December 2021

Happy Christmas!

Thank you so much for your continued encouragement. We appreciate your support enormously and depend so much on your prayers for us. 

Our most recent semester has just ended with a wonderful graduation celebration at the end of November. We began the semester in lockdown followed by a brief interlude of face-to-face teaching. We then headed into Melbourne’s second long lockdown, which earned us the unwanted prize of most locked down city in the world. As a staff team at St Andrew’s Hall, we saw this coming so Rachel and I moved into the new buildings to live in a household bubble with our students. Initially we thought this would be for about 12 days. It turned out to be 12 weeks! Schools and childcare facilities were closed so we ended up looking after the five children who were part of the community so that their parents could go to class. Our other teaching staff colleagues were at home and taught on Zoom. My classes were in-person, which reduced the overall Zoom burden for our students.

Living at St Andrew’s Hall for such a long time had its ups and downs. We loved being part of the community and had lots of people around, so the isolation of the lockdown in 2020 wasn’t such a factor for Rachel and me. It was great getting to know the families and especially the children more deeply than we normally do. We truly appreciated all these things. However, living at work does make work-life balance somewhat difficult to maintain. It was lovely to get home once the restrictions eased. 

The last few weeks of the semester took place face-to-face. We had a great end of term party (see photo!). Our graduation service was the first one for two years at which we could sing without masks and welcome visitors. The previous three have been only staff and students with no guests and only limited or no singing. It was such a joy to be able to praise God together.

Plans for Christmas

Rachel and I are hoping to get over to the UK for Christmas. We haven’t seen Jonathan and Lizzie since January 2020, six months before they got married. And we haven’t seen the rest of our families for two and a half years. We know that so many others have faced similar or longer separations. We have booked flights to come over from mid- December to mid-January. In the last few days, Omicron has raised its head. Unless Australia closes its borders again or imposes mandatory hotel quarantine, we should still be able to come. We have learned to hold our plans lightly but will be very disappointed if we aren’t able to travel. 

Next year

After a very busy year in 2021, we expect to have two smaller semesters next year. We have also had some staff changes so will be rebuilding our team early next year. 

Family news

At the moment it seems that we are allowed to travel to England but not to Darwin. The border between Victoria and the Northern Territory is still closed. We hope this will change soon as Sam and Melanie are expecting their first baby in early February. We would love to be able to visit them. 

With our love and best wishes for a very Happy Christmas,

David and Rachel.    

Thank God for

  • A great semester at St Andrew’s Hall with twelve new long-term gospel workers getting ready to head into mission. 

Please pray

  • That Rachel and I would be able to get to England in December and get back to Australia in January. 
  • For a new Catering Manager at St Andrew’s Hall.
  • For a safe and healthy delivery for Sam and Melanie for their first baby.
  • For continued wisdom and grace to equip the men and women who come to St Andrew’s Hall to train for long-term gospel ministry.

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