participating in building the Kingdom of God. I’ve been there. 

I’ve lived this way for a long time. Always seeking the next experience, the next goal. It’s sometimes a really good thing, it keeps me motivated and seeking exciting adventures and no one can tell me I’m settling for the mundane. But recently I realised that it also means I miss the good in this season. 

We are called to be on mission with God WHEREVER we are. And I need to view my current life, this place God has me in RIGHT NOW, as my mission ground. This is not the bus stop on the way to the real thing. This is now.

And I need to be living into that.
I need to be loving God and loving others right where I am now.


Let me back up a little bit, and explain why this question popped into my brain on that sleepless night. I had been thinking about success. More specifically, I was questioning is the life I am living at the moment, a life I would consider as successful?

I thought about the multiple part-time jobs I’m working, the few blog posts I’m writing down, and the friends I catch up with frequently. And I realised that this wasn’t what I viewed as being successful. I am so used to measuring my ideal of success to what society tells me. And society tells me that I should want a full-time job, want a relationship, a house, and the status and freedoms that come from those things. And when I look at that definition of success and my current reality, I come up lacking. I am seriously behind in the game and that is extremely disappointing and disheartening.

I’ve had some time since that night to redefine my definition of success. To re-evaluation and consider is my life successful? And still, I would say I wasn’t being successful, but not because of society’s view of success, but because of God’s.

See, if we are called to live lives of love then I’m missing out. I’m missing out because I’m so focused on where I want to be (overseas on the mission field), and not where God has me right now (working part-time jobs in Melbourne). I’m failing because I missed the chance to have a real conversation with my colleague yesterday as I was on my phone replying to messages, instead of being present. I miss the chance to be involved in things happening in my community and in the lives of those that need help. I justify my decisions by telling myself that one day when I have my life sorted out, I’ll do those things.

But what if ‘one day’ never comes?


If you too find yourself living in a season that is not your dream, and you are waiting for the day when you can finally join God’s mission, I’d say you will always miss out.

God has you where you are right now for a purpose. And he has asked you to “go out into all the world and make disciples.” (Matthew 28:19-20). 
But the beautiful thing, the thing that keeps me going is this:

You are not alone, He promises he will go with you, and He always keeps His promises.

It might be messy, it might be hard, but there is so much joy to be had in joining in God’s mission and loving the people in your world, right where you are now.

So now the question I’m wrestling with, is how? How am I going to love, and make disciples, and how are you going to do it?

And honestly, it’s nothing ground breaking- but I am trying to listen to the Spirit’s promptings and have the courage to do the things He asks.  

Thank you so much for joining me on this journey!

WITH LOVE,
AMBER

The Journey

Do you at times worry about what to do with your future? As a high school student, I certainly did.

Just before year 12, I went on a short-term mission trip with my family to Nepal. Here I saw great physical needs; children in hospital for preventable conditions and young pregnant women arriving at the hospital without any prenatal care. I came back to Australia with a vision for my future: I was going to work in health development overseas. This passion got me through that final year of high school and then four years of university. It was during this time that I then realised people don’t just need help with their physical health, but also their spiritual health.

That’s one of the major reasons I’m now studying at Worldview Centre of Intercultural Studies. I’m excited about learning about God, myself and how to present the gospel in culturally appropriate ways.

Some days I’m disheartened. It’s been 6 years since I was in Nepal and I’m still not yet overseas. I’m learning that God doesn’t always give us all the steps to his plan straight away. Through it all, however, I can trust God’s plans. I may not be completely comfortable stepping into them, but He has always been faithful. And following Him is life’s greatest journey.

Continue to seek God and His plans for your life, no matter how young or old you are.

Your journey may be similar to mine, or greatly different. That’s not what’s important. But may I encourage you to continue to seek God and His plans for your life, no matter how young or old you are.

Thank you so much for joining me on this journey!

With love,
Amber

First published on WEC Australia’s Imagine Magazine. Issue 45, Stepping into Mission.

