Greetings! What a blessing it has been to be back in Australia!  We had a blessed time with the Macquarie congregation (more on this later) and have been blessed by the team we already have in place here in Sydney to work with the Macquarie School of Biblical Studies.  Craig and Tomya Peters, with daughter Micah, seem to be a perfect fit for the school and congregation here.  They also seem to have a real appreciation for the culture and love for the lost here.  Craig serves as our Administrative Dean/Missionary here. Ted Paull has grown up and worked mightily in the Kingdom here for years and is an ideal partner for us in this ministry. Ted served as the Academic Dean here. Dwight Whitsett is here with us and though he has moved back to Texas still has an incredible heart for the work of God "Down Under". Dwight is the Dean of Ministry Training for Sunset's work in Oceania.  There is another member of the team, Jeremy Desjarlais, who with his family is still trying to raise support to move here as the Dean of Students. What a remarkable team and what an important work in the Kingdom.

It has been hard for Craig and Jeremy to raise support to come to Australia because of the perception that the people here are unreceptive. While recent efforts have struggled, I have found the people here to love Jesus, interested in discussing him and very wary of organized religions that they feel have let them down.  I see this as making up a good environment for a simple teaching of the gospel of Jesus and a call to follow Jesus in simplicity - simply worshipping God in spirit and in truth. I have decided to take part of each morning, afternoon or evening and try to have a spiritual conversation with someone here.

The first conversation was with a young man on the airplane named Thomas. He is from Perth. He asked what I was coming to Australia for and I told him that I was coming because I love Jesus. He smiled and said, "We all love Jesus.", but then told a story of disappointment and frustration with the religions he has had contact with in Australia. We talked about how incredible it would be to just simply study the Bible, know Jesus and serve as Jesus did. He's going to look up the church in Perth and see if someone will talk to him.  The second conversation was with a kind young man from India who works at the hotel.  He was excited that I had been to his country and to the home of his family in Bangalore.  He was Hindu but thought that Jesus was the best of men and the world's greatest teacher.  We began a look at several passages in Colossians and hope to look at more together.  This morning a young woman from China who calls herself Abbie was waiting for the shuttle to take her to the airport and then on to her home 6 hours from Beijing. We discussed the Olympic games and then discussed the reasons we were here. She is looking to study and I am looking to teach people about Jesus. She chatted about her respect for Jesus, even though she didn't know him well and her desire to know him better. We exchanged email addresses and I hope to hear more from her and she finds a place to study and seeks to learn more and more.

Yesterday at Macquarie there were a number of young Christians from China. It gives you hope that the Asian world can be reached from places like Sydney. The congregation here is certainly making an effort. Unreceptive? That hasn't been my impression at all. People seem tired of religious rhetoric and stale practices, but highly interested in Jesus and spirituality.  This should prove helpful to us as a people who are of Christ, know Christ and share Christ in simple terms from the ancient text written by God through the Holy Spirit. Who knows? Maybe we are on the verge of a movement!

In Him, Chris  

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