Alumni Articles

Dr James Howard Bradbury (AM) by Dave McDonald

"Howard and Ruth would reach out to students in the colleges, invite them into their home, provide transport, cook meals, offer support, encourage fun, and generously pour out Christian love. Howard and Ruth loved students and, even more, they loved students to enter into a real relationship with God through Jesus Christ. And this has left its legacy on me....

"Howard and Ruth supported Fiona and me as we began this new work in Canberra [of FOCUS and Crossroads Church]. They would ask us how we were going and pray for us. Howard joined the committee to support the university ministry and, together with Ken Mackay, opened up many doors for ministry on the campus....

"Howard Bradbury was a man of science, esteemed across the globe. He was a man of the people, loved by his wife, children, grandchildren, and 20 great grandchildren. His love for people shaped his application of his science to the needs of others. But deeper still, Howard was a man of faith in God through Jesus Christ. His knowledge of God laid a solid foundation for his scientific passion. The mercy and kindness of his Saviour pushed him to love, respect, and invest in people.

Read the full article here.


Becoming a Missionary Pilot by Noel Carpenter

Through the years of high-school, my close friends and I were plane mad. We couldn’t get enough of them – plastic models, posters, movies, air-shows (anyone remember Skyrace Tasmania?). Then, of course, I wanted to get my pilot’s licence, because that was the logical next step! However, sometime after becoming a Christian near the end of Grade Nine, I remember consciously making the decision that I wouldn’t pursue getting my pilot’s licence. For me at the time, my conviction was that as a Christian, I couldn’t justify spending that amount of money to get a licence that would just have been used for fun (not that I had THAT much money back then!).

Fast-forward about five years and two different occurrences changed my mind about being able to justify spending a large amount of money on a pilot’s licence. The first prompt was while attending a young adults Bible study and hearing a guest speaker - who was working as an engineer in Nepal -mention how he believed that God could use someone’s interests and passions to serve him by putting these things to good use in a cross-cultural context. This comment stayed with me, and not long after, when I was lent a book about the history of the mission aviation organisation called Mission Aviation Fellowship, I had an ‘ahh’ moment. Maybe, through my God-given interest in aviation, there were opportunities for God to build his kingdom using aviation as a tool. But, where was the money going to come from?

I was just starting my first full-time job after finishing a university degree and was shortly getting married and buying a house – money wasn’t going to be easy to come by. However, to make a long story short, God intervened, and while doing some voluntary computer teaching at a small school in Yemen, I was offered a short-term contract to work for the United Nations Development Program as a project manager. Working just five months in this position, being paid tax-free in US dollars and with an exchange-rate of US$0.50 = A$1.00, it quickly became apparent that God was providing the means for me to soon begin flying lessons with the goal of being a pilot serving cross-culturally through mission aviation. Through God’s enabling, I am blessed to have been a mission aviation pilot for more than ten accident-free years – all praise to him!

Noel graduated from the University of Tasmania in 2000 with a B.Sc (Hons.). He is married to Catharine, and they and their three children have lived and worked in Arnhem Land and Papua New Guinea as members of Wycliffe Bible Translators Australia.


Remembering UTAS from Oxford — France Wayman

“How well I remember Pete Woodcock's daily wake-up call over the tannoy at that very first MYC at Camp Clayton :-) How lovely that Pete will be back in Tasmania again. I know that I and many others made the decision to really go on with the Lord during those years at university in Hobart, very much in part due to Pete's work with FOCUS (now University Fellowship of Christians) and the way that he pointed us to the Lord Jesus and encouraged us to love and study God's Word!”

Frances Wayman graduated in 2000 with BA Hons in Philosophy. She now works for the University of Oxford as a Policy Officer.

She is very involved with the university student work at her church (St Ebbe's) which she thinks is also in part of having been so well discipled at FOCUS all those years ago and seeing the value of student work.


Life After Uni - Update from Rachel Johnstone

Since graduating from my Bachelor of Behavioural Science at the end of 2014, a lot has changed. My husband Aaron and I moved to Sydney the January after, primarily for the purpose of him undertaking a theological degree at SMBC.

I managed to secure a full-time job (my first actually - was kind of hoping I might get away with always being a part-timer!), working as the Event Coordinator for Geneva Push (the Australian Church Planting Network). This has been a tough year full of ups and downs in the role – feeling as if I’ve often found my feet only to lose them again! But I am really pleased to be finishing the year feeling very positive about next year, having learnt a lot and motivated to give it my all.

