Lay of the Land

DSC02419We began our day early on the NTC-Brisbane campus. It was a beautiful but crisp morning (Australia’s weather DSC02417resembles very early spring… which meant extra blankets last night in the dormitory since few homes in Australia possess central heat.) Today was dedicated to a number of preliminary meetings to help us get the ”lay of the land” for the students who will be coming to Brisbane for 365M.

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David began the day meeting with Steve Walsh to finalize some of the financial arrangements. Steve will be serving as logistical coordinator as 365m students transition to Brisbane as well as pastor at DSC02439one of the ministry sites. We also had opportunity to meet with a good friend, Dr. Bruce Allder who is DSC02423principal for NTC-Brisbane. Bruce was teaching a course today as well as maintaining his DSC02424normal role of overseeing the school. Students at NTC Brisbane come from a wide variety of countries, some joining by video conference. We had DSC02431opportunity to meet several of them during “tea time” (a sacred, closely protected, time in Australian culture).  As a practical theologian, it will DSC02433be good to have Bruce’s collegial presence at the school where the students will be living.

DSC02442One person we had an opportunity to spend a lot of time with is Aaron Park who serves as the facilitator of NTC-Brisbane’s “gap program” (held in conjunction with PLNU and SNU) which includes a time where undergraduate come to Australia for formation and also to encounter aboriginal culture in DSC02441the outback portions of Australia. Aaron, a transplant from Korea during early high school, also works in youth ministry for two of the churches. I suspect our students will be collaborating with Aaron in shaping and forming a new generation.

We also had a special time connecting with one of the mentors from 20140731_131633the Philippines. Rev. Lucinda F. “Luz” Tamayo, pastor of the 400-strong Taytay First Church of the Nazarene. Luz is the wife of the late Rev. Vern Tomayo, former District Superintendent of Metro Manila District. She began to pastor in 1999 when her husband passed away. Under her leadership the Taytay church has grown and celebrated a number of ministries including church planting and ministry to children and youth in the Manila area. She will undoubtedly bring a lot of experience to the program.

20140731_143820David did meet with Richard again to confirm his role in 365M. Richard will be serving as our academic mentor and 20140731_143837working closely with David throughout the year. Richard and Steve also possess connections with ministries to aboriginal culture which should prove helpful to students.

20140731_131854The day also included an outing to get the feel of the area. Students will have access to 20140731_131823several commercial areas near the college. One such area is called Victoria Point, a larger shopping area with a number of stores and shops. The 20140731_132330area was once known as the “fruitbasket” of Australia so we stopped by a local shop to 20140731_132509sample some of the local fruit. In addition to the fruit and produce, we also encountered clerks from mainland China. Australia continues to 20140731_132434experience a growing cultural diversity across the continent.

 

DSC02466Victoria point also serves as the name of the local area that provides access DSC02461to the ocean. While a large continent, the majority of the population remains primarily DSC02467along costal access points. This inlet is buffered by barrier islands, many inhabited DSC02480by locals, the serves the inlet by providing little surf. The short distance between the DSC02478mountains and beachfront remind me of certain portions of our Pacific DSC02477coastline in California. I do think our students will be able to experience a wide array of geographic and cultural experiences while in Brisbane.

About Dean G. Blevins

Dr. Dean G. Blevins currently serves as Professor of Practical Theology and Christian Discipleship at Nazarene Theological Seminary. An ordained elder, Dean has ministered in diverse settings and currently also serves at the USA Regional Education Coordinator for the Church of the Nazarene. A prolific author, Dr. Blevins recently co-wrote the textbook Discovering Discipleship and edits Didache: Faithful Teaching, a journal for Wesleyan Education.
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