We recently had the pleasure of interviewing Viana, a member of the OneLove committee. In this interview Viana shares how she became a Christian upon her migration to Australia, how knowing Jesus has impacted her work at MS Australia, and the way she confronts some of the challenges facing Christian millennials today.
1. How did you become a Christian?
from the day i was born my mum and dad would wake up or stay up to pray for my sister and i to know christ personally.
The question of 'how' has always been an interesting one, very often I am tempted to conclude that one single catalyst led to my conversion. However, as I contemplated on the major factors that played and contributed toward me becoming a Christian, I resolved to two themes that echoed throughout my journey; through the faithful prayers of many and by the word of God penetrating my heart.
The faithful prayers were made by my parents. From the day I was born, my mum and dad would wake up or stay up to pray for my sister and I to know Christ personally, because it was only by God’s grace and power that my heart could change. This was coupled by my family’s migration from Hong Kong to Australia. At the time, I did not understand why we moved or why I had to learn a new language and culture. However, my parents later told me that it was because they wanted my sister and I to escape from the self-success work mentality that characterised Hong Kong, toward an environment that would cultivate a better growth in knowing God as Lord and Saviour.
This migration for my sister and I came at a cost to my parents. They had to give up their comfortable well-paid jobs, their proximity to family, and had to learn a new language. But as I reflected on their sacrifice, I realised that their sacrifice was motivated by a love that originates from God who sacrificed his own son Jesus so that we can live a new life in him.
"I was confronted by the challenge to either be '100% in with christ or 100% out', there was no '50% christian' option."
The constant prayers and sacrifice of my parents came to fruition when at one youth camp, I was confronted by the challenge to either be "100% IN with Christ or 100% OUT", there was no "50% Christian" option. Thankfully, Romans 8 spoke to my soul, where the inseparable love of God, salvation through Christ and his demand for Lordship over my life finally dawned on me. By the grace of God, the triangulation of these factors led to my commitment to a life lived for Christ, an identity defined by Christ and a righteousness given by Christ. I am very thankful to God for his grace upon me through using my parents to show me his love.
2. What do you think are some of the challenges facing younger Christian women in Australia - in particular millennials?
with mirrors which we call instagram, facebook, pinterest and snapchat, christian women are constantly bombarded with the desire to shape oneself towards the 'perfection' of flawless beauty, exciting life experiences and fulfilling social relationships.
In a world captivated by the allures of instant gratification, reflections from mass media mirrors and the pursuit of personal success, Christian women are faced with voices left, right and centre that distract us from the true voice of God.
The temptations of instant gratification calls women to be near sighted in their decisions, giving into the lie that there is no consequences to actions and that self control is not worth it. Christian women today are faced everyday with the decision to not give in to the fleeting pleasures of sin and instead be refreshed daily with the eyes which see eternity and the steadfast truths of God that promise us everlasting joy and satisfaction in him. This refocus on God helps us to step in faith to fight against sin, steward well our time and money and grow in our hope for his return.
we get distracted with comparisons on mass media that calls us to work tirelessly for approval, love and identity, the very thing things we've already received by god!
With mirrors which we call Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Snapchat, Christian women are constantly bombarded with the desire to shape oneself towards the ‘perfection’ of flawless beauty, exciting life experiences and fulfilling social relationships. This endless strive to manufacture one’s identity wars with the identity that has already been given by God, and hence we are forced daily to choose which metaphorical ‘mirror’ to look at for our identity. It is tempting to look at the identity that God has given us; daughters and heirs loved with his unfailing love, cleansed of sins by his precious blood and fully accepted and approved in the sight of God, and forget this as soon as we get distracted with comparisons on mass media that call us to work tirelessly for approval, love and identity, the very things we’ve already received by God! Hence, Christian women have a challenge every day, to choose between reminding ourselves daily of the unshakable identity we have in Christ, or to give in and strive to achieve an unattainable ‘perfection’ created by the world.
