There is no doubt that Summer 2019 was one of the most challenging ministry seasons for SU due to the bush fires. Yet there is so much to celebrate as SUFM, SUmmerife, SUmmerkids, and Holiday Bible Clubs were bursting with life, as thousands of passionate, Gospel-centred SU volunteers focused on sharing the love of Jesus, in all circumstances.
The testimonies have been pouring in, about how God turned up in surprising ways and how people’s lives were changed for good. We asked Emmanuel Chua to share his story:
What SUFM team did you serve with:
Conjola Entrance SUFM. This was my first-time volunteering at an SUFM!
What do you do with your time during the week:
I just finished my first year studying Physiotherapy at university.
Where do you go to Church:
Chinese Australian Baptist West Ryde.
How did you become a Christian:
I migrated to Australia when I was three. I’ve actually been raised in Church. As I look back, God’s really worked in small and large experiences. I wouldn’t say that it was just one major experience, but rather an accumulation of Gods work in my life that has allowed me to understand the goodness of Christ which has helped me understand the biggest problem which is sin.
Who has God used, to build you up in your faith:
There’s a lot! My close friends from High School and I are all Christians. We all share weekly prayer points. Definitely Dustin as well, who goes to my church (and used to go to Lake Conjola SUFM!). And Matt, my AFES staff worker at university. God has worked through them all in my life, in different ways. Justin led me while I was in youth, and helped me build a foundation of faith.
My close High School friends and I would pray for each other, read the Bible and share our reflections together, rebuking each other where necessary. And Matt really helped me to build a solid foundation on God’s Word by encouraging me to dwell in scripture and solid theological doctrine.
What motivated you to serve at an SUFM this year:
Around half the team are from my church, plus two of my older sisters were already serving!
What expectations did you have of SUFM:
I had heard setup was tiring, but visitation and all the activities were fun. They told me to expect many conversations with people from different backgrounds, and that there would also be great opportunities to present the Gospel and share Christ especially with the teen bracket. They said I’d get on well with them because they’re only about three years younger than me, and that it would be empowering to be able to engage with them.
Were there any conversations that stick out in your memory:
Yes! Chris (another SUFM volunteer) and I bumped into two Moore College graduates on one of our visitation routes., who worked as missionaries overseas. They invited us over to have some coffee and biscuits. We were really encouraged by that meeting because we just talked about why we each did mission, as well as more broadly about Christianity in Australia today. They gave me wisdom, especially about whether to go into full-time ministry or full-time university, to further the Kingdom. They encouraged us after by saying, “May the Lord be with you as you proclaim the Gospel today”. They’re in contact with us still!
What was it like, serving on SUFM with others:
I got particularly closer to the people who were part of the advanced team, as well as the rest of the team members. One person goes to my church, another one goes to my High School but they’re a couple of years older. One conversation we had was about how we could be help build up our church by facilitating a culture that is better at having fruitful conversations and being more prayerful. I feel we all grew to appreciate one another, recognising how we all had different abilities and gifts. That, even though we were a small team, we were able to work together.
I’m pretty deadset on going again on mission in 2020! From what I’ve heard, Conjola is a really great mission that’s really embedded in the local community.
What encouragement would you give to someone thinking about volunteering over Summer:
Continue to keep the Gospel at the heart and step out of your comfort zone to volunteer on an SUFM team, and whilst you’re there as well. Be exposed to the larger world, where the Gospel may not be present. Consider the Great Commission from Jesus. A lot of people may not have heard the Gospel before, and/or they may have a misconception of who Jesus is. Serving at SUFM was really worth it for me.
Right now, I’m deciding whether to transfer to medicine. If I do remain studying where I am, I’ll be head of AFES. But I’m pretty deadset on moving into full-time, probably mission work or AFES campus work.
Praise God for Emmanuel! His servant heart and fervour for God’s Kingdom is an encouragement and inspiration to us all. Pray for Emmanuel as he makes decisions about his future, that God would bless his intention to make God-honouring decisions!
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