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Fall 2010 Alumni Newsletter

Fall 2013 Alumni Newsletter

The ASC is moving to Brisbane Kimberly Spragg talks about the future, (pg 2) Inside this issue: The ASC is moving


The Phoenix Project


Farewell Grenville


Accidental Ambassador


ASC Alumni a published author


ASC Alumni Newsletter

The ASC is moving to Brisbane in 2014! Kimberly Spragg, ASC Director At the end of this fall 2013 semester, the ASC will celebrate 10 years in Sydney and 10 years at Wesley Institute. And a wonderful decade it has been! It was with great sadness that we announced in May that this fall is our final semester in Sydney. Beginning January 2014 we will move from Sydney to Brisbane, Australia and partner with Christian Heritage College (CHC) to offer the Australia Studies Centre. Personally, I’m sad to leave a city which has been my home for 8 ½ years. I’m sad to leave my church, my friends, my ministries, and those faculty and staff at Wesley and at the ASC who have become good friends and trusted colleagues. I’m sad to say goodbye to the many Wesley students who have been wonderful friends to ASC students through the years. Yet I know this next step for the ASC is the right thing. I wouldn’t be moving with the program if I didn’t think this was a good decision.

Christian higher education in Australia. (Christian Outreach Centre is a denomination in Australia and has a large church associated with it called Citipointe Christian Church.) Over the past 27 years, CHC has grown from offering one course with an initial enrolment of nine students, to nearly 30 courses and a student community of 800. From small beginnings, CHC has gained recognition as an integral part of the Australian higher education sector. CHC aims to be a Christian higher education institution that prepares people to make a difference in the world around them and in their professional career. To love God with your whole heart, soul and mind, and to love your neighbour as yourself, are the principles which guide CHC's mission and which give shape to their pursuit of higher education within their Christian vision of life. The outworking of this is through CHC’s understanding of a Christian worldview which underpins and informs all of their pursuits. While I believe that CHC will be an excellent part-

ner with the ASC, the city of Brisbane also provides a lovely location for students to be able to experience Australia in new and exciting ways. Brisbane is not only a beautiful river city filled with ferries and bridges and sky-scrapers and quirky art installations, but it's footfriendly and built for adventure and outdoor experiences. If you haven’t already, check out the video about the city of Brisbane and Christian Heritage College: Saying goodbye to Sydney and to Wesley won’t be easy and I know there will be many tears. But I’m looking forward to the learning that ASC students will experience in Brisbane, to the friendships they will make along the way, and to what God will do in their hearts and in their minds as they journey to a new continent and engage with new peoples and new cultures.

Henri Nouwen encourages us to remember that “the cup of life is not only a cup of sorrow but also a cup of joy.” So while I do feel much sorrow at the thought of leaving Wesley, I am joyful when I think of the opportunities our students will have in Brisbane . . . opportunities which are not available to them here in Sydney. Christian Heritage College has unique advantages for the next generations of ASC students, especially because of the range of classes it offers. CHC offers majors in Business, Education, Social Sciences and Ministries. CHC was established in 1986 as a result of Christian Outreach Centre's vision for

Aerial view of Christian Heritage College and Brisbane photo courtesy of CHC Page 2

Fall 2013

The Phoenix Project Joel Davis (Spring 2012) from Messiah College, writes about his new outreach the Phoenix Project Let me start out with a parable I heard in one of my theology classes that I think sums up a large part of the problem facing today’s Church. Imagine a huge race (Color Run, anyone?) that has come to town. Anticipation mounts as everyone takes their positions at the starting line, waiting for the moment to draw near. Finally, the official blows the horn and the runners take their first step across the line—and stop suddenly, satisfied that they at last, have begun the race! They all cheer and dance and applaud themselves for crossing the starting line, but all the while they forget that they are supposed to be moving toward the finish line. Christianity is much the same way—we put so much focus on “saying the prayer” or “getting saved” that we forget there is still a lifestyle transformation that needs to take place. We beg Jesus to be our Savior, but we politely refuse to make Him our Lord. An article I read recently examines the problem from another angle; we see faith as merely a noun instead of as a verb. Oftentimes people will come up to me and ask: “Joel, what’s up with this Phoenix thing?” And I’m always kind of confused by the question. But I think somehow we at the Phoenix Project have been unable to get our mission statement across in a clear and simple way. Unfortunately, videos and facebook statuses simply can’t get the message through as clear as a conversation can. So I’m going to try to sit down and explain it in a little more detail. What is the Phoenix Project? Is it a road trip? I mean, technically, yes. And I can’t deny that I’ve always wanted to travel