You’re moving??? What! Why? Where!

Big changes are happening in my life. In one week I will have packed up my belongings, loaded up my little car and be sitting on the Spirit of Tasmania moving to another state! Another island even!

There are a lot of emotions running through me now; excitement, fear, joy, but the most consistent is peace. In his letter to the Philippians Paul talks about the peace that transcends all understanding (4:7) and that’s what I feel. I have peace that I am in the centre of God’s will.

Whenever I imagined going to Bible college, I always pictured myself living on campus with all my friends, having coffee between classes and doing a little bit of study in-between. With fewer and fewer live-in communities being established I didn’t think this was going to be a reality. So, when I heard about Worldview Centre for Intercultural Studies and their cross-cultural community, I was beyond excited! Plus, their focus on cross cultural mission will help prepare me for living and serving in another country.

But let me back track a little and share how God led me to this place.

Two years ago, I went on a short-term mission trip through central Australia. On my phone I had written a list of things I needed to look up when I came home – books that had been recommended or history I wanted more information about. Honestly, I had forgotten about this list, but I found it the other day, and written there at the top was look up ‘WEC Bible college in Tasmania’.

I think I briefly looked up the college, but I thought I was ready to go overseas (haha this is funny now, I can see I had a lot to learn still!). I came home burning with a desire to go out into the mission field. I knew it was where God wanted me, I was passionate and excited to be sharing my love of Jesus with those who didn’t know Him. This is when God threw me for a curve ball, as I felt the Lord clearly say to me that I’d be in Melbourne for two more years. TWO MORE YEARS! What was I meant to do for two years?! So, I asked Him, and His response was to make these moments count and prepare for something bigger.

I had no idea at that point what was my next step. Bible college was something that I wanted to do, but it wasn’t until a few months ago God showed me where… Tasmania. More specifically, Worldview Centre for Intercultural Studies – the same college someone recommended to me two years ago on the short-term trip. After spending a week down in Tasmania last September, experiencing classes and having meals together I was sure this was my next step. Just a little side note, anyone can do a Taster Week at Worldview and I highly recommend it.

A couple of people have asked me if I’m scared about moving interstate, and the answer is no, I’m not. I have peace that this is where God is leading me, and I’m so excited about learning more about God and His Kingdom. I’m also super excited about meeting the community there, making friends and journeying together.

However, there are many things that I will miss greatly; family, friends and a home church I’m familiar with. I’m learning that with following Jesus comes sacrifice, and that can be hard. Whilst I’m excited about what lies ahead of me, it also feels like part of my heart is getting left behind. These are my people. They’ve seen me at my best and my worst and loved me regardless. They’ve prayed with me, laughed and cried with me and done life with me. The idea of leaving them behind is so sad! I wish I could pack them all up and bring them with me. And I’m thankful for the internet and how easy it is to connect with people all around the world, but it’s still not the same as being with them. I’m also sad about the things I’m going to miss out on. Children growing up, new relationships starting, fun adventures and memories that people back home will be having. The FOMO (fear of missing out) is real!

To top it all off it is also my first long term experience of independence in Australia. Whilst I know how to look after myself, I’m a little nervous about doing it all in a new space.

The view from my bedroom window.
‘Do you really need Biblical training to be a missionary?’

A while ago I had this conversation with a friend. He was saying he didn’t think it was necessary for Christians to have Bible training to be a missionary, but my question was ‘why wouldn’t you want it’? If you were to become a teacher or nurse, you’d do the training needed for the job. And how much more important is the job of accurately sharing Jesus with others?! But Worldview is so much more than just studying. It involves learning to live in community, communicate with those who don’t come from the same country as you and ultimately learning to love as Jesus loved.

People have told me that Bible college is the best time of their lives. You’re living with friends, doing life together and getting deep into the Word. But it can also be really challenging at times, and a time of refining. A time when wrong teachings and shortcomings are brought to the light.

