The Student’s Desk

That we may know Christ

Newsletter 2019

2019 was an exceptionally busy year with the completion of my master’s thesis, countless other projects large and small, ministry, and maintaining my health and fitness. The year has left me feeling somewhat tired, which is why my news is coming out a little later than usual.

The focus of the year was on my thesis addressing the topic of how Jesus’ healing ministry fulfils the prophecies in Isaiah. Despite working on it for 3 years, I was well into this year when I still hadn’t come up with an answer. With the deadline fast approaching, thankfully I was able to find some resources to form a methodology and scratch some bits of evidence together to form an answer. I was able to submit it with a month to spare. Now, I’m waiting to hear back from the examiners, which should be at the end of February. Plenty of time to chew nails! Jokes aside, I expect to graduate in March, and will send details when I have certainty.

With so much time and energy spent on my thesis, I haven’t done as much with Jericho Road this year. In fact, most of my annual leave that I had accumulated since starting work was spent on my thesis. Thankfully I still have some left for a bit of a holiday with church friends in January. Still, for work, I was able to attend a conference and present a paper, and do plenty of reading and writing, some of which was an extension of my thesis work. How I loved it when that happened!! I am so thankful for the support I have received from work in allowing me the time to focus on my thesis.

Ministry at Allambie Heights continued with church services going through the healing miracles of Jesus. This was not a coincidence! I was able to use what I had learned in my research to teach about what Jesus was doing. I also learned this year that this ministry in its present form will be coming to an end. The Cerebral Palsy Alliance will be closing down Venee Burgees House and moving the residents into group homes out in the community. I was surprised given the age of the residents, but of the ones I spoke to, they were largely positive about the change. At this stage, I can only pray that God will send people to their new homes to look after them spiritually. The plan was to have all the residents move out by the end of 2019. But as with any building project, there are always delays. So, we’ve been able to have one last Carols service, and I will continue services next year until the centre is finally closed.

Aside from my master’s (have I mentioned that yet??), the other big project was the building of my camper van. That also entailed a lot more than what I had expected. I took delivery of my new van in April and had a builder lined up to do the conversion. It would seem I was given the right guy as he did what I asked him to do, and not what he wanted to do – a crucial point for me. The conversion would take the next 6 months, and I’d often be on my computer designing different bits and pieces, and solving problems – of which there seemed to be no end! In the end, I got pretty much what I had in mind. Given this was the first time I designed a camper van and the space I had to work with, I did OK. In just 8 square meters I’ve managed to cram in a bike shed, bedroom, wardrobe, kitchen, dining room, toilet, and more storage than what I need. So, naturally one can expect some compromises! But all the functionality is there, and it just needs a little more tweaking. Oh, and the name of this vehicle? Considering that it’s a “Renault Master”, and that I will have my master’s degree, and it’s my home away from home, it seemed appropriate to dub the van the “Master’s Quarters”. Quite dignified, don’t you think?

It’s already had its maiden voyages (yes, plural). A week after submitting my thesis (that just keeps popping up!), I took the van out for a shakedown. I  decided to head south to get away from the threat of bushfires only to find myself in the middle of a “catastrophic fire danger zone” at Kangaroo Valley. So, I spent a few days running away from bushfires – just what one needs after 5 years of intensc study! But it was good to catch up with friends at Kiama. I had a better time of it a month later when I went to Holbrook for a recumbent rally.

Through all the business, I have been able to stay on my bike to maintain my fitness. I’ve enjoyed a number of rides throughout the year. I continue to meet with a recumbent group in Sydney for a ride around once a month. I now know how to navigate most of my way around Sydney by bike safely, and finding it an enjoyable place to ride. Having an electric assistance motor on the Monster (my off-road trike) has made a huge difference and has opened up a lot of opportunities not enjoyed before. In May I did the Oaks Trail with friends – a bush ride through Blue Mountains National Park from Woodford to Glenbrook. Last time I did this ride was over 20 years ago. Having the Monster with the motor meant I could easily cover the 25km without ending up exhausted. In fact, instead of getting into a car at Glenbrook like last time, I turned around and rode back up the highway to Woodford where my old truck was – another 25km. I had two others with me which was good. As mentioned, I went to Holbrook for a recumbent rally which involved a ride covering 70km in just over 3 hours riding time. I was really glad to have the motor for that one! I’ve also been able to explore bush tracks around my home which has also been enjoyable. The Monster has done 2,000km with the motor, and apart from some initial teething problems, it’s been 100% reliable. The rest of the trike is wearing out, and possibly even its owner, but the battery and motor are fine! I’ve been so impressed with the ebike concept, I’ll be electrifying one of my other trikes for the road early in 2020. I expect this will open up a whole lot of other possibilities that I haven’t been able to enjoy – or at least not without completely wrecking myself! But I will keep one trike non-powered to keep me honest. I’ll use this on shorter rides and training runs.

I also started walking at the end of 2018 as part of my exercise regime to maintain that skill. I also found it to be a good counter to cycling. Where cycling tightens up my muscles, walking actually loosens them. So, the day after a long ride, I make sure to go for a walk to work out any cramps. It’s amazing how effective this is! I usually walk 1.5km every second day for 25mins.

Next year I hope will be a little quieter so I recover from my latest, shall we say, “academic experience”. I intend to enjoy some bike riding and camper-vanning, and returning to my book writing as part of my work.

Thanks again for all your prayers and support, it’s awesome! I’m very much aware that what I’m doing is not a solo effort. So, I give thanks and praise to our God and Saviour for the support I do receive. Thanks to you all.JASON

December 27, 2019 Posted by | Newsletters, Site News | Leave a comment