across the country—who hasn’t? But this isn’t just a fun road trip for myself and a few friends. Our purpose runs much deeper, encompassing a vision for the rebirth of “Church” from the grassroots up. Is it a short-term missions project? Again, that isn’t wrong. But it’s not like we’re going and building a house or digging a well or providing medicine (although we might; who knows?) We might also do some physical things like yardwork, cooking food for the homeless, or whatever, but our focus is on things not seen. Relationships in action are the heart of Christianity; Jesus tells us to love Him and love others (Mark 12:30-31), and we want to see and experience that love at work. We believe that actions are important, but only insofar as they spread Jesus’ love in a tangible way. Just as faith without action is dead (James 2:17), action without love is also worthless (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). Is it a documentary? We talked about this idea at one point, but we have decided to stick with blogs, short videos, and pictures on our website for the time being. But the feel is kind of similar—it might help to imagine this as a documentary; young people looking to find ways to put their faith into action; college graduates who want to practice the way of life they’ve spent the last four years learning about; Christians who are fed up with the bad name we give Christ to the world who want to find a community of Christ-followers who are setting a good example. It may seem like a small thing, but we have a big vision for this Project. All of this is done

for the people who visit our website. Yes, we want to experience it for ourselves, but not only for us alone—this whole journey is meaningless without people like you to follow along. Knowing what Christianity could look like is only the first step; we hope that we and others will be inspired to start living the radical, vibrant life God calls us to live (John 10:10). Put simply, our mission is to serve with others so that others will serve. We want to do, so that others will start to do, by meeting people who are already doing. This is about finding a new way to be Christian, about resurrecting an active faith from the ashes it will become if people don’t start making Christ the focus of their lives and not just an afterthought confined to Sunday mornings or times of struggle. Teens and young people are leaving the faith at a rapid pace (see here), because we have done a lousy job of giving actions to our beliefs. They are seeking something real and true, but all we are giving them is more of the same lukewarm, stale death that the world offers. This is about giving birth to the notion that faith isn’t cheap—it costs us our lives—but it promises a life lived to the full that will bring about God’s Kingdom on Earth. It’s time for life. It’s time to be real. It’s time to fly. Stay tuned, and get involved! Originally Published: http://

It’s Grenville Kent’s last semester Tatjana Mutinelli (Spring 2013) from Westmont College, shares her memories of the popular theology professor Sometimes when I meet a person, I get the feeling that I’ll really regret it if I don’t get to know them better. That’s how I felt when I met Dr. Grenville Kent. During Wesley’s orientation, he led a time of philosophical discussion and debate with all the Wesley first-years and ASC students. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but regardless of whether they enjoyed the activity, I think everyone came away hoping to experience more Grenville. I certainly did. I was given that chance in Faith and the

Contemporary Artist III, an Old Testament class. Each week I learned many fascinating facts about familiar Bible stories and got a new glimpse into Grenville’s passionate heart. He is full of love for film and filmmaking, for studying and teaching the Bible, for his students, and for his family. But none of these is so apparent as his love for God, which informs all his passions. Looking back on the semester, I’m so glad I got the opportunity to learn from this wonderful, Spirit-filled person. Grenville has the Page 3

great ability to laugh easily and often, even at his own expense; to show kindness and respect to everyone without favoritism; and to present his beliefs in a way that is entirely genuine and humble. I sincerely hope some of that has rubbed off on me, and I’m grateful that Grenville was so willing to share his time, energy, thoughts, and his heart with students like me.

ASC Alumni Newsletter

Accidental Ambassador Joann Oh (Fall 2010) from Biola University, shares how her time at the ASC has helped prepare her for life in Malaysia teaching English... "Teacher," Izzul says with a slight tilt to his smile. "Faham Bahasa Melayu?" It's hot—only one of the ceiling fans works, churning wearily above the heads of twenty students bent over their desks. Its sluggish breeze is too weak to dispel the smell of feet. Shoes aren't allowed in the school library; they're left outside on sturdy metal racks. We're in the media room, using one of the few projectors in the school. The girls' white headscarves fill the front while the boys, shirts untucked and neckties loosened, slouch in the back. It's the Fourth of July, my English lesson is in full swing, and Izzul has asked me if I understand Malay. "No," I reply with a tilted smile of my own, and turn my attention to another student as Izzul's friends nudge him with their elbows. I'm not supposed to speak Malay with my students. If I can't speak or understand Malay, then they have no choice but to use their English to communicate with me. I've been coming to their school for six months, bicycling down the village road as trucks laden with orange oil palm fruit rattle by and school kids zipping past on their motorbikes leave me in the dust. Each class I see only once a week, so amidst the whirl of Wanies, Amiruls, Fikrys, and Aqilas, only a few names have stuck to faces. But the list is slowly growing. My weekly lessons and silly games must somehow meet the aims of two governments—the US Department of State's desire to promote good feeling towards America at the grass-roots level and the Malaysian Ministry of Education's goal to improve English proficiency in rural schools. In the end, I often feel like an English-speaking camp counselor instead of a teacher, and I overhear other shoppers at the market refer to me as "that Korean girl" rather than as an American, but we're getting there. I hoped when I came to Malaysia that I

