Nathan’s April/May 2022 Update

Bumping into David Yung at the Reach Australia Conference. A treasured mentor and dear friend.

Giving my first sermon at church

I gave my first sermon at St John’s in May, on Ecclesiastes 7:1-8:1. It wasn’t an easy passage to preach on. It required a lot of hard work in prayer and sitting under God’s word. That being said, it was a delight to prepare. I am incredibly thankful for how my trainer David Ould met with me regularly as I wrestled with the passage, challenging me to read the text carefully, while giving me the freedom to understand it for myself. God has taught me through Ecclesiastes 7:1-8:1 that it’s good to recgonise how broken our world is. It is full of death, pain, and folly – but reflecting on these things give us wisdom. God’s Word has been teaching me how broken I am as a person as well. These truths have pushed me to rejoice in the gospel all the more. By grace alone, I am loved by Jesus despite who I am, and one day he will return and set things straight. Until then, I want to grow in wisdom more and more. If you’re interested in listening to the sermon, you can find it here:

Project Miletus

At the end of May, I had my interview with Moore College. I have applied to study there next year, and Helen and I had a delightful time talking with Simon Gillham – the Vice Principal. We shared our testimonies, about our churches , and what we were hoping to get out of theological college and student ministry. I am really looking forward to next year! I am excited to be learning in community, growing in my understanding of bible (even from those who might have differing doctrines!), and applying what I learn in my life, in my family, and in my ministry.  

In Acts 20:17-38, Paul farewells the Ephesians elders, before heading to to Jerusalem, knowing that whatever awaits him there includes imprisonment and suffering. At Miletus, he gives them his final exhortation to guard the church of Christ. He warns them of the dangers they will face in false teachers. He commits them to God and the to the message of the gospel. I hope to finish up at St John’s like Paul did. 

And so I’ve called my handover journey ‘Project Miletus’ – in my previous line of work, we often had codenames for our different duty. While my leaving is no where near as poignant as Paul’s (though obviously I have a flair for the dramatic), I want to be able to faithfully pass on the gospel commission I have received. This means training up future leaders and supporting them as I gradually pass on my responsibilities. This means thinking through my different ministries, and considering how they might be restructured in order to build up the church. This means sharing the gospel with those around me while I still have the chance in Parramatta. On that note, would you please pray for Victoria? She works at the local coffee shop I have frequented this past year and a half, and have invited her to church. Please pray that she may come to know and receive the kindness and love of Jesus.

Seeing a Psychologist 

These two months I have also been seeing a psychologist. Whilst there was no immediately pressing reason to go see one, I thought that it would be a wise thing to do: I had not previously spoken to a professional about my parent’s divorce, and slowly growing in my understanding of mental health during MTS has made me curious of my own wellbeing. Furthermore, I have had conversations with many different individuals who I have wanted to refer to a psychologist, but had no idea of what the process actually involved. So far I have had three sessions, and I have found them to be incredibly helpful. I have learned how to take better care of myself, and it has also grown me on how to be wise in my relationships with others. I also feel more confident now to encourage others to seek professional help where it’s appropriate.

That being said, some of my realisations as to how I perceive myself and others haven’t been the easiest to come to terms with. As I’ve grown in self-awareness, it has unwittingly magnified the pains of my shortcomings and grief of my sin. As I’ve come to better understand how my past experiences have shaped me, it as made me mourn how I’ve failed in friendships and struggled with Satan’s lies. But by God’s grace, I am able seek comfort in Jesus my truest and dearest friend. While I remain so dissatisfied with this life that is corrupted by sin, I find my hope in the life to come. These words from Laura Story’s song Blessings – ring true:

When friends betray us
And when darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not our home. 

All this being said dear partner, I am very grateful for your friendship and support. While there has been much sadness in this process, I am very much ok! I am glad to be working through these things sooner rather than later, and things are already better than where they were a couple of weeks ago. I am learning to decouple my self-awareness from my self-worth, and this has been a great exercise in growing in humility. I am very happy to talk in greater depth if you are interested in hearing a bit more, so you’d like to reach out, I would very much like that as well.

Would you please pray for us:

  • By thanking God for the opportunity that Nathan had to preach at church. Please pray that the Word of God might transform hearts and lives by the power of the Spirit. 
  • As we prepare to go to Bible College next year. Please pray that Nathan may find a suitable student ministry position for the next two years, where he might grow and be a blessing. 
  • That Nathan would be intentional with the second half of this year. Particularly in training leaders and lovingly handing over ministry responsibilities.
  • as Nathan invites Victoria to church. Please pray that she might know the gospel and be saved. 
  • As Nathan finishes his sessions seeing a psychologist. Please pray that as his processes and reflects on past experiences, that this would grow his self-awareness, and his hope in Jesus.  

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