June 17, 2011

A Voice In The Wind

Filed under: Idle Ramblings — pearsey @ 9:41 pm

A friend loaned me a book a couple of months ago, A Voice In The Wind by Francine Rivers. When I saw the size of it, I thought there’s no way I’m going to get this read anytime soon! But seeing as it came so highly recommended, I thought I’d give it a go. Well, I think about 2 or 3 chapters in and I was hooked! I couldn’t put it down. The book is set in Roman times, not long after the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross. The story weaves between Hadassah, the young slave captured by the Romans in Jerusalem and Atretes, the German warrior, captured by the Romans in Germania. Both end up in Rome, taking different journeys to get there. Atretes is forced to become a Roman gladiator, while Hadassah is sold to a family to be a slave for Julia, the daughter of Phoebe and Decimus, and Marcus her brother.

Rivers makes all the characters come alive, the main ones being Atretes, Marcus, Julia, Phoebe and Decimus, but the one I most identified with was Hadassah. Hadassah was captured when her family went back to Jerusalem around the time of the passover feast. Her father had been raised from the dead by Jesus and every year, faithfully went back to Jerusalem to proclaim the gospel of Jesus. He taught Hadassah the scriptures and when she was captured, the only thing she had to hold onto was what her Father had taught her. As she faithfully serves Julia, Marcus, Pheobe and Decimus, we get to see how a true attitude of servanthood should be outworked. Hadassah had ever reason to be bitter – she had no freedom, was treated with contempt and scorn by those she served and could literally be put to death at a single command from her master. But yet she continued to serve with a true love for those she served.

Hadassah drew her strength from her relationship with God. Every night she would go to the garden and spend time in prayer for those she was serving and time in prayer seeking the presence of God. Despite her difficult oppressive circumstances, she did not compromise what she believed in.

The one thing Hadassah struggled with though, was the desire to share the gospel of Jesus with those she loved and served. She longed to be able to share about where her strength, love, joy, peace and patience came from, but yet never seemed to find the words and have the courage to share the gospel when she was asked. As the story develops I identified with the anguish she felt as she longed to share, but yet the fear that rose up and stopped her. Now I’m not likely to be put to death for sharing the gospel when I’m asked, unlike Hadassah who could be put to death for daring to suggest that somebody should worship someone other than the Roman gods. But like Hadassah, I face the struggle of desire to share and the fear of sharing. It greatly encouraged me to read how Hadassah overcame her fear and reached a place of complete surrender to God, where she was willing to stand for, and proclaim, her faith in the God who created the universe, no matter what the outcome was.

Anyway, I can highly recommend this book. Don’t get put off by the fact that it’s over 500 pages long! Get into and give it a read!


June 10, 2011

The Oven Mitts

Filed under: Idle Ramblings — pearsey @ 9:11 pm

Today I got some cool silicone pig oven mitts from work. They kind of grow on you, so I brought them home to test them out. Who’d have thought that oven mitts that feel just like a lump of rubber would actually work. But yet they do, I tried them out tonight. So now I am the proud owner of a pair of oven mitts, in the shape of a pig with cute little ears and a snout and when I’m not using them as oven mitts, I can use them as hand puppets!

The COOL pig oven mitts!

In other news… I was reading a book earlier this week and it suggested that you should be able to laugh at yourself and do something embarrassing. So I took that advice literally. The next day I went to go to work, jumped in the car and tried to start it. It turned over, but it wouldn’t start. I tried it again – nothing. So I went inside, figured it wouldn’t start because it was so cold and decided to wait a couple of hours til it warmed up and try it then. So when I went outside and tried it again and the same thing happened, I decided to call the racv. When they got here the guy tried to start it, and straight away said it’s out of petrol. “The petrol gauge didn’t move when I tried it and it says 0km to empty”. I knew it was getting fairly low, but I measure how many kms per tank I get, so I know how far I should be able to go – and I hadn’t got there yet. Anyway, despite my lame attempt at a protest, he proceeded to put some petrol in. The fact that you’re sitting here reading this means you can guess what happened. The car started after he’d put petrol in and I very quietly signed all the paper work… Still though, trying to defend myself one last time, thinking I’d finally got him, I said that doesn’t really explain why it did the same thing yesterday morning and last night. Oh yeah, it was probably low then and you’re lucky it started those times. So I’m sharing this, so that not only can I laugh at myself, but you can join in too!
One last lame defence… The car got a new petrol filter put in it a few months ago and this was the first time I’d run the tank low, maybe the petrol filter affected it? Ok, yes, I just let it get too low… It’s not so bad, I’ve done it before… It was more embarrassing those times.

