Thursday, December 9, 2010

Learn a new language and get a new soul (Czech Proverb)

Well, we've finished St Andrew's Hall training with CMS down in Melbourne and are now starting our 6 months of visiting churches to raise mission awareness and personal support. We're missionaries to southern Africa (South Africa and Zambia)! This is thrilling! But more than that it's part of our very blessed lives where God is teaching and maturing us into the people we are destined to be.

There's been a lot of enforced navel-gazing that comes part and parcel of missionary training. Knowing yourself well will help you to survive longer and more effectively in cross-cultural situations. The following has been perculating in my mind over the long drive between Melbourne to Sydney (with a week stop in Canberra for Cite).

I think that despite graduating with a Bachelor of Divinity after studying for four wonderful years at Moore and being filled with foundational theological truths and biblical confidence, my personal assurance and self-confidence were slowly eroded away in Sydney. I had come down from Brisbane bounding in my own joy in languages and linguistics still a newlywed. I adore institutional learning but I think upon reflection, I was far too intimated for most of those four years and created for myself a tiny corner of impossible standards and soul-crushing respect for those in authority (a distinctly Asian part of my inner being that I think I sometimes believe is godly - but it's not always).

I came out well learned but incapable in some ways of using that knowledge. I had no way during those four years to combine my innermost ministry desires with what I was learning at college. Doing parish ministry is not at all what I want to do. It's a job that is beyond difficult in my eyes and although I'm glad to have tried it for while, it's not what I want to do. My passion is languages. My passion is seeing people know and understand Jesus in their own heart language. And this can still be my innermost passion even though I haven't done it yet!

2010 has been a year of going back to the basics for me. Back to languages. Back to non-English speaking students. Back to linguistics.

Teaching full-time again at the beginning of the year was a big step in re-discovering what I was made to do. I adore teaching. I adore people who don't yet speak English. I was able to use all manner of skills and knowledge that I gained at Moore but also what I had known before.

Moving to Melbourne to do 5 months of training for missionary work was incredibly self-fulfilling. I, like most missionaries-in-training, did *not* want to be there but in the end it was a really eye-opening time of self-reflection, maturation and generally stepping closer and closer to realising my dreams and hopes to do Bible translation.

And now we're only months away from moving to South Africa to live and work in Cape Town and Mongu in Zambia where we can use the skills and education that God has given us to help others grow in the love and knowledge of Jesus Christ. I'm most looking forward to what I will learn and be challenged in. I'm looking forward to being a linguistic baby again when I learn a new language. I'm looking forward to making new friends and finding people who love the same things that I do.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Fascinating Fascinator

For Melbourne Cup day down here in Melbourne, we (the women that is) wore fascinators to tea that night. I made this flower fascinator following Simple Vintage Girl's tutorial and I loved how they turned out.

They were an absolute cinch to make and it was quite fun to burn fabric as well! I used an old full slip that I had planned to donate to Savers but I'm glad I had held on to it (my hoarding ways can be helpful at times). I made three flowers and attached them to the straps of the slip to
make 2 headbands.

It's a very cute and easy tutorial. I've seen these flowers all over the place recently. I think people are using chiffon or silk or something synthetic that curls with heat. Here are some links.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Red tops

Red tops
Red tops by Feliciter featuring red tops
I've found Polyvore. It's a cute site that allows you to pick and choose clothes and create outfits. I've been researching styles that are complement my pear shape body. All the puffy sleeves and attention-drawing necklines are all great but they are all probably too long for my petite height and pear shape. The hems should end at the hip bone or a little longer.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Xhosa Lesson 2. How to say "click" sounds.

I'm planning on learning Xhosa to a high level over the first three years of living in Cape Town, South Africa. It's one of the 11 national languages of South Africa and it will help me to make relationships with locals in the township of Khayelitsha.

At some point learning Portuguese to a high level will be useful in order to work with Wycliffe in Angola and Mozambique.

I love that I have the opportunity to learn so many languages in situ.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

We're going to southern Africa!

It's all completely official. We've been accepted as missionaries with CMS to go to southern Africa next June for 3 years. We plan to be there for much longer than that but missionaries go for 3 years at a time with 6 months in between each term back in Australia. We will be living in the seaside suburb of Muizenberg, right on the southern tip of Africa.

