Summer School runs from the first Saturday in January through to the following Friday. Kids are dropped off to buses around 8:30am and are taken off to various locations in Katoomba for fantastic programs. Adults gather in the large auditorium each morning to enjoy great singing with around 2500 people, interviews with new missionaries and Bible talks. After morning tea adults choose which missionary elective they would like to hear. Topics this year included: “Perspectives on the refugee crisis from the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Asia”, “Carpentry and theology together: Jesus did it, what about you?”, and “What theological education looks like in different countries”. The afternoons are free time, and there are evening sessions where you can hear sermons from a variety of speakers and also hear more from the missionaries.
What was my take-home message from the talks?
Kanishka Raffel, the new Anglican Dean of Sydney, spoke engagingly from the book of Acts, addressing the topic “The Unstoppable Gospel”. A timely encouragement for me was that although the gospel I follow is unstoppable, it consistently faces opposition. To see the growth of the gospel in Acts, in spite of various conflicts faced by the apostles, strengthens us as Jesus’ disciples in today’s society, where it is becoming increasingly unpopular to follow him as Lord. Something from one of Peter Rodgers’ sermons in the evening struck me as well: we are instructed to “seek God’s Kingdom” which should look similar to the frantic nature with which we search for lost car keys. If I am truly seeking my Father’s Kingdom, Jesus’ priorities should consume my thoughts, plans, prayers and actions in 2016.
What struck me from the missionary electives?
It was exciting and refreshing to hear about so many people becoming Christians all over the world, despite hard situations. It was also humbling to see various missionaries’ raw emotions as they described difficult experiences they had endured. I want to pray more for them.
What else did I enjoy?
The list is long!…Catching up with people from all over Sydney and NSW who we only see at Summer School, hanging out with several other families from Bexley North at Blackheath Caravan Park, singing rich hymns and sharing in the Lord’s Supper with so many Christian brothers and sisters, seeing the patience and grace shown by so many volunteers during long days of horrible weather, and being reminded that what we believe is worth everything.
What were highlights for my children?
Sarah: “I enjoyed everything, but I did really enjoy discussion groups. It’s nice to be within a big group of strong Christians who are encouraging each other. The talks were also refreshing, reminding us how awesome God is, and encouraging us to persevere when life’s not so awesome.”
Hannah: “I really enjoyed the talks because Andrew Spalding encouraged us not to just wait for Jesus’ return, but to be witnesses for him. I also loved the feeling as we sang together – praising God as a big group and having fun at the same time. Every afternoon we also got to hang out with lots of church friends.”
Eliana: “I really enjoyed the talks and how Chris talked about Jesus’ message. On each day we learned a different thing about God’s message. It went from: Jesus’ message is for all of us, to Jesus’ message is unstoppable and Jesus’ message is to go around the world. He used great methods and I really understood it and remember it well. I also liked the crafts and the encouraging leaders.”
Join us there in 2017!