‘Listen and do what your heart says!’ has been the chorus of our generation, calling for women in the world to stay ‘true’ to their feelings and impulses as a guide to how to live their lives. This phrase often clashes with the calling for Christian women to listen and follow what God says. How will we as Christian women respond when the world calls us to do what is best for us, whether that be sacrificing relationships to climb the ladder of success, or to place the needs ourselves above the needs of others? We need to stand firm against these challenges with the belt of God’s truth around our waist, reminding us of the Godly calling to love one another with his love, lay down our lives for others and listen to his voice of true guidance.
'listen and do what your heart says!' has been the chorus of our generation...this phrase often clashes with the calling for christian women to listen and follow what god says.
3. How did your faith in Jesus impact your work at MS Australia last year?
In my time working for MS Australia as a physiotherapy assistant, my knowledge of eternity and ultimate salvation impacted my view of disability, hope and true healing. Due to the current poor prognosis and devastating life-long symptoms faced by many people who suffer from multiple sclerosis (MS), I was constantly challenged with the futility of life and sufferings of the world.
As a Christian, facing multiple stories of pain and death poses as a refreshing yet frightening reminder that there is an urgency to preach the good news of Jesus to all, but it also serves as a hopeful reminder that there is a future without pain or suffering, and an eternal healing that is offered through the cleansing by Jesus Christ’s blood. This shapes my work ethic in serving faithfully in work, for the approval of God rather than man, not to work with minimal effort but to sincerely love those I help with all that I can. It also shapes my prayers for each of my clients, that they would not only be healed physically, but to receive ultimate spiritual healing from God.
4. You also volunteer as a committee member for OneLove conference. What does the work involve and why do you think women should consider attending conferences like OneLove?
My time as a committee member has been nothing but amazing! There is something wonderful about turning up every month or two to see a group of women so zealous for the Lord, fervent in prayer and devoted in delighting in his word. Our work consists of prayer for the women and their churches, careful brainstorming of how to encourage and build up women at OneLove and organising every means to help achieve that goal.
As Christian women, we are often caught up in the busyness of life, whether that be in busy studying, or working, balancing relationships or taking care of families. In the midst of many distractions, it is easy to feel alone the fight to live boldly as a Christian and to be a witness in front of unbelievers. However, OneLove serves to be the refreshing reminder that we all need, a unity as sisters in Christ spurring each other on through worship in singing, listening and praying. It also serves as a friendly and inviting platform to invite our unbelieving friends and family to hear God’s word being preached! There’s no doubt about it that conferences like OneLove are worth it, good for your soul and the souls of others!
We had the pleasure of interviewing previous OneLove delegate Amy, who along with her husband, planted a new church called Chapel Hill in Rozelle. In this interview, she shares how God's Word has impacted her life as a missionary kid, theological student, church planter, and mum-to-be!
1. Hi Amy! Please share with us where you're from and how you became a Christian?
God's hand has guided, comforted, dragged and encouraged me all along this journey of life.
Hi! I was born in Sydney but grew up in Kiev, Ukraine in a missionary family. We moved back to Sydney when I was 18 so Sydney is definitely home now (after some time of adjustment).
I would say that I initially became a Christian when I was about 9 years old through the testimony of my parents and having always known Jesus' love for me. I understood that I need Him for myself, not just because it's what my parents believe. But God's refining and revealing work has (and always will be) consistent in my life.
Moving back to Australia was a really formative time in me embracing my faith for myself away from the familiarity of church and friends. I'm so thankful that God doesn't let go of me even in my times of struggle. I can look back on all of my life and clearly see His guiding and sustaining hand through it all. God's hand has guided, comforted, dragged and encouraged me all along this journey of life.
2. When you moved to Australia you spent some time studying at Sydney Missionary Bible College (SMBC). How did God work in your life during your studies?
I had come from a very conservative church in Ukraine so what I believed about God was challenged here in Australia. My desire to know God's Word more deeply for myself motivated me to study at Sydney Missionary Bible College. I didn't have any big plans of where my training would lead me afterwards, but I just knew I wanted more of God.