So by the end of January 2015, we had packed up our very first rental property together, road-tripped from Hobart to Sydney, moved our car load of possessions into an apartment at the college campus, I had started full time work and Aaron had started learning ancient Greek…We are now one year down, and two to go up here in Sydney. We have had a wonderful time so far, and love living in Sydney, but are so looking forward to coming home for the holidays, and our desire to return to Tasmania after Aaron’s graduation to work in ministry has not wavered.

I actually plan to complete a Certificate 4 in Pastoral Care with Chaplaincy Australia in 2017 and very much hope to find work as a school chaplain in Hobart the year after. It’s taken me a while to realise this might be a fantastic way for me to use the skills and knowledge I learnt in my degree for gospel work in Hobart. If you are a current student, or graduate still thinking through what to do next, I encourage you to ask yourself how you can use what you’ve achieved at uni to further the Kingdom.

Rachel Johnstone graduated from UTAS with a Bachelor of Behavioural Science in 2014 and is currently working as Event Coordinator for Geneva Push

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Exchange student alumna to be missionary in Kenya

Stephanie is from the United States and came to UTAS on exchange. She was heavily involved with the Uni Fellowship during her time her and has just recently received her first assignment as a missionary to Kenya.

Below is an email she wrote to Crossroads Presbyterian Church, her home church while in Hobart and attached is her missionary prayer letter.

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To the church:

Though it's been over three years since I last saw you all, I still look back on my time in Tassie with great affection. So, as I am taking a new step forward in my journey with Christ, I want to share this part of my life with all of you, since you were part of the reason I've decided to become a missionary. II saw during my time at Crossroads people who took risks and stepped out in faith, trusting God to provide and seeing Him work miracles in response. I saw God at work in the lives of His servants, those who teach or sing or cook or just greet people at the door.

I've always felt so blessed that God led me to Crossroads. And because He led me truly on my first overseas expedition, I know He'll do the same now. I have seen God work, and it is truly amazing. As I continue to rely on Him, I hope to share with you His Kingdom work with the Digo people of Kenya. If you would like to hear more about my mission or just about how I've gotten here, I'd love to share with you. My email is haleypen@yahoo.com. I'd love to hear from everyone!

God's blessings,

Stephanie Klumpenhower

 


Maddy Swart - Christian nurse

Graduating from uni and starting full-time work is a pretty big change. There are great things about both stages of life and there are challenges as well. I really enjoyed my time at uni, learning heaps, spending lots of time with friends and being involved in Uni Fellowship. Starting work as a nurse was a huge change. It was great to be able to use what I’d learnt over the course of my degree, but there was still a considerable amount for me to learn, especially as I was in theatre which requires a very different set of skills to general nursing. I loved the challenge though and really enjoyed all that I was learning, as well as working with a team of people. One of the challenges to working full time is having a lot less disposable time. I found myself with much less time to spend with friends and family and it took more effort to be actively involved in faith and ministry during the week.

Seeking to be a ‘real’ Christian at any stage of life is a challenge. To be someone who follows Christ, in thought, word and deed is always a struggle. We have to fight against our culture and our desire to be accepted by it, the distractions and desires of everyday life and our own sinful nature. This is the case whether studying or working, but I think entering full-time work in a secular workplace made this more obvious to me. At school and even studying at university it was very easy for me to remain surrounded in a ‘Christian bubble’ with close Christian friends, a church community and Uni Fellowship. Upon entering the workforce however, I was suddenly spending most of every day, for most of the week with a large variety of people, nearly all of whom are not Christians. This has challenged me to see how being a Christian makes my life different to the people that I work with, and to not be afraid of being different because of following Jesus. It has made belonging to and being involved in my local church vital.

Being committed to a church where I could hear the gospel, participate in Christian fellowship and be inspired for mission became really important to me when the rest of my life was no longer saturated with ‘Christian-ness’. It made me realise the importance of having Christian community to be refreshed and inspired by, to go back out into my workplace living for Christ. I was part of a church-plant, Vine Christian Church, about 10 months after starting work. This meant getting more involved with church than I had ever done before, and doing life with a small bunch of people passionate about starting a new church to reach more people with the gospel. This brought the many highs and lows of vision setting, maintaining momentum and close community that come with church planting. It has helped me to grow in many ways, and to be more passionate about living out and sharing the gospel with the people I work with.

