We've come through the exam tunnel and emerged on the other side, blinking like a newborn cub at the sight of the bright yellow ball in the sky, clearing off our desks in the aftermath of the study-bomb explosion and taking a deep breath before our rollercoaster spills over the edge of another thrilling height.
Exams came and went, and we are both pretty satisfied with our efforts for them. As always, it's a bit of a stressful time, but I (Sarah) enjoy looking back over what I've been able to revise in more detail. Even if the question I wanted didn't get asked, I remind myself that the time I spent and the "stuff" that's now in my brain - and heart - is in no way wasted. We pray that God will use whatever we've learned to encourage each other, and those around us, for his glory.
We really are in a tiny lull at the moment before a jam-packed holiday hits us, full of missions, hen's weekends, wedding, more mission and I think Christmas will be in there somewhere in the middle!
Ministry at RMIT in 2013 & 2014
One of the biggest ongoing tasks at the moment for me (Sarah) is to gather prayer and financial support for my apprenticeship at RMIT University next year.
After being challenged by what I've learned at Ridley, my desire to share it with others has grown and I decided to apply to do a 2 year ministry apprenticeship. I chose university ministry because it's a demographic which I can easily relate to, and there are so many opportunities to provide Christian support and discipleship to Christian uni students, and introduce non-Christian students to Jesus.
Last week Stephen and I spent 2 days with the staff team from RMIT Christian Union at their annual conference. It was a great time of disconnecting from the virtual world (literally....we had no internet or phone reception!!) and plugging into the valuable ministry. The weekend got me really excited about the possibilities for next year; there seems to be so many things I can contribute to the team and the ministry. I'm praying hard, with every letter I send and email I write, that God will provide the money needed ($28,000 p.a.) so that I can do this apprenticeship and be trained in University ministry. Without enough financial support pledged by February, I'll have to consider doing something else next year.
If you would like to partner with Sarah financially: please visit http://www.afes.org.au/support. You have to choose my name from the 'Contribute to Worker' list, to make sure it's me you're supporting (rather than contributing to the general AFES fund). You can give regularly or a once-off donation via direct debit or direct credit - all the details are on the support page.
I'll be creating a regular mail-out/email for prayer support as well (which is equally, if not more valuable than financial support). If you'd like to be included, please contact me: sarah(dot)urmston(dot)87(at)gmail(dot)com.
We're really enjoying being at Parkville St Jude's. Last week they held their AGM and I (Sarah) was honoured to be asked to share how God has been working in my life in my time at Ridley and plans for next year. I really enjoyed sharing, and hearing from other St Jude's members about the work of God in their lives - it's so encouraging that our God is a living God who is actively continuing to call people to Him and build his kingdom.
I (Sarah) have led the service a few times now, and have really enjoyed contributing to the congregation in this way. Next year Stephen will be more involved in the children's ministry as well.
Home life continues to trek along well. We're all happy to renew the lease (when it comes up), so we're encouraged that it's been a great, harmonious and loving household to live in!
Please praise God with us for:
- Getting through exams with sanity intact!
- A great time away with the RMIT staff, hearing about the ministry.
- Exciting opportunities for mission and ministry over the uni holidays.
- Time and space to relax and enjoy a break from study.
- Growing involvement & connection with our church community at St Jude's Parkville.
- Sarah's continued fundraising for her apprenticeship next year.
- Strength and endurance in our marriage as we face busy times ahead; for good communication and be ready to always put the other person's needs before our own.
- Stephen, as he leads missions, does children's ministry presentations. For a return to absolute full health before all the craziness starts, so he can serve God with full physical, emotional and spiritual energy.