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.