Sunday, 29 June 2008

Off Tomorrow

Due to a late change of plans I'm heading of to Camp A of WEC's Highschooler Camps tomorrow instead of Camp B next week.

I really feel being a leader on these camps is all about doing what God needs you to do, when he needs you to do it... so when the camp director rang me up the other day and asked if I could swap camps to help him with the organisation of it all I said yes without too much consideration.

So I may still get the chance to visit all my old friends on Camp B - but for now I'm focused on being team Italy for the coming week.

See ya in a couple of days...


Driving home from church tonight, I was just involved in a high-speed police chase... and almost the end of it as well.

In a 90k zone on the Ipswich Motorway I noticed a set of headlights coming up very fast behind me. A pretty well brand new Lexus started braking just as it passed me, because up ahead were two utes sitting side by side blocking it's way (must have been doing at least 140 when it started to brake). The Lexus locked up it's brakes and came so close to sliding into the back of one of the utes, I was bracing my self for that impact and slowing down to try and evade the spinning cars I knew were about to start in front of me.

I don't know how the Lexus pulled up but it did, just as I noticed a Police motorbike flying up behind me with his lights and sirens going... instead of the utes blocking and slowing the guy's path one moved out of the way and the Lexus shot off again with the bike in pursuit...

I was left quite startled and stressed by that one! It was very close to being an accident... and I hope the policeman was able to stop the car without any more drama.

Just need to stop the heart beating like a bass drum now... even 20 minutes after the experience

Watoto Project Gulu

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Click the poster to view the Watoto Gulu website

Friday, 27 June 2008

African Lullaby

African Lullaby
Watoto Childrens Choir

Who will sing my lullaby?
Who will hold me when I cry?
When I awake and no one's there?
Who will sing my lullaby?

One straw matt
Two sisters, one brother
Our Father is gone
Now we cry for our Mother
Who will protect
And watch through the night
Who will be there
To blow out the light

Who will sing my lullaby?
Who will hold me when I cry?
When I awake and no one's there?
Who will sing my lullaby?

Will you sing me my lullaby?
Will you hold me when I cry?
When I awake will you be there?
Will you sing my lullaby?

watoto 071WOW! Haunting words. Especially when sung solo by a 10 year old little girl who's lost both her parents because of HIV, then backed up by more children from the same fate.

I was just listening to the CD I bought the other night, and this song has reduced me to tears, just hearing the choir sing that song sends such passion to my heart for the children of Uganda and the rest of Africa.

I feel so lazy here in Australia, yet so unworthy to go work in Africa.

I pray God heals me and moves me to his will!

Thursday, 26 June 2008

How much can 1 man do?

A lot if that man is also the Son of God...

My mate Geoff posted a blog over on Reflections Of A Snook, here's just part of it.

The Apostle John writes these closing words: [of the Gospel of John]
"Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written." (21:25)

If you think about that verse for a few seconds, it'll blow you away so much I wouldn't even have to write anything. Have a read from a different translation: "Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the world could not contain the books that would be written."

We've got plenty of amazing historical docs about what Jesus did. But John says he did so MANY things that if they were all written down…

Granted, the world is 'bigger' now. But even in the known world for John, that's a fair chunk of the Middle East and Asia.

That's a lot of books.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Go Speed Racer Go!!!!

Just got home from seeing Speed Racer. As a kid the one cartoon I spent hours pretending to be a part of was Speed Racer. I had a Matchbox car that looked a little like the Mach 5 and that's all I needed, that toy traveled over beds, under them, through curtains and up and down couches as Speed and the Mach 5 filled all my childhood desires for speed and adventure.

So I guess you could say I was looking forward to the big screen adaptation. I gotta say they did a great job making the movie like the original cartoon series. The CGI world created is unlike anything I've seen at the cinemas before. The thing that amazed me most was how the real life actors made themselves look so much like the original cartoon characters, that side of it was what made the whole thing so enjoyable.

I don't know how many people will think Speed Racer was fantastic, but I did! I've read somewhere that this movie's for kids or old school fans of the show so I guess I fall into the later.

So much goes on (you can tell it's made by the makers of the Matrix), and sometimes it's like a sensory overload. In some ways I think the movie is made with car racing fans in mind because I think only those use to watching cars dash around a track, and different colours of teams merge together on TV or the track will be able to follow certain scenes in the movie. The car race scenes are very intense, and I loved it!

Cars have been a huge part of my life, mostly from the influence of my father, but some parts of this movie really sum up my passion.