If you’ve never thought about Bible college, I’d recommend asking the Lord if this is part of his plans he has for your life. Taking a year or two out of the workforce can be scary, but is it not worth it, if it means you grow closer to the Lord and become more like him?

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. (Isa. 40:8).

Thank you so much for joining me on this journey!

With love,
Amber

A group who gets me

I spent the weekend with an awesome group of people; worshipping God and seeking His heart for the nations.

14 months ago, I went on my first Next Steps camp. Looking back, I can see how that weekend clearly impacted the direction of the year that followed.

It was on this weekend from May 2018 that God made it clear to me that going on the Short Term Overseas Mission Program (STOMP) to East Timor was the right next step. If you have read any of my previous blogs, you know the impact this trip had on me. After the STOMP is when I applied for Worldview College and finally started the process of joining WEC.

Because of what happened last year I was expecting God to move in big ways this Next Steps camp, and that’s exactly what He did! The presence of the Lord was moving amongst us.

It was lovely to meet with a group of people who ‘get me’. Even though I had never met some of them before we bonded on a deep level quickly, and I felt they understood me as we share a heart to see the unreached reached.  Each of us are at different stages of our journeys into mission, but were able to encourage one another, ask questions and expect big things from God. I’m so excited to see where these people will be a year from now, how God will use their gifts, passions and most importantly their desire to serve Him and ‘make disciples of all nations’ (Acts 1:8).

We discussed how God has always been on mission, from the beginning of time, and will be on mission until that day that every knee is bowed, and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord. Having space and time to ask questions, challenge one another and to have our worldviews expanded was so valuable. Even though I have been interning for a mission organisation, it is so easy to get caught up in life and forget there is a whole world outside of my little neighbourhood. This weekend I was reminded of the situation around us, that still there is over 42% of the world’s population that has not heard of Jesus! 

So Amber, what was the best thing?

One of the major highlights of the camp was the prayer for the nation’s session on the Saturday night. A few of us expressed how it was a long time to be praying and feared we may even fall asleep! But that’s not what happened, instead the hour flew by and I truly felt like we had entered the presence of God. My good friend Emma wrote about it on her blog and she captured it beautifully.

We were very lucky to have a WEC worker on home assignment who shared stories about “her people”. Seeing the way this Australian lady has faithfully served and prayed for this unreached people group touched my heart. I was convicted that I need to be in regular prayer for the people I’m going to be working amongst, even if I don’t know yet who they are.

We were all confronted by what looked like a sea of people, representing 1/10th of the unreached people in the world. On each strip of material was a people group, the country they reside in and the population. It was overwhelming to see, and Jesus’ words “the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few’ really rang true. However instead of complete helplessness (as I have often felt when confronted with this statistic) I was excited about the promise that every nation, tribe and people will be represented when worshipping the lamb in the throne room of Heaven.

So today I want to encourage you to start praying for the nations, because the promise is that they will be represented at the throne room in Heaven. But the question is, are we going to join God in his mission in reaching them?

Thank you so much for joining me on this journey!

With love,
Amber

Some useful tools.
I’ve started using the Unreached of the Day app by Joshua Project, so that I can pray specifically for a new people group each day.

Some days God will give me a group of people to pray for and so I’ll pray for them. There are so many great resources out there, I encourage you to find one that works for you. I’ve found it’s useful to pray with someone else and this also keeps you accountable.

A remarkable start to the year.

I’ve haven’t posted on my blog for a couple of weeks as I’ve been away for more nights than I’ve been home. Because I was curious, I counted it. For the first 6 weeks of this year I’ve slept in my own bed for 15 nights. Fifteen. Only 15 times!

Fourteen of those nights I spent in Sydney for the first part of WEC’s Candidate Orientation (CO). This is the training process you go through in order to join WEC long term. The outcome of the two weeks took me by surprise.