Studying at theological college helped to confirm my knowledge of God in His Word and helped me to think through things that I may have grown up knowing, but not really questioning. I remember being so awestruck when I realised that all of the Old Testament was pointing to the need for Jesus. I hadn't seen that before!
During my time at SMBC, God used the Bible teaching and my relationships with other students to build up my personal confidence in Him. I sorely miss discussing lecture content with friends over lunch or late into the night .
3. Along with your husband, you started a church plant called Chapel Hill in Rozelle. What have been some of the highlights and challenges of starting a new church?
i've really enjoyed journeying with girls who like me, have come from christian families, but are now actually being challenged by god's word and seeking to put him first.
Straight out of college I was confident and on fire! Mikey and I were married a year after college, and straight away started church planting what is now Chapel Hill. In that first year I lost a lot of the confidence God had taught and built up in me. This was because I feared and listened to humans more than I listened to God's promises. It was a challenging time as I was trying to be a super wife and person in ministry but I was just floundering! The expectations I put on myself along with these fears overtook me.
Again, I'm so thankful that God's hand was leading me through all this and now as Mikey and I look back on our 3 years of church planting, we can so clearly see God's work in it all. He has deepened our love for Him and each other each year, and as we look back on the challenges of the past, we can see how much He grew us through them.
Real highlights of church planting have been seeing those who have been Christians for awhile getting into the 'meat' of God's Word, and watching them grow in Him. I've really enjoyed journeying with girls who like me, have come from Christian families, but are now actually being challenged by God's Word and seeking to put Him first.
4. What is your favourite Bible verse and why?
I don't particularly have a single favourite Bible verse, but over the past year Psalm 73:28 has been a huge source of comfort and encouragement. I've cried over it, clung to it and fallen asleep reminding myself of the refuge the Lord is:
"But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deed."
5. How does the promise of eternity with God impact your ministry?
instead of worrying about what i should do in my own strength, the promise of eternity takes me to a place of surrender and reliance on god.
Half the time I'm scared out of my mind with being a pastor's wife and a soon to be mum (our first bub is due mid June)! I get so caught up in what I should do that I lose sight of the whole purpose of life. Instead of worrying about what I should do in my own strength, the promise of eternity takes me to a place of surrender and reliance on God - which really is where we should all be all the time anyway! It calms me down to know that all parts of my life - family and ministry - are all about Jesus and I want my life to reflect that. I'm so excited for the day where i'll be standing before my Lord!
To celebrate Mothers Day (Sunday 14 May) and the role that older women have played in our lives, we're hosting a giveaway where you can WIN some hand crafted goodies for mum!
We've chosen some beautiful products, created by Christian women who are using their companies to spread the love of Jesus locally and across the globe.
HOW TO ENTER:
1. Follow @onelovekcc on Instagram or Like the OneLove Facebook page,
2. Tag two friends in the competition post (graphic above),
3. Enter the draw to win!
*Terms & Conditions:
Competition is open for Australian residents only. 1 prize for 1 winner across Facebook and Instagram. Prize cannot be redeemable for cash. KCC reserves the right to cancel this promotion at any time. The competition runs from Friday 5 May and ends at midnight Friday 19 May. Winner will be announced on Tuesday 23 May.
We had the pleasure of having Emily on the Press Team at OneLove conference last year. Emily owns a blog called 'Pursuits Of God' and is the Director of Women's Initiatives at 'Thinking Of God'. In this interview she shares how her faith in Jesus impacts her life as a mum, wife, and online writer.
1. Why do you believe Jesus is worth pursuing?
in him [jesus] we find meaning to life and undeserved favour with god; we find purpose in glorifying him and hope in knowing there is a better life coming.
As I look around our country today and live life alongside people who are both Christian and non-Christian, I realise that we are all searching for something. Some of us fill up our cravings for meaning with pursuing our career, searching for love, growing a family, decorating our home, filling our wardrobes or joining the self-betterment bandwagon with the latest food craze or positive goal-setting/attainment cycles. My self-fulfilment drug of choice was approval-addiction. While I was a Christian from a young age, I struggled with letting people down through not living up to their expectations, or reaching the expectations I have set for myself.
