Please feel free to browse through our newsletters! You can read articles from the current newsletter online below or download and print the whole newsletter. You can download back issues below. We hope you are blessed by hearing the stories of our Baptist women!
I have seen this recently in my own life. I do not consider myself an upfront person. However, I have recently returned from my second trip to Malawi. Both times I have taught English to first year students at the Baptist Seminary.
Each trip has also been a stark reminder of how well off I am. I walk around my house and wonder if I really need all the things I have. However, just giving things away is not the complete answer. With Christmas around the corner, I have been challenged to think ethically about my purchases. Baptist World Aid Australia, Behind the Barcode campaign highlights which companies are trying to pay their employees a fair wage and end child slavery. They are a good place to start.
I will be stepping down from this role next year. Please pray for Women to Women for more ladies to join our committee.
Seeing Camp Elim
At Elim I saw women of every generation gathered together. I really do mean every generation, from the baby through to the 92- year-old. What a delight to see all those generations connected – to see women coming away to be with the family of God. These connections are vital to faith. Seeing people on the journey of faith at different stages of life is powerful and helps us keep going and to call others on with us.
I saw generosity and hospitality. Every mealtime a little gift would appear on the table often handmade. Several of the churches had worked to provide these small treats. Generosity and hospitality should be markers of Jesus’ followers; they are tangible experiences of love.
I saw women bringing their gifts and using them. Speaking in workshops, leading worship, praying for others, listening and encouraging others.
I saw a safe space where women were able to share stories of pain and stories of joy. I saw women being called to take the next step in their journey of submitting their lives to the leadership of Christ.
I saw women from regional areas connecting and sharing ideas and stories about faith and life. I saw women having fun and enjoying each other’s company so much they were already talking about next year.
I saw a welcoming, open community of women gathering with joy and purpose. Maybe next year you could come and see and experience it for yourself.
Empowered - Victorious Living
At Elim this year we invited girls from 10 years old and up to accompany their mums and grandmothers to Camp Elim. Of the 70 who came, we were excited to see 11 girls from four families with three generations, and two girls who came with their grandmothers. All girls enjoying themselves, joining in with everyone and wanting to come next year. Tie-dyeing and karaoke seemed to be the highlight for the girls. We are working on how to improve the experience for all.
Louise Bartlett and Natalie Koutsos, our speakers were different in style but worked together well for the overall message. Many enjoyed these sessions as well as our workshop presentations, which were:
- How God sees us vs how we see ourselves with Diane Porter,
- Empowering our kids to play their part in our homes, churches and community with Louise Bartlett,
- Empowered with Purpose with Liz McDonald (for the tweens and teens),
- Capture of Memories, Past and Present for the Future with Rosemary Chapman
- Knowing Ourselves in Relationships with Margaret Livingstone and Karen Wilson
- Tie-dyeing for Beginners with Robert Hodgson
As you can see, there were a variety of workshop options for the ladies and girls! Friday night was relaxing and fun with adult colouring and a photo booth. The photos were printed for the women, to be taken home on Sunday. Karaoke lip-syncing by different groups was hilarious and entertaining on Saturday night. The tweens and teens really got into it, using their phones for songs they knew, and of course dance and action.
Elim is a place where women feel accepted and safe: that’s why “I come back every year” was one woman’s comment. Friendships and ongoing relationships have resulted in many lives changed and real personal growth from being part of Time Out Elim. We are excited and feel privileged to be part of seeing women being ‘Empowered for Victorious Living’ by God, through His word and the Holy Spirit. Join us and you can be blessed and be a blessing to others!
Next year it is 150 years since a handful of Baptist Churches got together in NSW and made a decision to meet together on a monthly basis to pray. And that was the start of our Association which now has over 330 Churches – it all started with prayer! In the lead-up to celebrating these 150 years together we believe that God is calling all of us to pray and to have a renewed commitment to prayer both individually & corporately. Any time in the past that God has moved by His Spirit to draw people to Himself, when disciples have been made & lives have been changed, when Churches have been transformed and new Churches have been formed, it has been accompanied by prayer.
Iknowthepowerofprayer–whenIwas34I was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer that had already spread, and even with all the treatment the doctors couldn’t guarantee me any more than two years without it showing up in a major organ. So I called the elders of my family and my church toprayoverme&layhandsonme–andI am still cancer-free 14 years later! I know prayer works & I believe in the power of people praying!
Jesus calls us to be persistently prayerful and to align ourselves with His Will and His purposes. My hearts’ desire is to help people in our Churches to deepen their experience of prayer, and to realise the power of prayer asking God to move in us and among us and to draw us closer to Him.