The Racer family is passionate about their cars, it's their total lives... in the same way it's part of mine. Driving a car isn't just driving a car to me, it's an experience tied really closely to who I am. Rex tells Speed at the start of the movie to stop steering and start driving, to listen to what the car is telling him and that the Mach 5 isn't just a machine, it's something that can talk to him. Driving is a bit like that for me - maybe it's why I don't mind travelling so far to work and church - and though my Lancer is just a machine, it's a highly complex one, with so many moving parts which suddenly become an extension of my body when I put my hands on the wheel.

I learnt how to steer a car when I was 16, but sometime later I started 'driving', sometimes it does just feel like the car is listening as I drive it.

Speed Racer sure has ignited many passions with in me, the movie has captured many of the feelings I have for cars, I guess that's why I liked it so much!

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Socially Hopeless

Truly I think I am... these days I find it so hard to fit into a group of people in a social setting. I can't just hang with one group, I find it infuriating that people can form little groups and totally ignore other little groups around them. It seems each little huddle is oblivious to each other.

But I am not...

I flit between groups, unable to join totally into conversations or activities cause I'm always aware there are either people missing out, or doing other things.

It means I always feel like I'm not exactly fitting in, I probably appear nice, and friendly to everyone there, but it still leaves me with a hollow and unfulfilled experience of community.

In most ways I think the problem is my own, I just can't seem to find a place to throw myself into - I'm the one left quiet not knowing what to say or do...

Is there social training available somewhere? I don't think I've only been like this, only the last few years... so I don't know what's gone wrong...

Div 4

Stepped it up and played in City North's Division 4 soccer team yesterday.

-We won.. 1-0 scoring in the last 30 seconds of the game.
-I sprained my left ankle (the good one) minutes before the game started, but played anyway
-I played so badly, just didn't read the ball or the play at all and could hardly run
-Good performance by a bunch of blokes who work well as a team... I just didn't feel much a part of it.

I'm very sore, with a blue swollen ankle today....

Thursday, 19 June 2008

I Am Not Forgotten

I am not forgotten
I am not forgotten
I am not forgotten
God knows my name

I am not forgotten
I am not forgotten
I am not forgotten
God knows my name, he knows my name

Light over darkness
Strength over weakness
Joy over sadness
He knows my name

Father to the fatherless
Friend to the friendless
Hope for the hopeless
He knows my name

These are the words to one of the Watoto songs last night. I don't know about you, but I always feel really special when someone I've only met once or twice remembers my name. It's like they really cared enough about you to tuck that little piece of knowledge away in their mind so if they ever saw you again they'd know you name.

Now I'm terrible with names, I just can't seem to remember them, but I feel so ashamed of that that I usually stumble my way through the next conversation, covering I've forgotten. It seems such an insult to forget God's name.

That's the simple beauty of this song... God knows your name - out of all the people in the world he still knows YOUR name! You are not forgotten.

Then put it in the context of the children singing the song... orphans, helpless kids who have lost everything and in so many ways were forgotten by the world around them. But God didn't forget them, through Watoto he's reminded them that they are not forgotten and he cares for and loves them so much.

These children recognise that and in turn want to share it with us here in Australia. We live in affluence, with everything we could ever need and so much more - yet we still feel forgotten.

It took an orphan from Uganda to remind me of that simple truth. How can we look at Africans as backwards and people behind the times... we've gotten ahead of the times I think, and it's only through Jesus we can step out of it, stop, and wait on him. Just like God lifts Ugandans up to him.

We're so selfish in our Aussie lives (well I am), yet I'm (we're) not forgotten either.

God is Good

Jimmy - A Watoto Gem!

watoto 066Let me introduce lil Jimmy to you - he was the first to tell his story the other night at the Watoto concert and it sure is an amazing one!

Jimmy's father died before he was born, and his mother passed away only weeks after he was born. Jimmy was then passed between family members, none of which could afford to look after their own children, let alone him. His needs were never met, he was always hungry and never had the medical attention he needed.

When he was only young Jimmy contracted measles, without proper medical treatment he became very sick. His carerwatoto 025s didn't know what to do, and couldn't pay for a doctor. Jimmy's legs became deformed and he was hardly able to walk, at one medical clinic he went to he was also tested for HIV and his result was positive. With both his disabled legs, sickness from the measles and positive result for HIV he was told he would not live to grow up.

watoto 026Then one day someone from Watoto came to Jimmy's village, they offered to care for him and he went to live in one of Watoto's Children's Villages. In the village he moved into a house (built by people from all over the world) with 7 other children, and a mother - a single lady (possibly widow), who would care for Jimmy the rest of his life.