Photo Joann Oh would assimilate as much as possible. I wanted to learn the language, make local friends, and become integrated into the community. As an Asian-American, I knew I wouldn't stick out as much as my Caucasian friends, so I expected it would be easy. I packed my Malay-English dictionary and I was already whizzing down the road of cross-cultural adjustment in my mind. Then two words at orientation threw a stick in my spokes. Cultural Ambassador You're not here to become Malaysian, veterans of the program told us. You're here to be American, to pit a face and a name against stereotypes and assumptions about our country. And avoid speaking Malay with your students because you're there to help them practice English. I don't know how to be a cultural ambassador. I know how to blend in, how to watch and imitate. I know how to adapt so that I won't stick out. But being a cultural ambassador is all about sticking out. Learn the language, yes. Make local friends, of course. Definitely become integrated into the community. But do all this while keeping your feet anchored in what Page 4

it means to be American. As with any short -term stay in another culture, you will stick out and be uncomfortable during the transition and long after, but being an ambassador means staying in the gap, straddling two countries to become a crossroads for exchange. I realize now that my original goals for assimilation reveal a misunderstanding of culture in my mind. In order to "become Malaysian" as I had hoped, I would have to start with a clean cultural slate. As it is, I've been acculturated to the rhythms of a few places and nations, and I carry that history with me everywhere I go. Even if orientation had been all about being Malaysian, I'd still be an American ambassador. I stick out more than I'd expected in my town, anyway. My uncovered head in an allMuslim area attracts a lot of stares as I cycle past the roti stands selling fried flatbread and noodles. I'd still teach about the Fourth of July and tell stories about America because my students ask. They ask me about American high school, prom, and if my school had mean girls (to which I give a sad yes, there are mean girls everywhere). I'm an ambassador whether or not I planned to be one.

Fall 2013

ASC alumni a published author Ethan Long (Fall 2006) from Mount Vernon Nazarene University, writes about his debut fictional work Set in a far north town, Logan Rhodotus has just graduated high school and is unsure of what his next step should be. When his great -grandmother dies, he finds an old book in her house that resembles the Greek myths, but not exactly. The more he reads, the more he begins to see the myths of the book in his own little town. The book leads him to a mystery in the town theatre, and before he knows it he's swept up in an adventure bigger than he ever imagined. Centaurs in the woods and Olympians on the wind, Logan will find that magic is as close as his own backyard.

like I could let go of the project. After several drafts and many critiques from helpful readers, I decided to pursue self-publishing over the traditional agent/manuscript endeavor.

Discovery, the first book in the Tales, was self-published through WestBow Press. I gained the funding to do so with the help of family, friends, and strangers, through a website called Kickstarter. Kickstarter is a crowdfunding site that allows entrepreneurs to post projects that others can invest in for as little as a dollar. The more a backer gives the bigger the rewards, which for “True Mythology� were books, illustrations, and I was a part of the ASC fall semester of 2006, during my final year at Mount Vernon even the chance to have their name in the Nazarene University. My studies in a foreign sequel. My project was successfully funded culture along with the indigenous studies of last April, and then published 5 December the Australian Aboriginals helped inspire me 2012. with a fantasy epic, set to span the world across a series of five books. I also hope to Besides the generous help funding the pubinclude Australia in the storyline. lishing, I also had help polishing the book. A friend from church, Dustin Hodgkinson, drew original illustrations for the young The idea first came to me in 2005, but it adult novel, and my brother Adam Long, wasn't until my final semester at MVNU in designed the cover. 2007 that I began to write. With a prompt from a creative writing class, I wrote the first chapter, which was hailed with positive reI was tired of the bad books I was always views. Over the years I continued to flesh seeing, so I finally had to put my money out the story and characters, never feeling where my mouth was. In the end, I'm hop-

Ethan Long ing to write a fantasy story that lots of people can enjoy, with principles and morals they wouldn't mind their kids picking up. The book can currently be found on and It comes in hardcover, paperback and eBook for all devices.

Where to find us online: NEW Instagram: australiastudiescentre (or #bestsemesterasc to see student pics) Facebook: Twitter: @bestsemesterASC Website: Vimeo:


Australia Studies Centre a program of the Council for Chrisan Colleges & Universies 5 Mary Street, Drummoyne, NSW 2047 P.O. Box 534, Drummoyne, NSW 1470 SYDNEY AUSTRALIA Tel: +61 2 9819 8823 Fax: +61 2 9719 1714 E-mail: Website: ABN: 76 128 260 793 (CCCU-Australia Pty Limited) Page 9

ASC Alumni Newsletter Fall 2013  

Alumni Newsletter Fall 2013

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