 

I still find it a challenge to be really open about my faith at work. I still have to work at even mentioning I’m a Christian sometimes, let alone sharing what that means for my life, and there are plenty of times I’ve missed opportunities to bring it up. It does get easier though, the more I do it and I’ve found most of the people are pretty happy to talk about faith and religion, as long as it remains abstract. I’ve had a few really good conversations about some pretty big topics, though there’s always more I wish I could have said. I work with a pretty large team of people, with lots of comings and goings, so getting to know people well can be hard. I’m still working on developing friendships that are deep enough for me to be able to share the gospel meaningfully. With all the different people I work with and look after I see such a huge need for them to hear the gospel, and I know part of that is the task God has given me. So while it is hard to be a Christian in the workplace, and to seek to share the gospel with those around me, there really is no better challenge.

- Maddy Swart graduated with a Bachelor or Nursing in 2011.


Reflections of a medical intern on life after uni

In January this year I started my life ‘in the real world’ - as the life of a university graduate is often called. After 20 straight years in the education system, concluding with 6 years at university, my time had finally come to be released into the world and find my place in working society. This thought was as terrifying as it was liberating!

My name is Tim, I’m a medical graduate from UTAS. I completed my undergraduate training in Hobart and spent my last 2 years at the Rural Clinical School in Burnie. As of the beginning of 2014 I work as a medical intern, or “junior-most-doctor”, at the Royal Hobart Hospital.

I’ve been asked several times to describe my first few months of work. I the analogy of a rollercoaster seems most appropriate to describe my year so far. Along with the ascensions into feelings of empowerment, mastery and triumph that go with a position of medical influence, there has been no shortage of plummeting descents into uncertainty, doubt and powerlessness!

On Day 1, I was placed in a team of two more senior doctors and a variety of other allied health professionals responsible for looking after an ever changing list of patients. As an intern you are the initial port of call for most of matters concerning the patients under the care of your medical team. While not every decision rested solely upon my shoulders, I was often the one responsible for ensuring all the plans came to pass and all correspondence went smoothly. I didn't really have a proper opportunity to orient myself to the dynamic and often chaotic organism which is a hospital. So this was a challenging transition period and there were times where saying that I felt ‘out of my depth’ just wouldn't cut it!

Just on 4 months in now, there continues to be ups and downs. But every now and then I have a moment of reflection, often after a minor triumph, where I think about how far I have come from the beginning and this astonishes me.

One of the personal developments in my postgraduate life so far is my spiritual maturity and understanding of God’s calling. When I first got into medical school, I was thrilled because a future of being in a position to help people in a time of need seemed to align so closely with the practice of serving and glorifying God. What I’ve found over the year is that the experience of serving God in medicine did not come as ‘automatically’ as I first thought it might.

On numerous occasions at the end of the day I’ve been left wondering, ‘How did my works glorify God today?' What I am in the process of discovering is that practicing medicine does not put me in any better position to serve God than would any other vocation. And it certainly doesn’t provide a default means to fulfil God’s calling in my life.

Ultimately my purpose here on earth is to be a servant of God and it isn’t by merely 'doing medicine' that I can achieve this. Not by works but by honouring God and being a faithful servant will I discover the wonderful plans He has in store for me in medicine and in the rest of life.

Tim Andrewartha graduated in 2013 and is now a Medical Intern at the Royal Hobart Hospital

 

 


Nathan Tivendale: On Relocating to America

I have lived in Tasmania since I was born. But in February this year my family and I moved from Hobart to Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA. I had secured a job as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Horticultural Science department of the University of Minnesota. After being here for seven months, it almost feels like home. In those seven months, the one thing that has turned out just how I thought it would, if not better, is my work. My bosses have been fantastic. They are not merely interested in using me to generate data, but they are really taking the time to develop me as an academic. Everything else, however, has been a challenge. By nature, I tend to worry; I over-analyse things; I imagine every possible outcome and focus all my mental energy on the worst case scenario. So all of the hurdles we had to overcome were a significant source of stress for me. First there was our visas. I left our applications until the last minute, which caused me to worry that we wouldn’t get them in time. Then there was acquiring a car and figuring out the messy world of car insurance in the US. Then there was the fact that, due to our visa type, we were getting taxed much more than I had anticipated. So, I worried about our finances. Actually, finances have been my most significant worry since we got here. We’ve never had much money, but relocating to America has shown me that I found security in support from the government and knowing our families were close by, just in case things went horribly wrong. Now we’re on a different continent, we don’t have that luxury; it’s just us and God. 