Nathan will be lecturing at George Whitefield College (GWC). GWC is the theological college for the Church of England in South Africa (CESA), but actually draws students much more widely than that. GWC trains people from all over Southern Africa both to pastor churches and to teach in African bible colleges.
Nathan’ll also be studying a second PhD, part time. This time it will be in theology. He’s thinking about doing this through one of the local universities at Stellenbosch.

I will be working with The Seed Company on a Bible translation project in western Zambia. I will travel to a remote town three times a year, for three weeks at a time, and work with local Christians and other international consultants to translate the Bible for one of several unreached people groups in the area. The first job is to create written alphabets!
When I'm not in Zambia, I will be working with GWC to help improve the English of students who come from places where English is not their first language. Since teaching at GWC happens in English, this is an important ministry.
We plan to learn some basic Xhosa to help with building relationships with people in the local community.

We're beyond excited! God has been so very good and faithful and we are thrilled to be able to use our passions in this way. CMS is a fantastic organisation that seeks to see God's church growing as lives and communities are transformed by Christ. If you'd like to support us in any way: receiving our prayer letters, praying for us or financially supporting us please comment below and I'll get in touch with you.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bible translation = cultural preservation

After today we'll know for sure whether or not we're missionaries with CMS. We had our final Federal Candidates Committee interview this morning.

This video from WycliffeUSA is part of what I hope to be doing: Bible translation in an oral culture. (The video mentions Uganda and the Philippines but I won't be working in either country.)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Touristy Things

We've managed to fit quite a bit of touristy things in our 5 months here in Melbourne. The Great Ocean Road was magnificent and the fairy penguins on Phillip Island were smelly but oh, so cute.
Spring comes and goes in Melbourne, it seems. It was lovely today with the sun and gorgeous foliage but rain comes suddenly resulting in our housekeeper turning the central heating on again.
As part of missionary training with the Church Missionary Society we did a 4WDriving course. It was terrifying. I know the slope looks gentle but in real life it was a 90degree drop - I swear!
We have a few more weeks here in Melbourne. We have our final interview next week and then the conferences and fundraising for finance and prayer support begins.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Nathan and I had to have photos taken of us for the national prayer diary for the Church Missionary Society. Hopefully, if things go the way we'd like, we'll be missionaries by November and the prayer diary will have our photo and a little blurb about who we are, where we are going and what we will do. The prayer diary operates on a monthly rotation where areas of the world are assigned particular days. Prayerful supporters will pray for us on our chosen day.

I really like this photo of us. It's a keeper.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Signposting Melbourne

I'm loving the signs down here in Melbourne. I've managed to ramble around the city a bit but there's so much more to investigate.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The 2000 Walk

Did you know that there are 2000 languages in the world that still don't have any part of the Bible translated in them? That's 350 million people without a Bible in their heart language. And we here in Australia um and ah over which of 20 odd versions in English to choose from!

Yesterday, Dave, Carnsey and Sav started a walk from Cairns to Stanthorpe to raise awareness for Bible translation. That's 2000 kms of walking to represent those 2000 languages.

Along the way they'll be stopping in towns and cities to give presentations and visit schools and churches to help raise awareness.

People need to know this! We're far too complacent in our happy, safe worlds. There are millions of people in the world without any Bible at all! How is that possible in 2010?

Check them out here: The2000Walk

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sitting pretty in Melbourne

We've been here for three weeks now and it's been a whirlwind! Along with all my obligatory touristy travels we've had to study. What a bummer. ;p Our normal day is: get up at 9am for a class at 9:10am (so bizarre to live so close to school!!), class until 1pm which is when we have lunch, free time/study time/touristy travel time till 6pm which is when we have dinner. I know it looks like a breeze but we have a lot of cleaning/food prep duties and extra meetings like mentoring appointments, prayer groups, etc.

It's been so great to be able to study cross-cultural issues every day. Our classes range from understanding poverty from a Christian gospel perspective to how to do ethnography well. We have a pile of essays but they are awesome ones like 'social justice in Micah, Hosea and Amos' as well as a number of essays on your country placement in order to better prepare for living there.

