April 2021

Many thanks for your prayers for the St Andrew’s Hall redevelopment. We have been praying that the project will come in on-time, on-budget and safely. On 20 March we held our reopening ceremony with the Archbishop of Melbourne.

It is a great joy to be able to share that after thirteen months, we have finished on-time (just about!), on-budget and with no reportable health and safety incidents from start to finish. All this in a COVID year when the construction industry was locked down in Melbourne for 10 weeks. If you’d like to watch a short video about the building, you can find it here.

The last few months have been intense and busy. We spent December packing down and clearing up the various locations where we were teaching and accommodating students last year. In January we moved back into St Andrew’s Hall. A week after we moved in, a pipe burst because of a manufacturing defect in a connection, flooding two apartments that had to be re-fitted from scratch. Our contractors threw themselves into the work, with the consequence that some of the landscaping and external work fell behind. Our semester started on time with all our students accommodated on 1 February. But the early weeks of the semester passed in a melee of tradespeople finishing off various bits of landscaping work. It felt that every time we cleaned a floor it was immediately covered in dirty boot prints again. On top of that there was an outbreak of D&V in the student community, brought back from a child in day-care. Just over a quarter of the community went down with it. For those reading outside of Australia – when you eventually come out of COVID lockdown, expect a continual stream of minor illnesses – we’ve lost our immunity. Rachel has borne the brunt of the organisation of the move back to the new premises as well as the organisation of the opening event … while I’ve been teaching students and getting the semester going on the academic front. We are both weary.  

Remarkably, CMS has ended the redevelopment without a debt and with no major impact to our ongoing financial support of missionaries. We have put some significant assets into the building project that we would like to recover – but we are so thankful for the generosity of God’s people in enabling us to complete a $16million project.  

Learning the new building 

We are learning to operate out of our new buildings. The teaching and learning spaces are sensational and we love the library and the outdoor deck. Rachel and I are working hard to learn some of the more technical bits. Instead of having gas heaters that you turn on when you’re cold, the new building has a fully integrated building management system run from a computer. When we understand it, I’m sure it will be brilliant, but we’re not quite there yet.  

Family news 

At the moment, travel within Australia is unrestricted, although this changes overnight if there is any whiff of cases of community transmission of COVID. We know we are in a totally different situation to family and friends in the UK – we grieve deeply for you. We are hoping to travel to Darwin over Easter. We are very much looking forward to seeing Sam and Melanie. Then we have a few days in Brisbane on the way back. Jonathan started a new job in the Cabinet Office at the beginning of February. This has been a big and positive change for him with a new role that he is appreciating. He and Lizzie are hoping to buy a flat in South London. Sam and Melanie have bought a home in Darwin. Tom, Mia, Ziggy and Adelaide are well.  

With our love and best wishes, 

David and Rachel. 

Thank God for answered prayer:

  • The building project finishing on-time, on-budget and safely!  
  • Sam and Melanie were able to come to Melbourne for Christmas. 
  • We moved St Andrew’s Hall back to the new building and started our semester on time.  

Please pray: 

  • For stamina for Rachel and me, and for the rest of our staff team, as we equip our current students for long-term mission after an exhausting time through the move.  
  • For the chance to slow down a bit and be refreshed. 
  • For Jonathan and Lizzie’s house purchase to go through smoothly.  

Reply to this letter

Listen to the Crosslinks podcast

Inside Mission connects you with those serving in mission across the globe. Find out what it's like being a mum on the mission field in episode 1. In episode 2, find out how our churches can build a gospel culture that permeates differences, as we speak to the Presiding Bishop of the evangelical anglican church in South Africa. And subscribe today so that you don't miss out on future conversations with frontline mission workers.

Listen now