Looking back, I don’t really remember consciously saying yes to wanting to join WEC, it just kind of happened. So prior to the two weeks I had been praying and asking the Lord if this was even something He wanted me to do. I have a habit of jumping into things and saying yes to the adventure, and then later wondering if that was the best idea. So this time I wanted to be sure. But before I even finished asking the question, “God do you want me to do CO with WEC?”, I felt him say yes. It wasn’t an audible voice, but more a strong sense deep within me. I then proceeded to give Him reasons why I didn’t think it was a good idea. I found myself thinking, I’m so young, I’ve got so much baggage. Others are way more qualified, I would fear, forgetting my identity. Then there were practical thoughts. It’s going to cost a bit of money and time, is this wise? But every excuse I threw at Him was, when I considered, just a personal fear or concern. Having this clear answer was comforting and powerful. And so I arrived in Sydney with great peace that I was exactly where I was meant to be.

How beautiful is the WEC building!

We started off the two weeks thinking about our expectations, and I discovered I was desperate to learn more about WEC, myself, but most of all, God. And wow oh wow, did that happen!

When I first started as an intern a year ago, I was told that WEC sees itself as one big family, and I have to say, that’s really how it feels. Going up to the WEC headquarters in Sydney felt like going to visit my family. One of my absolute highlights was hosting a number of these ‘family members’- past and present WEC missionaries – to meals. The six of us doing the training were then able to ask a number of questions and hear their stories and wisdom from years in the field. Time and time again we were told about how God provided for His people when by human standards all looked bleak. I was inspired and encouraged by their amazing testimonies and what God is able to do through a person’s life when they surrender all to Jesus. These people are amazing, not because of their own achievements and accomplishments, although they are great people, but because they are serving an all-powerful God who can use broken vessels for His glory (2 Corinthians 4:7).

Hearing these stories and learning more about the structure, history and core of WEC, I am excited about joining an organisation that is so focused on Christ. Their vision, to see Christ known, loved and worshipped by the unreached peoples of the world, flows into every aspect of their ministry.

Korean food for dinner, yes please!

Starting each morning as a group and seeking to know Christ more, was such a powerful way to begin the day. I journaled and prayed on the first morning we were there, for more of God. That I would know what it means to live fully, filled with God as my living water (John 4). Whilst I’m not there yet, being away from my usual places and deliberately seeking God’s face brought me so much joy and life. I want to end with this verse as it sums up my time away rather well.

“Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart;
Don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for GOD’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
He’s the one who will keep you on track,
Don’t assume that you know it all.
Run to GOD!”
– Proverbs 3:5-7 MSG

Thank you so much for joining me on this journey!

With love, Amber.

Rockets are go

You know that feeling before you do something out of your comfort zone, and you know everything will change. Well maybe not everything, but at the time it feels like everything. This is what I imagine it’s like to launch a rocket. 

And that’s what starting a blog feels like.

This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s the most terrifying thing, and the thing that has the most potential of failure. Writing a blog – putting my thoughts and words down for people to read on the internet, terrifies me!

You know that dream you have as a kid, of getting to school in your pyjamas (for me this wouldn’t be that bad because I love my llama pjs), or even worse with no clothes at all?  That’s how I feel. Exposed and uncomfortable!

I never set out to write a blog. English wasn’t my favourite subject, in fact it was my weakest subject. And as a result I’ve had so many doubts about launching this ‘rocket’. Like, Amber who’s going to read it anyways, who are you to give them advice or information, and you’re not even that good at English.

I was reminded recently of a time on a short term trip to central Australia where I literally broke down at the breakfast table over my bowl of cereal, because I felt inadequate and weak. As I poured out my heart to my dear friend, who’s like a mother to me, about my fears of not being good enough to be a missionary, or clever enough because I couldn’t do something as simple as learn a few key phrases in their language. She took me aside and gave me some scriptures that have stayed so close ever since.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7). 

And that’s exactly how I feel as I sit here and write this, weak, and unimpressive and like a clay jar. Yet God is reminding me that it’s not about me at all, but about Him!

