The Student’s Desk

That we may know Christ

Newsletter – 2018

2018 has been a very full year where I really haven’t stopped. This has been taxing on my energy levels, and I’m thankful God had sustained me through it all. 

DSC04858The year began with a week’s holiday at Mansfield in the foothills of Victoria’s high country. The highlight of the week was going 4WDing. With the prospect of changing vehicles, I decided to take the opportunity to do one more trip in the Delica with a mate driving his Prado. This was also  an opportunity get any last desires to go 4WDing out of my system. It was certainly a trip to finish my 4WDing aspirations with. The trip involved going over Mt. Stirling then on to Craig’s hut – which I found out was built only as a prop for the movie “The Man From Snowy River”. However, the views were worthwhile. It was the hardest bit of driving I’ve done with my truck getting on some very interesting angles as pictured. So, this quelled any desire to do this kind of thing again. I much rather do this kind of thing on the Monster (my off road trike). That’s not so expensive to fix when I break it, and much easier to recover when stuck!

I’ve had an extended time of leave from work this year to focus on my masters thesis looking at the relationship between Jesus’ healing ministry and the prophecies in Isaiah. This has been a much more difficult project than what I had anticipated. But, I’ve come this far, so I’m not about to quit now. I was able to get most of the work done, so the task remains to piece all my research together and figure out an answer – any answer right now would be great! My thesis is due at the end of 2019. I also rejoice I have a job that provides me the flexibility to study. 

Given the amount of time I have spent on study, I haven’t done as much in my role in my role as Disability Advocate as I would like. However I have managed to some book reviews, write articles, and post comments online. I also a went to some conferences on theology, the church and disability, which meant stepping outside my own theological tradition. This prompts me to do some critical thinking, which is always a good thing. One conference involved hanging out with Seventh Day Adventists for a few days. That was quite an experience for this conservative. A lot of thinking happened that week! Lately, I’ve been preparing a conference paper on a biblical model of human flourishing applied to people with intellectual disabilities which I will present early next year. This paper has led to some very interesting research which I’m enjoying.

Church services at Allambie Heights have continued this year, and at times, this has been difficult. But I’m very grateful for those who accompany me, and for the opportunity to share the gospel with these people. It is also with sadness I have to announce in 2019, after 18 years, this ministry in its present form will be discontinued. The government is no longer funding large hostel styled accommodation, and the residents will be moving into group homes out in the community, up to 5 to a home. As much as I think this is the better option, I had hoped the current arrangements would continue given the age of the people. I expect this will be a massive change for them. If a ministry is to continue, I’m unsure what form it will take. So this is a matter for prayer. 

D85_168311-280181110Revolve12+12_1225x817_2749176Despite the business, I’ve been determined to keep cycling as I see health and fitness being key to being able to do everything I do. There have been a number of highlights on the bike this year. One was seeing the end of knee pain. I’ve experienced severe knee pain on the bike for years after a couple of hours riding. I just took it as part of cycling with cerebral palsy. However, under the NDIS, I’ve been having regular physiotherapy, during which, the cause of the knee pain was  discovered. I subsequently had adjustments made to my pedals, and haven’t had knee pain since. I’ve been able to pedal more comfortably, more efficiently and further, which has allowed me to enjoy more cycling. Another highlight was competing in an 80km race at Eastern Creek Raceway. I had doubts l would complete the full 80km. But the way I saw it I had 3 hours without cars, pedestrians, dogs, or kids on scooters, to ride as hard and fast as I wanted. That was worth spending money on! Eastern Creek Raceway is much more undulating than what it appears on TV. But I managed to go the full 3 hours nonstop covering 60km. I was happy with that effort. More impressive still, I was back on the bike just 3 days later. It would have been 2 but… time management! Another highlight has been FINALLY getting the Monster back. It’s been having an electric assistance motor fitted which was a fight all the way to the end. But it’s now working and meeting expectations. With 6hrs+ run time from the battery, all-day adventure rides are a definite possibility. I am very much enjoying climbing  hills with friends these days. Although my friends don’t seem to share my enthusiasm. 

IMG_0065The return of the Monster forced my hand to do something about a new van, which I expect it would. The motor and battery added at least 10kg to the Monster which is now too heavy for me to lift into the Delica. The second time I lifted the Monster into the Delica I hurt my back. So it was off to the car yards to find a van with a nice low floor. There’s plenty of nice offerings in the commercial van market, so it wasn’t an easy choice. Vans have come a long way since I was growing up! I finally settled on a Renault Master (demo model pictured), and I expect to take delivery late February or early March. A lot of the decision making came down to which manufacture was going to give the most cooperation, of which one manufacturer completely failed! After the initial running in period, the next task will be to fit the van out as a camper. This will be the major project for 2019 (aside from my masters). In some ways, this is the culmination of a project that’s been going on for just over 20 years. I began with pack-biking and over the years have progressed through different vehicles with different camp setups. Having been campervanning in NZ a couple of times (I won’t mention the US!), I know this is something that works for me, and I’m now looking forward to having my own campervan. Then I’ll be able to visit churches in the far flung corners of the state in comfort, and with my thesis done, attend some recumbent events in NSW and Victoria. 

This month also marks 20 years since I moved out of my parents home. For most people, this is hardly anything to mark. But for me, I was still very dependent and didn’t know if living on my own was going to work. On one hand, it’s remarkable that time has gone by so fast. On the other hand, so much has happen in that time, it seems much longer than 20 years! I’m pleased to have my health and fitness after all that time, and I have much to give thanks for.

So, next year I can look forward to winding up as I finish my masters, and sadly a ministry; and winding down as I enjoy camping with the new van.

Giving thanks for your support and prayers.



December 21, 2018 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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