June 5, 2011

Sudanese and Ugandan Church

Filed under: Church life,Trips,Uganda — pearsey @ 8:41 pm
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Last weekend I had the pleasure of going to the Sudanese church in Heatherton, International Revival Church of Australia, based at Kingston City Church. Ps Wang, the pastor there, is studying the diploma of ministry with me. He’s a great guy, so while I was down in Melbourne, I thought I’d drop in and check out his church. Wang is originally from Sudan and now lives in Australia and his church is for the Sudanese community in the local area.
I was assigned an interpreter at the start of the service – primarily because most of the service would be in Sudanese (which I think is Arabic) and I only understand one word of Arabic! I can’t remember the interpreters name, but she gave me the basic interpretation as we went along – what we were singing about, what the announcements were, stuff like that. I really appreciated that, that was something that was missing when I was in Uganda, and even though I’d picked up a bit of Ugandan, I still had no idea what they were singing about most of the time!

Wang allowed me the privilege of sharing for a few minutes, to me that is a real honour. It had been a while since I talked with an interpreter, it can take some getting used to because you have to stop every few sentences so that what you’ve just said can be translated. I tried out my Ugandan on the Sudanese, but even though they are neighbours, it was a foreign language to them. I was hoping there may have been just one Ugandan in the congregation, but alas, it was not to be!

Wang’s church had some of the best worship I’ve had in a while, the people were really friendly and genuinely had a heart for God. I thoroughly enjoyed it and can’t wait til I go back again! I think it ignited something in me for Africa (and other nations) again, a longing to go back and impact the countries that have so little, but yet come to God with such a love, joy and dependence.

When I was in Uganda, experiencing my first African service, I found the Ugandan worship style ummm, unique. I don’t think I’ve come across anything quite like it in all the nations I’ve been to! They have this shriek that they love to do during worship. I’m not sure how else to describe it! (And yes, the Sudanese did it a few times as well!) Like most under developed nations, services go for a few hours and the pastors are treated with a huge amount of respect – here the people come and kneel to greet you. There’s also quite a few Ugandan churches that have sound systems, but unfortunately, it is ear piercing, over loud, poorly balanced sound – they have the equipment, I guess just not the technical know-how. I think they need a visit from a few sound technicians…

I was privileged to be able to minister in a few different churches while I was there in Uganda. One church was in a very small room, leased from a muslim lady. I’m sure the room would have only been about 6 feet wide. But this pastor has persevered and grown his church from himself to 15-20 people, in a muslim stronghold area. He was the only pastor I met with his vision and mission statement displayed in the church. There’s always a twist and that is the only church I’ve been in where I’ve been able to watch a kid doing a number 2 in the open air just outside the church window!

I found the Sudanese church very similar to the Ugandan churches. I love the passion, joy and enthusiasm they have for worshiping God. I think there are definitely lessons the western church can take from the Africans. To go from the enthusiasm of the Sudanese church (and the Ugandan churches) back to my own took some adjusting. To me it doesn’t matter that I can’t understand what they’re saying during worship, I just make up my own words or sing in tongues, or just “get into it” with them. Ahh, a church where it’s ok to celebrate, clap, sing and dance and nobody cares because everyone does it…

So while I’m writing about the Ugandan and Sudanese churches, I thought I’d post some photos of the churches in Africa. Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos of Wang or his church on Sunday, so instead you can have some of the Ugandan churches and a few pics of Burden park near Wang’s church!

Chicken Drumsticks!

Filed under: Food,Idle Ramblings — pearsey @ 4:27 pm

Had a few visitors over last night, so I decided to experiment – seems I normally try something new when I’m having visitors. Perhaps I figure if I’m going to go to all that trouble, may as well get others to enjoy it as well!
So last night I cooked chicken drumsticks and potato in a rich tomato sauce. It was soooooo easy and so nice, I’ll certainly be making it again. And best thing – there was virtually no dishes! I was looking around at the end – I’ve created this great dish and where are all the dishes! So that’s an extra bonus – easy, delicious and very few dishes!

If you’re looking at following the recipe, I made a couple of improvements. I added some pumpkin in with the chicken and potatoes and followed one of the commenters suggestions of putting some diced tomatoes under the chicken, potato and pumpkin. I used 8 drumsticks and found I had to use two dishes to fit everything in.
Anyway, I forgot to take a photo last night, but here are the left overs – I fed four people, so there would be more than enough for another couple of people.


June 4, 2011

Frozen in Time

Filed under: Idle Ramblings — pearsey @ 12:09 pm
Tuesday 12th April, 2011

I returned to the office this Wednesday (1/6/2011), exactly 7 weeks since I’d been in there last. My desk calendar was still on the day that I’d been in there last – Tuesday 12th April, 2011. Apart from a few extra things on my desk, it was still as I’d left it – a little messy, coz I only expected to be gone a few days, not 7 weeks (Ahh, the joys of surgery!). I went back to work a couple of weeks ago, but I’d been working from home, so still hadn’t yet made it to the office. Still, with sick leave, annual leave, public holidays and whatever else, the week just been was the first full 5 day week I’d worked since 21st March. Wow!

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