Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Why I enjoyed studying (at Bible college)

I've already talked a little bit about some of the perks of studying at my particular Bible college.  But those aren't really the reasons why I loved studying here.  In fact it has little to do with the college itself at all (though it is a great institution).  I loved studying at Bible college because of what I learnt, and am still learning (and who says I can’t vicariously learn more through J next year!).  It is the content that made it so enjoyable. 
Of course I also enjoyed studying with a fantastic group of people.  Studying at Bible college was so different to school and uni.  People looked out for each other, shared notes and study tips, prayed for each other.  It is easy to think, after a year of it, that all of this is normal, but it really isn’t.  I’m not sure I’ll ever be in such a supportive learning environment ever again. 

But it was what I learnt that made this year so valuable to me.  I learnt about the most important person in my life by studying the most important book in the world.  I've staked my life on what the Bible says, and I want to know more about it.  If I could study only one thing in my life it wouldn’t be the human body or brain, it wouldn’t be our planet or any of the things on it, it wouldn’t even be my husband or the streets of this new-to-me city.  It would be the Bible, because by it I can know God. 
This year at college I learnt how to understand the Bible better, not only by learning some of the ancient Greek language, but also by learning about different styles of writing, some historical background to both the Old and the New Testaments, and how Christians of the past have understood the Bible. 
I will be a student of the Bible for the rest of my life.  I will always be seeking to understand it and by this draw closer to God.  This year was a wonderful chance to do this in a more “full time” way.  Thank you God. 

Sunday, 17 November 2013

The finish, the fun and the farewells

College is finished for the year.  The exams are over, the parties have happened and we're now on holidays!  Here's a bit of an update about what's been happening these last few days. 

This semester seemed to be much more intense than first semester.  We had what seemed to be a number of 'big' subjects this semester, with lots to remember for the exams.  I'll write soon about some of the things I've learnt this semester at college. 

Our last exam was Old Testament on Thursday morning.  It was a relief to be finished after that.  The exam was much better than I thought it was going to be which was a nice way to end the exam period.  Then the parties began.

On Thursday night we went to the Graduation dinner at college because I'm a graduating student.  We hung out with the other graduating diploma students who were similarly dressed and not quite as formal as the fourth years (no one told us there was a dress code...). 

Friday was 'Final Friday' at college.  We had a community chapel that spouses and children were invited to and then shared a lunch afterwards.  Someone from each year level spoke briefly about their year level and the things we were thankful for. 

In the afternoon and evening we had a party with the other first years who live around us.  We had a dance party with the kids (well the women danced and the men sat in the other room drinking and talking).  We ordered take-away and then after dinner we played a game called 'Times Up'.  Most people know it here as 'The Hat Game'.  You play in pairs with a stack of cards that have book titles, TV shows, songs and other things written on them and you have to get your partner to guess what is on the card.  In the first round you can describe it like in 'Articulate'.  In the second round you can use only one word, and in the third round you act it out like Charades.  You play until the stack of cards is exhausted and each round uses the same cards so part of the trick is remembering what's there. 

image from

On Saturday we had the end of year party with all the college students in our community.  There are twenty families living here so it is a decent number when we all get together.  I was making macaroons for the party.  My first batch which I made on Friday afternoon didn't go so well.  The mixture was too runny so it came out of the piping bag too fast, spread too much on the tray, and didn't rise properly.  I was a bit disappointed in them. So on Saturday morning I made some more, making sure that I added a bit more of the dry ingredients so the mixture wouldn't be a runny.  This batch thankfully worked much better (but I still served both at the party).  Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of them but you all know what macaroons are supposed to look like, imagine them like that!

I spend some of the afternoon looking after two children of one of the other students.  Apparently the younger one and I bonded because even when dad had come back at dinner time (community dinner as part of the party) she came to sit with me as we ate.  It has been lovely to be able to look after kids in this community and be helpful to their parents.  They love that those of us without children are free to do things such as baby sit and we (well at least me, I don't presume to speak for anyone else), I love doing it: helping them and spending time with their kids.  So BHG, if you need a baby-sitter I love doing it. 

The evening's activities were the highlight.  Some of the wives had organised a sort of trivia night and we played in teams based on our year at college.  Needless to say it was hilarious.  It was also a time to farewell the students who had finished college and were leaving the community.  We heard about where they were going, what they would miss about our community, and what they were looking forward to in their new job and community.  It will be sad to see them leave because they have all been so welcoming of us, so helpful and most of all such great examples of godliness. 

After all of this we had an open mic time for anyone to come up and share something.  People talked about what they loved about our community, gave advice about getting involved and what to expect next year when new people move in, the ways they have been loved, and reflections on their time here.  I didn’t get up to speak (still being a bit too shy and disliking public speaking), but I heartily agreed with what everyone said.  I feel truly blessed to live in such a community. 

Thursday, 7 November 2013

No longer empty

I didn't feel quite right announcing that one of our neighbours had moved out.  If I had it would have felt like I was celebrating.  Because I'm talking about the noisy neighbour I've previously written about. 

Truthfully, I did feel relieved to hear that he was moving out and it has been very nice having a bit more peace around here.  It really has been quieter, even though there are still lots of kids of college students running around and making noise.  That's a different kind of noise to yelling and heavy foot-falls up and down the stairs.  I feel safer walking out our front door knowing that he's not there because, to be honest, I was a little scared of him.  He's been gone for a few months now so the place next to us has been empty and very quiet. 

But for the last few weeks we've been wondering if someone has moved in.  It may sound a bit odd that we didn't know if we had new neighbours or not, but it has been hard to tell.  We definitely know it if someone walks up or down the stairs, but sometimes we would hear people there one day and then nothing for a few days.  And this happened for a few weeks.  It seemed like perhaps these might have been inspections by prospective renters. 

But if we knew what moving in sounded like we never would have wondered.  We definitely have new neighbours now.  We've seen people moving furniture in and heard the kind of walking around the house (and up the stairs!) that only comes from moving heavy furniture and boxes.  We're not sure yet if it is a couple living there, or a single man (or a man setting up and then partner to follow).  We haven't met them yet but I think one of the other college students around us has, and so far they've been very quiet.  I look forward to meeting him/them and I'm hopefully that we can have a better relationship than the one we had with our previous neighbour. 

Monday, 4 November 2013

Update on next year

This year of studying at Bible college is almost over.  We have finished classes and are now in a week of study before exams start.  I plan to write soon about why I enjoyed studying at Bible college, but I thought this would be a good time to update you on what my plans are for next year since lots of people have been asking me. 

I’ve applied for four  post-graduate psychology courses, two masters and two graduate diplomas in Professional Psychology, at three different institutions.  Unfortunately none of them are at the uni closest to Bible college because they didn’t offer either of these courses.  The applications closed at the end of October.

In late November or early December I will find out if I’ve scored an interview, which is based on my grades.  At the interview (assuming I get one) grades don’t play a part in whether or not I am offered a place.  I won’t find out about this until January next year. 

I plan on applying for a masters or graduate diploma of counselling to study next year in case I don’t get into any of the psychology courses.  I’m currently tossing up between two different institutions, one offering a masters and one offering a graduate diploma (both two years in duration). 

I hope that answers any questions you might have about what I’m doing next year.  J will start second year at Bible college and we’ll stay in the same house and same church.  J is actually starting a student minister internship there for two years.  Even though I don’t know what I’m doing, where I’ll be travelling to each day and what my timetable will look like, I trust that God has plans for me and that is enough right now.