In Year 11, my family moved out West, where I attended the local High School. I was new to town, meaning no-one knew me and I could be whomever I wanted to be. I remember distinctly walking down the high school corridor having this realisation and very quickly making the decision to pursue Jesus. Not because of anything marvellous about me, but because Jesus died declaring to the world that I wasn't able to live up to God's standards because no matter how hard I tried, I would never reach perfection in and of myself. This was very liberating! In Jesus, we don't need to search for fulfilment, because he has given it to us. In him we find meaning to life and undeserved favour with God; we find purpose in glorifying him and hope in knowing there is a better life coming.
Motherhood has been the other huge thing God has used to strip back my drive for self-fulfilment. In having children, I have learnt and am constantly reminded that I can't control all things and that I sin and often see the same sin being passed on to my children. I find great comfort in knowing that there is unending grace at the cross for me and each of my children, just as it is there for you. We don't need to strive for perfection, we can rest in the knowledge that God is at work in and through us and he will complete the work in us that he has begun.
2. What's the story behind your blog Pursuits of God?
I started 'pursuits of god'...in the hope that god might use my thoughts and journey of the mundane to bring glory to himself and encouragement to others.
I started Pursuits of God when I had my second child, Gideon. I had finished studying and missed the process of writing. I decided to start writing about God and his word as a way of keeping myself accountable and also in the hope that God might use my thoughts and journey of the mundane to bring glory to himself and encouragement to others. I also recognised that most of the blogs I followed were from the U.S. and I wanted something that was decidedly Australian. I love Hebrews 12:1-2:
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."
This is the aim of Pursuits of God. We are surrounded by people who are each pursuing God as individuals, yet when our pursuits come together, there is great encouragement to be found. These pursuits are seen in their stories in God's word, in the pages of history and in the lives around us. As we share our journeys, we can strengthen one another, encouraging us to throw off sin and other weights of this world that entangle us and run together the race God has planned for us. For this, we need to have the common goal of looking to Jesus.
3. You are also the Director of Women's Initiatives at 'Thinking of God'. What does the work involve and what do you hope to achieve through this role?
I have a huge passion for seeing Biblical literacy improve in women around Australia and our world. So often I think we hear people talk about the Bible and think- wow, they know so much- but we stop there. Unlike our university studies or the way we seek to improve our knowledge on other issues, we believe the lie that understanding more of God's word is unattainable. If God's word is really living and active and able to equip us for all that we need for life, surely it deserves our love, our time and our disciplined study (I am daily preaching this to myself!)
As the Director of Women's Initiatives, I get to make contact with women from across Australia who are also seeking to share how a knowledge of God and his word can practically impact our day-to-day worlds. I would love to see women inspired to grow more in their knowledge of God and love for his word through the resources we publish.
4. This year's theme for OneLove is 'For Eternity'. What does living in light of eternity mean for you as a wife, mother and writer?
when i lift my eyes to jesus and eternity with him, i recognise interruptions as god-ordained moments...my perspective gets a much-needed shift and i see my mundane as a way of glorifying god through loving those i come in contact with.
Such a brilliant theme! As a stay-at-home mother, most of my day is spent serving my family in practical and usually somewhat mundane ways. If I place my hope in finishing the washing or having a clean home, I would live perpetually discouraged. I remember reading that Jonathan Edwards, the great American preacher, prayed "Lord, stamp eternity on my eyeballs." If I don't have eternity stamped on my eyeballs, I get caught up in the day-to-day and often my eyes turn towards my navel, alternating between feeling sorry for myself that I don't have more "Me-Time" or self-righteously thinking about how awesome I am for getting everything on my "To-Do" list accomplished.
When I lift my eyes to Jesus and eternity with him, I recognise interruptions as God-ordained moments, time with my children as opportunities to train them in the knowledge of God and time with my husband as being a way of showing others the beautiful mystery of the gospel-relationship between Jesus and his bride, the church. In essence, my perspective gets a much-needed shift and I see my mundane as a way of glorifying God through loving those I come in contact with.