He was taken to a proper clinic, with trained doctors - they treated him and his sickness went away... Jimmy found God - was introduced to Jesus by his mother and other people at Watoto.

watoto 027Jimmy's legs are now perfectly healed - a marvel of modern medicine, or a miracle from God he didn't tell us, either way God used Watoto to heal that little man. They also tested him again for HIV, the result negative! It possibly was an incorrect initial diagnosis, but I'm not going to put God in a box, and totally believe Jesus touched that little boy.

watoto 029Jimmy's story is remarkable, but not unlike many of the other 1700 children Watoto has rescued. The people of the Kampala Pentecostal Church who founded Watoto are truly saving lives and follow God's command to care for the orphan and the widow.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James 1:27 NIV

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Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Watoto Childrens Choir - Uganda

The Watoto Children's Choir from Uganda performed at Whitehill last night. I'm a huge fan of the choir, and of the whole Watoto ministry

[Previous Blog Posts on the Choir and Watoto...
Watoto Childrens Choir (May 07)
International Outlook, Garry Skinner and Watoto]

As I said back in that International Outlook post, I've been working for Watoto since then, doing their computer work. I must admit I haven't done too much, just built a couple of laptops to send to Uganda and made sure the choir laptop will connect to the Internet all around Australia. But I hope the little I do does make a difference.

This year's choir was exceptional - the show was brilliant - but as usual it was the stories that touched me so much, and their overflowing joy and happiness. I think I'll spread this over a few posts as there were many stories from the night, so expect a few more Watoto and African flavoured posts as I work through the experiences of last night and the emotions and thoughts it produced.

Anyhow I took a lot of photos last night - see on my flickr account.

But I do just have to put some here below........ enjoy

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Sunday, 15 June 2008

Certain Location...

WEC Camps are coming up soon and we had the training night for leaders last night. It started off with a BBQ at WEC HQ in Clayfield.

It's been so long since I've been to that amazing old Queenslander at Clayfield... such a fine old house and even though the BBQ was down around the side I had to sneak away and just go have a look inside the main rooms of the house.

They're doing renovations to the place at the moment so inside was a bit of a mess but I just stood inside that great old lounge/theatre and memories from the past swept back. WEC Camp reunions, Missionary Cafes and Rally nights just filled my mind. Many Saturday nights of my late teens were spent in that room, listening to young people about to go on a mission trip, hearing tales of long years of service from WEC missionary or just joining with old friends from camp and having big long sing-a-longs.

It was a bit sad realising this wasn't happening any more (later that night I heard the plan is to start it again which is really exciting), but it also just felt like such a bit of my life long gone.

I love WEC House, there's a special part of me I've left there... and a certain feeling I get whenever I go back. I wandered from the lounge room back towards the front door and looked in on the bedroom I stayed in during my training for The Gambia... the room is now an office which took me by surprise as I remember it with a big old bed and huge chest-of-draws.

Is there a certain location that for you brings back old memories? Or maybe just leaves you with a quiet smile on your face - kind of like the one I had when I walked back outside and back to the BBQ feeling totally refreshed just by taking a walk in a special place...

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Breaking the Drought

I've said very little about the AFL this year. It's quite obvious that the Bombers aren't having a great year, in fact it's probably one of the leanest years for a while.

However, I'm content in writing this year and possibly next year off as rebuilding - with Hird and Sheeds moving on and the new coach Knights bringing in so many young fellas it's legitimate to see a time of poorer play as the new team gels together, and get those all important game experiences under their belts.

But it is hard to sit through 8 straight losses, so for the Dons to get up against the West Coast Eagles last night was awesome.

Honestly there wasn't much 'great' footy going on and it was two teams scrapping it out, but I do think the Bombers played much better than the Wee-girls...

Matty Lloyd had a great game, only one goal, but his presence was felt and he lifted his team to play their best. His mark in the four quarter was just special! Have a look at those photos! What a grab!

Am flying down to Melbourne in July to watch Essendon play Brisbane, here's hoping we'll see another victory!

Friday, 13 June 2008

Good Photography

Oh did I mention the other day that I think this is one of the best photos I've ever taken?

Took a couple of runs to get the timing right, and even then I'm stoked at how clear it came out!


Also made this my DPS assignment for this week - topic just happens to be 'sharpness' and I think with the effort taken to get the shot and the sharpness of the actual dragster it fits well.

Just to describe the task at hand... this car travels from 0 to over 500 kmph in under 5 seconds. That's 0-100 in just over a second! This particular run was a 4.83second quater mile pass!!! Amazing machine.

I was down on the side of the track, using my 75-300mm lens trying to get a more straight on shot for the sharpness. The noise, and reaction you get when these things take off make it real hard to keep your composure to shoot. Actually I was virtually blown over as it went past me!


Sometimes I wonder if I really did 4 years of University to spend my days swapping people's printer toners...

Cause some days that's really all I feel I do. Surely people can swap their own toner cartidges, and I know my time is worth more elsewhere.

Is it a procedure problem, management problem, or is God just trying to teach me humility?