Touristy travel-wise I've been all over the place. I'm really loving how close we are to the city! It's only a 15min tram ride but I might get more adventurous soon and ride a bicycle in. Melbourne is really set up well for bicycle travel! I've had a look around all the lovely laneways and tiny streets in the city as well as gone out as far as St Kilda beach for a look. We went to the National Gallery of Victoria as well as they had a European Masters exhibit on. I felt very knowledgeable on the transition from classical to impressionism but then it all fell out of my head the next day.

Our house is starting to look more like a home. And joy of all joys I've found some crafting outlets. I found this beautiful Lemair sewing machine languishing away in the creche room here at school. I can't find any manuals for it online but through trial and error I've figured out most of the buttons. I'm also going to a knitting meet with some fellow Melbourne knitters up in Brunswick. It'll be great to meet more people in Melbourne outside of my little circle.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

ACE teaching

From January until July 2010 I was teaching at the Australian College of English (ACE). After I completed my Bachelor of Arts in Applied Linguistics (Hons) I did a Graduate Certificate in Second Language Teaching. This is much higher qualification than those 4 week CELTA or TESOL courses that you often hear about. I started teaching English immediately after finishing university but then moved to Sydney in 2006 to start studying at Moore Theological College.

Teaching at ACE was a fantastic experience. I adored my students so much and as much as I taught them, they in turn taught me. I felt enriched to know such wonderful people and help them to understand the world around them in Australia as well as better equip them for working and living in an English speaking country. I had students from Asia, Europe and South America. I mainly taught the one class bringing them from Intermediate (12 weeks) and then three-quarters of the way into Upper-Intermediate (9 weeks). It was thrilling to see them develop and increase in knowledge and confidence in their English skills.

I never really thought that English teaching was for me. I'd always hoped and dreamed to work with languages but more with things like Bible translation. But I think this time has opened me up to the possibility of working with English students all over the world to teach and be taught as well as share my life with them as fellow learners and travellers.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hello World :D

I've been posting for a little while over at TheCraftyApple but decided to make the change to this new blog called Rubicon. You can see that I've imported all of my old posts from the other blog to create a sense of continuation. In a way I will continue the old blog's content since it's all a reflection of my life so far: craft, study, travel and my faith in Jesus Christ.

2010, however, has been a year of huge change. After finishing our Bachelor of Divinity at Moore Theological College in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, we took jobs in our respective fields. I worked at the Australian College of English teaching English to overseas students. Nathan taught theology at Moore's night classes as well as at the Wesley Institute of Music. To actually earn money, however, Nathan was a programming consultant for Griffith University. All of this was part of our larger plan to work with the Church Missionary Society (CMS) in building up and encouraging Christians around the world in the areas of theological education and Bible translation.

We applied to CMS and through a long and arduous process were accepted in April 2010. This meant that we had to finish up our jobs in July 2010 so that we could move from Sydney to Melbourne, Victoria, for 5 months of training. On the 18th July we moved to Melbourne and have now had three days of training.

This training is largely made up of cross-cultural awareness, language learning techniques as well as a greater understanding of the people and culture of the respective countries we will be moving to next year. As of yet we do not know for certain where we will go but are firm in the fields that we want to work in.

So, that's a short summary of where we are at. It's been an incredible last 6 months of moving all over Sydney (from Parramatta to Drummoyne to Hornsby), working full-time (and more!) to moving interstate yet again.

It's been a blessing from God to be able to move here and to be involved in this journey. We are learning, growing and being challenged each day. It's so exciting to be finally understanding and seeing how our dreams are being fulfilled little by little. :D

Sunday, July 4, 2010

I'm back.

I've decided to come back and write again on my blog. But I've been concerned for a while over the name as there's a business with a very similar name. So I'll probably change the name and address. Once I've sorted it all out I'll post with an update. :)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ending the blog

I've decided that this blog isn't really going anywhere so I'm going to take it off the web. I've also just started a full time job as an English as a Second Language and I think this blog is unprofessional for this profession. I probably will in the future make up another blog but probably more related to my professional interests rather than just hobbies. Hopefully this profession will be Bible translation. :) Thanks for the blog love and the opportunity to write and have people read.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A more green lifestyle?