In 2015 we asked Joyce, the owner of The Little Paper Room to design a colouring template using the OneLove key verse. In this interview, we've asked her to share about her faith and how it shapes her life as a wife, mum, and small business owner.
1. Why do you believe Jesus is worth pursuing?
I admit, when it comes to pursuing Jesus, he is the one that’s done most of it. As I grow older, I see more and more clearly how relentless God’s love for me really is. As a young child growing up in the mission fields of the Peruvian mountain villages, I remember feeling the assurance of God’s presence everyday. This might seem unusual, but on one occasion I remember asking God to give life to a little dying plant I had at home and I saw it rise up before my eyes. This didn’t even shock me. It almost seemed normal because I knew that my God was always with me and he can do the impossible. This memory still comforts me to this day, I always remember when Jesus said: “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt: 18 : 2-4)
When I think about Jesus and what he said in this passage, I think about how true it is that a child’s faith can be so innocent, but at the same time so solid and real. To me it serves as a reminder of what sin does to each and every one of us, But it also drives me to look forward, and to look forward to the Eternity we have been promised.
2. Last year you helped us to design the beautiful OneLove colouring template. What's the story behind your small business 'The Little Paper Room'?
3. In 2017 you will be closing 'The Little Paper Room' and starting a new Venture with a new name. Can you share what prompted you to do this?
"when i was a lot younger, i knew god had called me to create. in these last transformative months, i realised that god wasn't just calling me to create, but to also love, inspire and empower."
When I was a lot younger I knew God had called me to create. It was a gift and I knew it would be something I would continue to do. But a lot happened in the last couple of years, becoming a wife was eye opening, becoming a mother was revelational and taught me so much about life, but all these changes combined with running a business didn’t mix well for me. In these last few transformative months I realised that God wasn’t just calling me to create but to also love, inspire, and empower.
My wish is not to run a business anymore but to freely create and bless other women, young and old. It will be about drawing inspiration from real life and sharing the journey God is taking us on, whether this takes the form of art, writing or scripture. My goal is to be completely open and embrace the path that God has put me on. My hope is that it becomes a source of blessing and inspiration to others.
4. This year's theme for OneLove conference is 'For Eternity'. What does living in light of eternity mean for you as a wife, mother, and small business owner?
"living in light of eternity means to live everyday with a god driven purpose. as women we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to accomplish all the roles we are given...and sometimes we lose sight of who we are, and who we are in christ."
To me, living in light of Eternity means to live everyday with a God driven purpose. I feel sometimes that as women, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to accomplish all the roles we are given, whether it be as mothers, as wives, and for me as a business owner. Our lives can sometimes be filled to the brim with check lists, memos, reminders, budgeting, cooking, church ministries, looking after our kids and sometimes we lose sight of who we are and who we are in Christ. I recently saw this in my own life, everything seemed cluttered and foggy and I began to realise I was living without a purpose. Seeking God for guidance gave me a lot of peace but most importantly, it has taught me to live everyday seeking God’s will. Everything can be simplified when we give it all to Him, when we ask for his strength.
We are giving women a chance to win a Double Pass to OneLove valued at $228! By sharing a photo and a memorable moment on Facebook or Instagram using the hash tag #OneLoveKCC17, you could win OneLove tickets for you and a friend.
The full entry details have been posted on our Facebook and Instagram account:
Enter on Facebook.
Enter or Instagram.
The competition closes on the 5 April. Good luck and happy posting!
Terms & Conditions: One prize per social media channel for one winner only. Tickets cannot be redeemed for cash. Travel costs excluded. KCC reserves the right to end the competition at any time. By entering, you are agreeing to allow OneLove to share your post for marketing purposes.
Early Bird tickets are now on sale for $89pp until the end of June.
If you purchase 10 tickets in one transaction, you will get the 11th ticket free. If you're bringing a group of 10 or more, make sure you sign up to be a Group Leader to enjoy extra perks.
CLICK HERE to grab your tickets at the best price.