Through all of this, I have finally taken to heart the words our Lord spoke so many years ago: ‘Who of you, by worrying, can add a single day to his life?’. All my thinking, all my analysing, all of the brain power I devoted to these things, brought me nothing but stress and mental anguish. Through every single one of these situations, God has been reminding me that he is in control, and I am not. I cannot control the world by thinking about it, I cannot change situations by endlessly thinking about them. God has taught me, through my circumstances, to stop trying. I have slowly learnt to trust God’s omnipotence and accept from his hand whatever he chooses to give me; I now believe, much more deeply than I ever have before, that God is working out all things for the good of those who love him, including me.

Through our relocation to the USA, all the things that I have previously used to find security, whether it be money, friendship networks, family, even Church (which are all good in and of themselves) have been taken away; I have been, and continue to be, stretched, molded and shaped into the person God wants me to be. God has used my circumstances to teach me to find my security in Christ alone. I praise God for all the troubles we have faced!


Amy Isham: being a Christian on campus changed everything

 

I became a Christian at 19, having dropped out of metric to ‘experience life’ for a few years after the death of my brother tore a hole in my family and humanistic worldview.  After I realised that Christ was the true way that I could know the powerful God who loved me and gave himself for me, I decided I needed to train my brain to serve him better in evangelism and general life.  I also thought university would be an exciting place to share Christ.

As I was keen to join in anything Christian, I went along to the Australian Fellowship of Christians (AFES) group on Hobart Campus, called Fellowship of Christian Students at the time.  I went to the lunchtime meetings, bible study groups, Mid Year Conference (MYC) and in later years the committee which included training meetings and sessions at Sam Green’s house. It was a deeply important for me. Philosophy and English tutorials were places to discuss and explore deeper things with people and every week through church, Sam’s preaching and other things I was involved in, I felt more and equipped to share my faith, both in my essays, contact with people at Uni and with my non-Christian family.  I think Sam was the first preacher to help me truly understand idolatry and other ‘old testament sins’ as contemporary issues and to think critically and theologically about what my lecturers were teaching me. 

 

MYC was a highlight of my year, a chance to take in a large amount of scriptural knowledge through seminar groups, sort through that information through the talks and reflection groups and through discussion while walking along the beach or running early in the morning towards Ulverstone. National Training Event (NTE) gave me a good grounding in preparing and writing talks and bible studies from the old and new testaments,and systematic overviews of topics. It was also exciting to meet Christian students from around Australia.

 

In my final year at University, my husband, Luke Isham and I were ‘courting’ as we enjoyed Graeme Goldsworthy’s Biblical Theology sermons at MYC.  Now, years later, Luke works with Mikey Lynch at University Fellowship of Christians and again I get to see the important foundations AFES lays in the lives of Christians at university.

 

Now as mum of two little ones, supporting Luke in his full-time work and working part-time for Prison Fellowship Australia, I don’t have that precious time to spend those wonderful hours in the scriptures daily. However, I continue to give thanks to God for the foundation I received in scripture, in discerning false teaching, in understanding difficult doctrine and theology, and the intentional living - of ‘taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ’ and ‘making the most of every opportunity’ in prayer, worship and sharing the good news about Jesus – with my children, in my work and in my relationships with my (still) non-Christian family.

If you have seen the University Fellowship of Christians signs and wondered what they are about, or if you went once and felt a little overwhelmed, take the long view.  The word of God is worth more than gold and God’s work in sanctifying you is so much more joyful and easy in fellowship with other Christians who take holiness seriously.  Why not visit a Lunchtime meeting or Fellowship group during the week, or check out a Citywide at the Grand Chancellor? Come to MYC for a really transformative time to know God’s word and other Christians. A moment of awkwardness could reap a lifetime of benefit to you as you grow in your faith, to others as your unique gifts bless them and to the wider world as you become equipped to share God’s word confidently at work, at home and who knows where else?


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