If it is the first time you meet Michael Beardsley, you’ll soon come to three conclusions. First, he is kinda cute (if you’re a girl) in a crew cut with some facial hair. Secondly, he is absolutely enthusiastic about God and thirdly, he must be from America. Your last summation of him is incorrect; he is a home-grown Aussie who has spent time around Americans. Perhaps their accent had rubbed off on him.
Over five years ago, Michael was nearing the end of his first year at Griffith University but he was neither thinking about the accounting assignments nor anticipating the summer holidays. Instead Michael felt listless, isolated and did not see much value in studies or purpose in life. Over summer, he started listening to 96.5FM, a Christian radio station in Brisbane, and was intrigued by what he heard about Christianity.
On a steamy summer night in a beer garden located in the western suburbs of Sydney, Student Life missionary Eddy Tam recently had the conversation of a lifetime. Surrounded by small groups of pub regulars and the noise of karaoke music, Eddy introduced himself to a man dressed in a reflective jacket carrying two schooners of beer. Despite his intimidating physique, Jack (name changed) turned out to have a heart of gold. As the conversation developed over the course of the evening, it was clear that God had brought together two very different people, from radically different backgrounds and walks of life, for the purpose of showing them how much they had in common.
Dressing up in fineries and suits, getting photographs taken by a professional photographer and sitting down to fine dining, are not part of the job description for missionaries in CCCA. However, once every two years, they look forward to catching up at Connexion Conference and attending the Awards night. In January of this year, awards were given to those who have served for at least five years or more in CCCA. It was exciting to cheer for colleagues and the anticipation and applause intensified as the longevity of the service increased. The missionaries stood up and applauded for those who had served thirty years or more.
It’s not every day that the makings of a movement drop right into your lap without any effort on your part. But that’s exactly what happened recently to FamilyLife Australia.
A couple of months ago, we received an email from a couple living in Brisbane who had begun using our HomeBuilders small group Bible studies in their church. It had been so successful and helpful to participants that they continued on with the studies. Before long, more leaders were raised up and soon there were other churches involved until there were five HomeBuilders groups running. The couple who started it were Eugene and Lyn Lapore, a beautiful godly Filipino couple with young children. They have a passion for building up marriages in the Filipino community.
It was over 15 years ago when Belinda and Scott first walked into the local surgery of Dr Warren Thyer. That first appointment led to an ongoing connection with Warren as their trusted family doctor who would in time deliver their three baby boys and walk with Belinda through treatment for depression. Another appointment in late 2010 led to a life transforming chain of events.