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Confession is healing

I did something tonight I haven't done in a long time.

Openly confessed to people I care about that I haven't been doing a lot right lately.

Don't wanna go into it too much here, and those who got the letter know what I am fully on about - but I've come to realise that when you've done something you don't feel right about, confession is the only way to forgiveness, and that is the only way to healing.

So I also urge you, if there's something weighing heavy on your heart, the chances are God is pushing you to confess, so that he (and others) might forgive.

Just like he did to me!


WinterNats round up

It was a flipping fantastic weekend!

Just the racing alone made these Winter Nationals a thing to remember. It was the fastest and closest racing I've ever seen. The Top Doorslammers field had a qualifying time of 6.09 seconds, with 4 cars qualifying with sub 6sec runs! Victor Bray with a 6.11 didn't even qualify for the finals!!!!

Plus we saw Chris Judd in his Studebaker do a 5.90 pass making his Studie the world's fastest doorslammer!

The eliminations and finals were a little less fast, but still dramatic with cars loosing control and swinging into the other lanes... engines blowing and Ben Bray eventually won the final against Brett Stevens when both cars had problems but Ben managed to make it to the line first.

winternats02The Top Fuel was even more exciting, with a heap of 4 second passes... Four seconds to travel a quarter of a mile, can you believe it! The fastest qualifier was Steve Reed with a 4.56 (Australian Record) at 320mph (514.98kph!!!!!!!!!!!!). The passes were so fast and straight it was amazing to be standing on the track with the teams as each car flew down the line!

winternats30Pro Stock was another record breaking field, with some of the fastest qualifying times in history.

I loved being out on the track really amongst it all. That's what really made the whole event special - cause I also got to see how much a part of the team Dad and I have become.

We stand on the track - right at the start line with the guys who do the safety stuff. When some of the cars broke down one of the guys called out "You might be the chaplain but you can still come help push" so I spent the rest of the time actually helping with the maintenance of the track - which felt good cause sometimes I just wonder if I'm in the way.

winternats19Dad did the opening prayer during the official ceremony, just before the national anthem - it was excellent - the crowd all stood in silence and gave a big cheer at the end. It's great that we have the opportunity to pray in Jesus name right in the middle of such a huge event.

I've included a heap of photos throughout... here are some more, but there are even more on my flickr account (see the sidebar...)




Saturday, 7 June 2008

WinterNationals - Chaplaincy

This weekend is the Winter Nationals Competition at Willowbank Raceway. Dad and I will be out there all weekend working as the chaplains for the event.

The local Ipswich newspaper ran a story on Dad a few weeks ago, due to some scanning issues I'll post the article just as text and throw up the picture of Dad to go along with it.

It's good to serve in a place you really enjoy working :-)

Chaplain offers a helping hand

Charlie Sandham's behind-the-scenes work at motorsport meets plays a crucial role in the lives of competitors, crews and officials across South-East Queensland. Shannon perry spoke to the volunteer motorsport chaplain about life in the fast lane.
Charlie Sandham never misses a local major motorsport meet.

From drag racing at Wil­lowbank Raceway to the V8 Supercar Championship rounds and the Gold Coast Indy, Mr Sandham is always in the thick of the action.

It comes with his job as a motorsport chaplain.'

A love of cars and a chance opportunity four years ago sees Mr Sandham rubbing shoulders with motorsport royalty while offering a car­ing presence for competi­tors, crews and officials.

Mr Sandham, who juggles the volunteer work with a career as a planner for Tas­man
Aviation Enterprises, is preparing for the Winternationals in June and Indy in October. "There are three major parts to my role as chaplain. Firstly you have to be the God person, someone who people can come to for a chat," Mr Sandham said.

"Secondly, you're a carer for people who may want to talk about personal or fam­ily issues.

"Finally, and perhaps the most hardest part, is the role I play in the case of a fatality or major accident. I'm there to look after and support people including the family and crew."

Mr Sandham said the motorsport community was still reeling after the deaths of V8 Supercar driver Ashley Cooper, who died in a racing incident earlier this year, and Queensland drag racer Kenneth Smith, who died when his rail dragster crashed at Willow­bank Raceway in 2007.

"The motorsport com­munity is very tight knit, and a fatality hits home hard. When Peter Brock died the effects were felt Australia wide," he said.

"Every chaplain had peo­ple who were affected and needed support."

Despite the sometimes dif­ficult circumstances, Mr Sandham· said being a motorsport chaplain was a rewarding way to combine his love of cars with a passion for helping others.

"These events would be impossible to run without the volunteers," he said.

"It's a big responsibility, but it's great to be a part of."

It was good to get some coverage and recognition for the work that goes on out at Willowbank. Pray for us as we minister to this community this weekend.
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