It’s hard to believe that we’ve already lived in Australia for over 5 months. When we arrived I was determined to try to keep this blog updated so friends around the world could know how things were going but that obviously hasn’t happened. For a long time there didn’t seem to be anything to report; Chris had some casual work but I spent most of my days sitting on the sofa and trying to find ways to occupy myself. We were both beginning to get frustrated and in my prayer times I was often encouraged by the thought that everything could turn around quickly. To those who know God’s faithfulness it will come as no surprise to hear that is what happened. When we made the decision to move out to Australia we had some thoughts and dreams as to what we wanted to happen: Continue reading Answered prayers
We’ve been living in Australia for just over a month now and the question I get asked most often is ‘how are you settling in?’ As more and more people ask that I figured it was time to start implementing my resolution to try and keep this blog reasonably up to date. Overall living in Australia isn’t dramatically different to the UK although there are lots of little differences (Cadburys chocolate doesn’t taste as good but there are more flavours and Woolworths is a supermarket) There are many aspects of settling in to a place that won’t happen for us for quite some time; until we have jobs and our own place to live we can’t really get a grasp on shopping, commuting etc. Continue reading Living down under
Four years ago Chris and I were at De Kroze Danne Conference Centre for our GO Conference – an introduction to the values and work of OM. This August we were back there for the third time, watching 243 more people embark on their journey with OM. Having helped with OMNIvision at the 2 previous events this summer I felt much more part of the crew this time and enjoyed the chance to try some new things. However, I was also there in my role as Family and Educational Advisor so my time was split between the two roles. Here are a few of my highlights from the conference:
At the end of March I flew out to Hong Kong to visit the Logos Hope for 10 days. It was strange to be back on board when there are now only a few people that I know but it was wonderful to catch up with some special friends. I had the chance to visit the city centre with some people, take the teachers out for a meal and also to go up the peak; despite the typically British weather we still got to see a bit of the view! Continue reading Visiting Logos Hope
According to my job description one of my main tasks is ‘to network with other missions on issues involving the education of missionaries’ children.’ This was one of the areas I identified before I started as being something totally new for me. Any networking that I have done in previous roles has all been set up for me and I didn’t really have any idea how to get started with this. However, as always God had it all planned…
A few weeks ago I was sorting through documents I’ve inherited with the role and found a load of old articles about TCK (Third-Culture Kids) education published by another organisation. Curious as to whether they were still being published I e-mailed the address given to ask. I got a response back that informed me they were but that also said ‘we have a Global Connections TCK Forum event due on the 4th October in Birmingham on educational issues which would be really useful for you.’
So, last week I headed down to Birmingham for the day to attend the forum. A 3 hour journey each way meant it was a long day but it was definitely worth it. There were about 25 others there from various mission organisations, as well as the speakers and organisers. Once again I saw God’s hand at work in the sessions provided – both of them were about topics that I was planning to start researching so that I can update documents (UK University Entrance for TCKs and Home Schooling Support organisations). Attending this forum has saved me hours of work in trying to find things out myself! There were also opportunities to hear about new and updated resources that are available and to meet other people who have similar roles to my own.
I’m sure that the connections made will be useful in the weeks and months to come. Global Connections run these forums regularly so I look forward to attending future ones and continuing to develop networks that can ultimately benefit the families we have in OM.
Normally I just let Chris write these entries but somehow last night I found myself saying ‘I could write this week’s.’ I’m still not sure why I said that but here I am, writing it anyway!
Amongst all the changes in the last 3 months one of the ones I’m most struggling to get used to is having a desk job. The last time I spent so much of my day sitting at a desk was when I was at school and many days I find myself wondering how people manage it. Having been used to a job where I’m nearly always moving about, switching from one thing to another and never being totally sure what will happen next, the predictability of sitting in one place for several hours is often demotivating (not to mention that I don’t know how to keep awake!). It doesn’t usually take more than an hour before I’m fidgety and looking for some reason to move.
Last week this challenge was stretched even further by 3 days of sitting in meetings. My role as Family and Educational Support Advisor falls under the International Human Resources (IHR) team. This is something of a virtual team as less than half its members are actually based here in Carlisle but last week the majority of the team came together for meetings. Being something of an introvert and new to the team meant that most of the 3 days I simply sat and listened, filling my schedule sheet with elaborate doodles. At various times I wondered what I was doing there and even what I’m doing here with OM at all. However, as the discussions went on around me I realised how much I was learning. I was able to get to know people who so far have just been a name on an e-mail (including my new boss), better understand how IHR is structured and get a feel for the heart that is behind everything we do. The majority of our time focussed around 2 areas: what is our dream for the IHR team and how can we really work as a team when we’re scattered around the world. While there are no easy answers, it is exciting to see the potential we have in this department to support the rest of the OM world in offering people the care and development that they need. For this reason I’m glad of the opportunity to attend the meetings and persevere with sitting at a desk in order to provide what help I can to the families serving across the world.
Having spent a significant portion of my childhood as an MK (missionary kid) I developed a strong awareness and interest in mission work which stayed with me into adulthood, although I never had any plans or ideas where this would take me. By the age of 5 I’d chosen my career path and this finally came true in 2004 when I qualified as a primary school teacher. These two passions have always been present in my life to varying degrees. Throughout university and my years teaching in the UK I went on several short term mission trips and was involved with the mission team at my church.
In 2008 I finally felt the time to serve longer term in mission was approaching. For me it was an obvious and easy decision to teach MK’s as this combined my own experiences, passion for mission and love of teaching. Eventually I ended up on Logos Hope, as a teacher in the school onboard. Amongst the 400 crew onboard there are usually about 40 children, aged from 0 – 16. The school usually has about 8 teachers who provide an education for these children during their time onboard.
Having taught in the school on Logos Hope for 2 years I returned to the UK in October 2011, again wondering how all my passions and experiences could be combined. Through a series of thoughts and conversations God has led me to take on the role of ‘Family and Educational Support Advisor’ with OM.
Part of this role is to ensure that families and children on the mission field are well cared for, receiving the support and advice that they need to raise their family, make educational choices and deal with the unique challenges they face. This means providing resources, support and advice at all stages of their journey: as the plan and prepare for the mission field, during their time overseas and as they re-enter their home country. Having been an MK myself I can understand some of both the positive and negative impacts that can occur and I hope to be able to help maximise the former and minimise the latter.
Another part of the role is recruiting and supporting teachers, especially for the ship school. Recruitment is something totally new for me but having been a teacher onboard the ship I have some understanding of how to support them effectively. This includes being available to answer questions, providing resources and ensuring they are kept up to date with the curriculum.
Successfully fulfilling this role will require a lot of networking; researching about MKs, attending conferences and liaising with OM offices around the world. One person described the need for someone to be a ‘children’s advocate’ and I guess in many ways that is what I am hoping for – that I will be able to speak up on behalf of the children involved in mission and ensure that their needs are remembered by all involved.
All of this will be a part time role. In many ways stepping out of the classroom and into an office is a daunting prospect but I feel that my experiences all add up to help me face this new challenge. And to make sure I don’t go completely insane through a lack of interaction with children I hope to be able to teach part time. This will have the added benefit of enabling me to keep up with the changes to the curriculum. At the moment I have no idea what this teaching job may actually look like but am trusting that God has something lined up for me and will reveal it at the right time.