All I’m required to do is to be obedient to His calling for my life. And man does obedience take faith!

In the same way that I need faith, it took faith for Abram to leave his home town for the unknown. It took faith for all the prophets to speak the message God has given them. And now it is taking faith to launch this site, even when it might mean I fail and crash and burn. 

I wonder what the Lord is asking of you today, you don’t have to be perfect at it. And you don’t have to have your life together, trust me – I don’t! But He asks for your faith and obedience.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). 

Thank you so much for joining me on this journey!

With love,
Amber

Things I learnt in 2018

As the year comes to an end I’ve been reflecting on what God has taught me.

Firstly, His timing is perfect! In November of last year I began praying “God I’m willing to do whatever you want me to do, but you need to show me what that is.”  For about four months this was my daily prayer, and it wasn’t until February that God revealed what He wanted me to do this year. In a way that only God could orchestrate I heard about the WEC Mission intern program. During this time I had applied to countless job positions and knocked on what seemed like endless doors. One of my friends said to me one day “well, if it’s not this job, then God must have something better in store for you.” I truly believe God “works for the good of those who love Him” (Romans 8:28), and He has better plans than we can ever ask or imagine.

It was during this season of waiting on the Lord that my faith deepened and I learnt some amazing lessons of patience and trust! His plan and timing is truly perfect.

The second thing that God has shown me is that He is a God of transformation and redemption! He is, and always will be until Christ returns, at work drawing people to himself. I’ve seen this clearly in my own life this year as He heals the broken parts of me, and reveals His beauty. 

I’ve seen this in accounts of scripture, how he chose Abram and the people of Israel, but then also other unexpected people. The gospel is not the story of perfect people, but of broken people with a powerful and merciful God.

I’ve also seen this through the ministry of Betel  (church planting amongst drug addicts) and through my short-term trip to East Timor. We are never too far from God for His love!

Thirdly, I have seen that there is so much joy in doing what you’ve been called and designed to do. I think I had this idea of what being a missionary looked like, and I didn’t understand how I’d fit into that mould. Realising that it takes a whole team and different skills (1 Corinthians 12:4-6), has been so freeing and I’m now excited about how God can use me in His mission abroad.

In a podcast I was listening to recently, John Crist said “You know you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, when you’re doing it, you’re not thinking ‘I should be doing something else’… that’s what you’re put on the planet to do”. I replayed these lines a couple of times, as I’d never heard the description of purpose so clearly. And since then I’ve been really thinking about the things I love to do, and are these what God has put me on the planet to do? 

There have been so many elements of this year that have been super fun. But it has also been a super hard year, where I’ve been stretched and exhausted and pushed outside of my comfort zone. But in that time I’ve done new things and traveled to places I never dreamed of. I hope as the year comes to an end you’ll take some time to think about what you’ve learnt this year and what you hope to achieve in the New Year.

Thank you so much for joining me on this journey!

With love,
Amber

Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

I shared a little bit in an earlier post about my heart for missions and why I’m writing this blog and what I hope you as the reader might take away from it.

I wanted to take the time now to explain the meaning behind the name “Arise, Let’s go!” I spent a lot of time thinking and praying about the name, especially as names are so significant to God. Let me break it down. 

Go!

For my 21st Birthday my Father gave me a copy of the Dr. Seuss classic “Oh the Places You Will Go”, a very fitting book as I was about to spend 6 months half way around the world. I love this book because in it the character goes on this great adventure, sometimes soaring high and other times he finds himself in a bit of a pickle, but, importantly, he goes

Way back in Genesis 12, God calls Abram to get up and leave his home country. And in faith Abram set out on this adventure with God. He is told to GO! Countless times over generations God has been drawing people to himself and sending His people out to be a part of this process. 

