Quite a lot has happened since last we spoke.
In April I was baptized on Easter Sunday. What an experience that was! In the morning we had our normal, combined with all our NSW campuses, at the Sydney Entertainment Center. For our combined night services we did water baptisms in which I decided to take the plunge, literally. It was one of the craziest experiences of my life. Not only was I baptized in front of 15,000 people while the greatest worship team on planet earth lead worship but I got to make a (very) public declaration of my faith in my saviour.
In May we had Sisterhood. Have you ever heard 15,000 women singing in unison? Yeah, didn’t think so. I’m not going to lie, seeing that many women in one place at one time stressed me out a little bit. But just being able to play a tiny part in something that impacted so many women was really special. I’ve learned to think outside my immediate circle of experience when it comes to events like this. It’s not about me. Sisterhood is about the 15,000 women who came and were changed forever.
In July it was the Superbowl of conferences, the big daddy of christian events. Hillsong Conference 2014 (No Other Name). Before the actual conference students were put through a two week boot camp of what we can expect when it comes to Hillsong conference. We learned everything from making sure we were getting enough rest (which was difficult because of the 6:15am bus departures and 10:00pm arrival home from conference the night before) to how to deal with “interesting” or “funny” delegates. You’ve now discovered that by “interesting” and “funny” I actually mean difficult.
Now, I would never be as insensitive to compare when soldiers arrived on Normandy beach on D-Day to arriving to Hillsong Conference on day one…but I was getting that vibe from students on shuttle to the stadium. Nobody was really talking. A few faces had lost all colour and gone completely white. One guy had a nervous vomit. Not really. But I wouldn’t have been surprised. I’ll give you a brief day to day testimony of how conference was for me:
Day 1: Fueled by adrenaline, conference is easy breezy. