Thursday, 19 December 2013


The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD. Proverbs 16:33

We'd filled out all the forms, consulted the experts, attached the required reports, but we knew in the end that the result was with God alone. 

Praise, praise be to God.

In His providence, the Huon Council has given us development approval to go ahead with our plans for the complex of buildings that comprise Pilgrim Hill.

In fact, the Councillors not only approved it, they voted unanimously to do so!

I'm not sure I can overstate the importance of this step, which means we now have the permission of Australia's southernmost local government body to pursue our plans for a hostel and artist's residency on the beautiful 25 acres that God in His graciousness created and has given us to tend.

Four years ago, we committed to pray regularly for favour with local government and for wisdom in successfully navigating the complex application process. We are humbled and awed that we've been answered so kindly.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Interview with a Very Young Team Member

An interview with a key member of our team, Evelyn Baehr. As the oldest Baehr child, Eve (aged 4.5) will have a significant role in the work of Pilgrim Hill, practising hospitality with her family.

Please enjoy this audio interview given by Eve about Pilgrim Hill, conducted by Papa (Peirce Baehr) and edited by Suzannah Rowntree.

Note: Use a Flash-friendly device to play this interview. That means no iOS (iPhones, iPods, iPads). 

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The Apprentices

Did you know Pilgrim Hill just hosted our first official apprentices? For six weeks this winter, we were truly privileged to welcome two young men from Portland, Oregon, to play guinea pigs for the Pilgrim Hill apprenticeship. Like apprentices to come, during their apprenticeship the guys mixed physical labour with studies in Christian thought and vocation.

On the labour side, our apprentices designed and built an epic picnic shelter on the Hill, constructed from stringy-bark trees (felled onsite) and recycled corrugated iron. (Come to our Spring workday to see and enjoy their marvellous work.) They also kindly assisted Christina's parents in building an art studio on their adjoining property. And they helped us with property maintenance here in Mountain River, including cleaning out a shade house and preparing our vegetable garden for Spring planting. Finally, they also assisted Peirce with his FOCUS work, helping to set up and pack up various evangelism events.

On the study side, the apprentices followed a course of reading with Peirce which included books by Francis Schaeffer, C.S. Lewis, and G.K. Chesterton. They also learned and practiced topical Bible study techniques. But the focal point of their studies was understanding Christianity as an entire thought system — the only one which satisfactorily embraces and accounts for every area of life. Reading out loud together all of Nancy Pearcey's book "Total Truth" brought the point home and encouraged them to think deeply about the implications of every worldview which they encounter as they embark on adult life.

For us, it was a crash course in long-term hospitality, discipleship, organisation and catering! Christina was in constant fear that she wasn't feeding them enough. We wondered whether we would suffer from lack of "couple time" and people kept asking us how we were coping.

So here's the truth. We miss them. They were great company for us, real practical help in our daily lives, and the kindest of big brothers to our daughters. Responding to their big questions kept us epistemologically on our toes, and we were edified to once again seek and find real answers in the Bible and in the writings of mature Christians from history.

As Peirce said at the outset, "This is an opportunity for us to do Pilgrim Hill now." It could have been a stressful, disappointing time, for both us and them. But thanks to God's gracious blessing, it wasn't. Once again, we are encouraged to see how God leads us to walk in the good works He has prepared beforehand for us (Ephesians 2:10).

NB. This post was written by Christina and Peirce.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

In Pleasant Arbour

Then it shall come about when the LORD your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build, and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you eat and are satisfied, then watch yourself, that you do not forget the LORD who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
- Deuteronomy 6:10-12

Another apple season has come, and will go. In God's kind providence we are closer to Pilgrim Hill -- quite literally: we can see it from the window of our rental property.

I've written about apple season in the Huon Valley before, but never as a local. Apple season meant pretty sights on the way to Pilgrim Hill, and yummy varieties showing up at the shops. 

Now it means every salad and pasta bowl we own (as well as the laundry basket) is overflowing with apples from our own mini-orchard, and in spare moments I'm googling chutneys, jellies, fruit leathers and what-not (because at some point I am going to have to get the laundry off the line, right?). 

It means eyeing the abandoned orchard next door - haven of sweet-toothed birds and possums - and getting tips from our other neighbour on how to store the fruit for winter.

Since moving in, we've harvested sour cherries, apricots, raspberries, black currants, cherry plums, blood plums, grapes, josta berries, strawberries, black berries, peaches and (of course) apples -- all from this generous three-acre piece of the Valley. I feel like Joshua (though our landlords are alive and well at seminary, you'll be glad to hear).

We also have a too-friendly possum that wants to be a chicken. We have Day-Glo red toadstools that pop up in the night and pretend to be lawn ornaments. We have a resident pair of kookaburras that are so ridiculously fluffy they look like airport toys.

And it's all so very good.

There's a bit in Pilgrim's Progress where Christian gets tired going up the Hill of Difficulty and stops for a rest at a place called Pleasant Arbour. He loses the plot a bit by falling asleep when he is supposed to be on the way to the pilgrims' hostel (House Beautiful). 

Be assured we are not taking any catnaps. This may be a pleasant arbour, but our eyes are wide open and we can see where we're heading: to a patch of green outside our window where the hostel for pilgrims will be. 

It's a hill of difficulty which we can only ascend with God's help. But the good news is: He is an awesome Helper (Psalm 54:4).

Another apple season has come, and will go, and each one has seen us closer to Pilgrim Hill, and to the Lord of the Hill. 

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

An exciting new opportunity

Earlier in the year, you may have read a post that hinted about an exciting new ministry opportunity for Peirce. In this post, Will investigates...

Will: Are you working in paid ministry now?
Peirce: Yes. I'm a senior staff worker at FOCUS, the Fellowship of Overseas Christian University Students, working with Luke Hansard. We’re both evangelists on the UTAS campus.

Will: What skills are you learning?
Peirce: Well, I’m learning how to present the Bible to people from very different backgrounds. FOCUS is mainly made up of Asian students, but there are also Europeans and Africans who come along. Luke has reached out to other groups, but we’re mainly working with Asian students.

Will: Is it the same kind of ministry that is planned for Pilgrim Hill?
Peirce: The Wednesday night group is specifically for non-Christians, and there are opportunities every time to share the Gospel. There's also a great deal of hospitality. We have activities every month, for example on Easter Saturday we did egg dying. We’ll be working a lot with Asians at Pilgrim Hill, because they are the people currently most involved in fruit picking.

Will: What excites you about FOCUS work?
Peirce: It's amazing how many non-Christians come to FOCUS. I've been loving the job. I feel like I'm in the honeymoon period and I say, why not enjoy your honeymoon? But I hope that it's more than a honeymoon, that I always love it this much.

Will: What challenges have you faced?
Peirce: Big challenges so far… I find it interesting sharing the Gospel with Asians who have no background in the Bible at all. That is a different kind of challenge. I feel a call towards ministering to post-Christians, but I am now working with Asians who have no experience of Christianity at all.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Meet a random supporter!

I met Jordan de Hoog at a Pilgrim Hill prayer meeting last year. Curious about how he stumbled upon it, I quizzed him further....

How did you get involved with Pilgrim Hill?
I first found out about Pilgrim Hill when I discovered their Facebook page. I was excited about the idea of sharing the Gospel with travellers and farm workers, especially as I have spent a couple of summers on a farm near Pilgrim Hill.

Keen to find out more, I went along to a workday on the Hill. This involved a rough ride up the Hill’s driveway, some work on various projects, meeting the alpacas, a tour of the property, and a delicious lunch.

What have you valued most about your involvement?
I’ve enjoyed getting to know Peirce and Christina (and family), especially their evident love for God, His word and others around them. It has been a privilege to make a small contribution in their vision for reaching the lost for Christ through Pilgrim Hill.

What's your advice to people who are curious, but only onlookers at present?
I think the best way to find out more about Pilgrim Hill is to meet Peirce and Christina and hear their desires and plans (God-willing) for Pilgrim Him. Come along to a prayer meeting or workday! (details here)

In the meantime, visit and catch sight of the vision of Pilgrim Hill in their short and beautiful promotional film.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Pilgrim Hill attracts international support

God-willing, Pilgrim Hill will attract travellers - and supporters - from all over the world.

Ronald and Christina Kirk, who currently live in California, are already devotees.

The Kirks know Peirce and Christina Baehr through their parents. They say the main reason they were drawn to the venture was its focus on evangelism.

"Christians possess something extremely worthwhile that others do not," says Ron, a landscape architect who became a Christian in his early '20s.

"Hospitality has a venerable history in the cause of Christ. Add to the mix the Baehr family, of the greatest character and amiability, and you have a great missionary work of the highest quality," he says.

When I ask Ron why he and his wife decided to support a ministry in a first-world country many miles away, he says, "We're supposed to make disciples of all nations - what better way to minister the love of Christ than through hospitality?"

If you would like to support the ministry of Pilgrim Hill, our website outlines ways you can help:

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Not your average work day...

For many of us, the words "work" and "day" conjure up a pretty tedious affair that involves a desk, a screen, and not a lot of physical activity. But at Pilgrim Hill, work days are an entirely different beast. 

For starters, there's no space between the words "work" and "day" - our workdays are too dynamic for that! Also, you can put an exclamation mark after the word without being cynical - they really are fun!

If you're based in Tassie and have never experienced a Pilgrim Hill workday, you're in luck. There's one coming up in a couple of weeks and you're invited

Come prepared to do battle with thistle and bracken, breathe the fresh Huon air, make new friends, and enjoy a delicious afternoon tea. If you're really lucky, Jordan de Hoog will take a shallow depth-of-field photograph that makes you look even more beautiful than you already are...

For more information about our upcoming workday, check out the event page on Facebook:

Monday, 28 January 2013

New Year, New Architects

Late last year, after a lot of research, discussion, prayer and listening to expert advisors, the PH Association Inc made the decision not to sign the contract with 1+2 Architecture, but instead to work with Scott Verdouw at JAWSArchitects to develop a more budget-friendly plan for our complex of buildings. We are very grateful for 1+2's help, enthusiasm, encouragement, and attention to our project at its inception, and we're happy to say that our working relationship ended on good terms.

Having made the change to JAWS, we are beyond pleased, both with the projected timeframe and price as well as the astonishing progress and designs so far. With their pre-fab experience and their willingness to work with volunteers, we're confident that the cost of the project will be much less than our estimate two years ago. 

We're also stoked at the reduced number of required consultants, and not least with the Christian commitment of both Scott (JAWS) and Mike (at Eco-Cabins, with whom JAWS has collaborated to create the 'Mako' range of pre-fab buildings) and their interest to go above and beyond to help the project. 

Check back soon for some sneak peeks of the lovely designs they've been working up for our Planning Approval application. As a teaser, we are taking our design cues from the history of the Huon Valley. Here is one of the motifs we'll be picking up in the designs - apple pickers' huts from the glory days of the Huon. Visit our friends at Hartzview Vineyard to see the original ones below. 

Sunday, 20 January 2013

It's all happening

You might be excused for thinking that nothing has been happening, due to the blog silence, but au contraire...
  • Pilgrim Hill swapped architects.
  • Christina had a baby.
  • The Baehrs moved to the Huon, within glancing distance of Pilgrim Hill.
  • Our Winter and Spring Workdays on PH were productive and fun.
  • Peirce is in the midst of an exciting new ministry opportunity that will help him further develop the skills needed for PH.
  • People have come on board to help us with tasks like communications and coordinating church visits and support dinners.
Over the next weeks and months, you'll be seeing/hearing more about all of this and more.