Arise

The book of Jonah tells us that God told Jonah to “Go immediately to Nineveh” (Jonah 1:2). In Hebrews it translates “Arise, go.” It has an urgency to get up from what you are doing and go. This is God’s command to Jonah, but it’s also a command for us. The Word of the LORD has come to us,just as it did to Jonah, and we are told to “go and make disciples of all the nations… baptising them… and teaching them” (Matthew 28:19-20). 

But to do this requires us to firstly hear God’s word and then to obey. I think this is often the point that we get stuck. How do we know where God is calling us to? Then how do we actually make it a reality? We can see the end goal God has in mind, but it’s the tricky murky steps in between that have us confused. 

That’s the purpose of this blog. 

As I journey through these massive questions, through those murky steps, I’m inviting you to be part of it. Maybe you know where God wants you, or perhaps you have no idea where that is or how to start. 

Let’s

That’s why it’s “let’s” go, because I’m not going alone, we are going together. I’m sure you are familiar with the saying it ‘takes a village to raise a child’. Well that’s true here too- it takes a community to raise an effective missionary. I can’t do this journey on my own, and frankly, if I tried, it would just be silly. Let’s journey together, asking the hard questions and seeking the Lord together. 

“So… 
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray 
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea, 
you’re off to Great Places! 
Today is your day! 
Your mountain is waiting. 
So…. get on your way!” 
– Dr.Seuss 

Thank you so much for joining me on this journey!

With love,
Amber

This is me

Hi, I’m Amber. Some of my favourite things in the world are coffee dates with friends (where I drink tea), dancing around my home whilst singing at the top of my lungs, and good meals – especially with potatoes- and the more conversations at once the better!  I feel most alive and passionate when helping people, which explains why I studied a degree in Applied Public Health and Global Studies. But most of all, 

I love God! 

I grew up in a crazy bizarre Christian home. I say crazy because we sing a lot  loudly and off key  we laugh even more, and we make up silly traditions that make no sense to anyone except us –  for example a 10-minute birthday song. But they are also the reason that I daily experience God’s love and grace and are the people who have had the most impact on my life. 

When I was in year 7 my parents took us overseas for the first time, and I was shocked to see how other people lived. I knew that we had a good life in Australia, and that it wasn’t the way the rest of the world lived. I knew that around 1 billion people in the world live with less than 1 dollar a day. But knowing that and seeing that are two different things. 

My twelve year old self was shocked and I would never be quite the same. 
I came back from that 3 week trip with my world-view shattered. It stayed with me. Seeing the lives of some of the least fortunate people in the world will do that to you. 
But what could I do as a twelve year old? 

Years went on and we took more trips, and with those trips came opportunities to share with others. My brothers and I, with the help of our parents, did a number of fundraisers and awareness campaigns. We saw a need and had to act. 
And more and more the Lord was drawing me to himself. I prayed the prayer “Break my heart for what breaks yours”, and He answered. 

So what do you do when you’re struck by the complete imbalance of the world’s money and power? 

Well, I went to university for four years to learn more. And wow, did that also shock me. I was exposed to so much injustice in the world that I got overwhelmed. At times I stuck my head in the sand and cried out help! I went to get answers, but often came out of those lectures with more questions and more disheartened than ever. And the only answer I seemed to have was Jesus. 

I realised that what this world needs is not more infrastructure projects, healthcare or education. Whilst these things are all really good, they’re not solving the world’s problems. Because we have a heart problem.

We need God!

Not religion, but personal relationships with God. 
According to the Joshua Project 41.2% of the world is considered unreached! 3.31 billion people have never had the chance to hear about Jesus Christ. And that breaks my heart!  

So what am I going to do about this? 
Well after being a Mission Intern for WEC Australia, and seeing the work they do in East Timor, I’ve started my applications to be a candidate.
I definitely don’t have all the answers, but I’m hoping that through this journey I can answer some of your questions, especially if you have a heart for the lost but don’t know where to start. And that we can be challenged together.

But mostly, I pray this brings glory to God. 

Psalm 127:1 says 
“Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labour in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.” 

Thank you so much for joining me on this journey!

With love,
Amber