Her Family: Married with two young children and a black Labrador-cross called Lucy
Location in the World: Perth, Australia (That’s the capital city in the state of Western Australia)
Three favorites: Wow, it’s so hard to think of only three but I’ll get deep and say Love, Clean Water and Hope
How has God has worked through you that has become a part of your redemption story? Slowly, slowly, bit by bit, God has been giving me jobs to do. When I first left theological college I was like an exuberant puppy, straining at the lead, eager to do something, while at the same time feeling inexperienced and insecure. But over the last few years I have found it really encouraging and humbling to be given positions of responsibility. It fills me with joy!
How do you place yourself in the proximity of renewal that gets your heart beating faster? Knowledge is good, and information is good, but it’s what you do with it that counts. I want to have a practical faith: one that hears and understands, and then acts. We all know that faith without deeds is dead. What good is it to me if I agree with all the teachings of Jesus, and then not do anything about it? I don’t want to be just a bobble-headed Christian, nodding in agreement on a Sunday morning. My desire and heartfelt wish is that I live out my life of faith by actions and not be content with mere mental assent. Unfortunately, my ‘self’ gets in the way. Ignorance and Apathy always fight with me and I regularly let them win, to my shame. I’m a Pharisee daily. Thankfully – and praise be to God – there is forgiveness, mercy and grace as I keep starting and keep trying.
Knowing my failings, I am so grateful to have an encouraging team around me. We call ourselves the “Social Justice Group”. It’s not a very creative title, but it gives you an idea about what we’re all about. Our mission statement is, “We exist to inspire in our pursuit of following Christ’s command to show love and justice to others.” Jesus’ instruction following the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10) is a challenge to me personally:
Jesus asked, Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
We’re involved in a few different things but our main focus for the next three years will be our adoption of the “Peace Bridges” project in Cambodia, in partnership with Baptist World Aid Australia.
Kim Vanden Hengel writes: Cambodians have suffered immensely during decades of war and internal conflict. Many have witnessed terrible acts of violence and suffered significant personal trauma. Over many years, oppressive regimes have crushed any who spoke out against injustice. All this has impacted significantly on the Cambodian people and their ability to deal with conflict. Sadly, violence as a response to difficult situations has become common and accepted, both in the home and in the community. Fear and mistrust have left people feeling powerless to change their circumstances. They are struggling to rebuild families and communities of trust, love and acceptance. With limited access to services, those who struggle most with these issues are often the poor.
Peace Bridges works by providing long-term training to key people, called Peace Builders. Peace Builders work at the grassroots with people in their community, be it their own family unit, a church or an organisation. Peace Builders use their training to help others to deal appropriately with conflict, and ultimately to bring about change for the whole community.
Many Cambodians were killed during the years of strife. Some of those who are parents today grew up without parents themselves, and often have little experience of healthy family life. Domestic violence is very common. Some Peace Builders will be selected for further training in more complex issues, sharing their skills with people living with violence in the home.
Through word of mouth, Peace Builders impart their learning to others in their community to bring about widespread change. Peace Bridges provide support and training on a regular basis to help with this process.
We are planning a trip to Cambodia this year to look at this project, so hopefully I will be able to tell you all about it later in the year!
Thanks for encouraging us Diane! We will love to hear all about your trip.