I know this isn't really a crafty post but it's been something that I've been interested in for a little while. I've been investigating organic, cruelty free, SLS free and paraben free products. It's sort of 'cool' and 'hip' to be environmentally conscious at the moment so I've been bombarded with how morally evil parabens etc. but having a scientist for a husband has resulted in many a conversation ending with 'What's so wrong with chemicals?'.

We currently use SLS free toothpaste as it results in less gum irritation and thus fewer mouth ulcers. SLS or SLES generally doesn't bother me because I love lather but people love to claim that it's carcinogenic etc. This is a good discussion on the myths.

Parabens are preservatives. My current beef with parabens is that they are used in liquid products (like cosmetic and skin products) to increase shelf life. This is a great use in theory but if they are being used so that they are able to be made cheaper overseas and then imported in Australia, I'm not so keen on that. I'd like to think that something I'm using won't be usable 5 years from now. The level of preservatives necessary for that doesn't seem particularly good for my own bloodstream.

I adore Lush products and they use SLS and parabens. Here's a blog post about this issue. Lush defends its use of parabens but are also planning to get rid of them in the near future. As a side point, I'm excited by Lush's solid products negating the need for excess packaging.

Cruelty free doesn't particularly interest me. I'd rather that things be tested on animals than on people. I don't particularly like unnecessary testing (like retesting colour after colour after colour) but I choose to have more compassion for people than for animals.

Organic products intrigue me. Nathan recently returned from Cape Town, South Africa and was impressed by the prevalence of organic produce and how fantastic it tasted. Certified organic products used to produce skin products are interesting and desirable but not necessary for me. There are good things about pesticides that people forget to take into account. The whole issue over DEET is one case. As far as I understand it's great that we stopped killing some particular species of insects (i.e. mosquitoes) by stopping the use of DEET but we also allowed many people to die from malaria carrying mosquitoes.

I guess, the above rant is a result of some long-term thoughts about being more wise about what I use on my body in the pursuit of health and beauty (prettiness?). The main motivation behind this is wisdom and godly care of the body God's given me. But in saying that, I'm also willing to give up my health for the sake of someone else (does that make me sound like I'm on the road to a burn out? Hardly!). What I mean by that is that my choices in the store will have an impact on those producing the products. It's the situation of Fair Trade coffee. Buying something here in Sydney will have an impact on those who farm the cocoa and tea.

Well, those are my current thoughts. I'm trying to be balanced and wise. I don't want to just be green because it's 'cool' but I want to be well thought out and thoughtful of the entire production cycle.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Pinoy Musings

I found the Philippines so beautiful and full of wonder. I've been a few times before: twice as a child and once back in 2004. But this trip was longer, full of Australian/Filipino relatives and contained more freedom to explore the city and townships.
My mum lives in Luwigan, Davao Oriental on the island of Mindanao. We spent time in the big city of Davao but more time out in amongst the coconut farms and coral reefs of the provinces.
The people were friendly and generous. The Filipinos are well known for their hospitality and neighbourliness. They are fixated on children and could not understand how we could be married for 5 years and not have children. I learned 'Wala pa' ('Not yet' in Tagalog) very early on in our trip.

I got to spend time with my mum and my grandmother as well as countless cousins and aunties and uncles. My grandfather married twice so we have a very large family.

This year one of my big goals is to learn Tagalog fluently. I feel like I've missed out on a lot of culture and Filipino identity by not learning Tagalog and/or Bisaya as a child but it's never too late.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Well, it's been a while. Far too long really. My fourth (and final) year of Bible college was an absolute killer with so many essays and exams that all seemed to be due at the same time.

But it's a new year and a new chance to get this blog running again. I've got oodles of ideas and plans in my head about what I want to achieve creatively this year and what I want to share on this blog.

For starters, I've got a picture in this particular post of me next to a caribou in Bagoo, Monerigao, Davao Oriental, Mindanao, The Philippines (long address, I know!). We just spent 3 weeks with my mum and family over in the Phils living the pinoy life.

I bought a Filipino cookbook and hope to share my attempts at cooking pinoy food a la 'Julie and Julia'.

But that won't be all. I'll be making things, crafting things, thinking things and sharing things. :)