In Luke 11:2 Jesus teaches us to pray “Your Kingdom Come”, and we believe God is calling us to pray this together. Join with thousands of people that are already taking part in PRAY@1102, where at 11:02 (or another time that works for you) you stop and pray the prayer for that day.
There are many ways for you to be involved with PRAY@1102 & all the details on how to join (including ordering bookmarks for your church) can be found at Pray@1102.
Does My Story Warrant Publication?
My life story is relatively non-eventful compared to the amazing testimonies of some. I was born in Taree, NSW. At the age of ten I remember making a decision during a Sunday school class to accept Jesus as Saviour and Lord of my life.
Jumping ahead twenty years I was happily married to my husband Andrew and I was enjoying being a mum to our two adopted children from Sri Lanka. Yet as far as my growth and experience as a Christian was concerned, I was feeling somewhat disillusioned.
‘There has to be more to being a Christian than what I am currently experiencing’ is what I was thinking at the time. As a Christian, I was aspiring to be more like Jesus yet I seemed to be failing miserably.
Another twenty years later I woke one morning with a start having experienced a vision. I saw very clearly in my mind the words ‘MENOPAUSE and the LATTER DAY BRIDE.’
The Lord had given me the title of the book He commissioned me to write. As I hungered for more from my relationship with God He began to reveal Himself to me through supernatural means. I began to experience the ‘more’ that I had been searching for.
At the heart of my book is the Christian idea of spiritual marriage: Jesus being the Bridegroom and the Church (followers) as Bride. Despite the title, the book has very little to do with the physical aspects of menopause. Instead I allegorize its symptoms to help readers understand some of the obstacles we as Christians experience in our quest to know intimacy with our heavenly husband.
‘MENOPAUSE and the LATTER DAY BRIDE’ present a challenge to readers as to our readiness to meet our bridegroom Jesus when He returns to earth to claim His Bride.
If there are any ladies’ groups who would like to hear more, or to purchase my book, please email Sharon.
You Can't Limit God!
One of the reasons my husband and I chose Global Interaction as our sending missionary agency 20 odd years ago, was because of the creative ministry method freedom it allowed its staff in reaching people for Jesus. However, upon arrival in Thailand, I fairly quickly became involved in slightly more traditional methods of evangelism, like English teaching. All the while, my heart was constantly drawn to the suffering and abandoned animals around me that were everywhere! You would think I would have joined the dots and seen this as one of God’s creative ministry plans for me. I didn’t! It took me 8 years to realise the animal volunteer work I did on the weekends with my daughters for fun, personal fulfillment and to keep me close to my children could be, and was ministry. I limited God. Several of our supporters did too. As I tested the waters of this ministry, they said, ”We support you to minister to people, not animals.” God showed me I could do both simultaneously. Even my supporters couldn’t limit God.
In April 2016, my daughter Emma and I founded a small animal rescue organisation called, “All Animals are Suay.” (Suay means “beautiful“ in Thai). We “adopted” a couple of needy community centres like a crematorium, library and temple, which were home to over 80 stray animals. Each week, we spent scads of time in these places working alongside the staff, residents, slum dwellers and monks to provide much needed medical care, sterilizations and vaccinations; bathing, feeding and re-homing the animals where possible. With our sleeves rolled up, thousands of hours of meaningful conversations were had with our Thai friends. The meeting of felt needs by the Thai community alongside them, gave us permission to share Jesus, the epitome of compassion, generosity, and as one who also rolled up his sleeves.
Sadly, our time in Thailand ended in January 2017. In my spiritual short sightedness, I thought this move back to Australia would mark the end of our animal rescue ministry. Again, God proved He knows no limits! Through a free mobile phone app called LINE, our Thai friends continued to contact us daily with their animal and life needs. Thanks to our Thai language abilities, trust earned in relationships and a small team of Thailand based volunteers, the ministry to both needy animals and people continues. “Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?” (Job 11:7) “No, all I can do is praise him for it, and go along for the ride.”
On 17-18 May 2018, the Baptist Churches of NSW/ACT will celebrate 150 years of partnership with the gospel. 150 years of churches recognising their united desire to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ and see lives changed. This is a fantastic opportunity for us to stand united in celebration of what God has done, and is doing in our midst. This is Celebrate150!
Celebrate150 will replace Revive in 2018. We have decided to finish the great season we’ve had with Revive over the past 11 years. In 2019, we will launch a new gathering, adjacent to our Annual Assembly. We want to create a new, vibrant event, reflecting the breadth and diversity of our Baptist churches.
We hope you will join us on the new journey of Celebrate150 and beyond, as we look to the future for our movement!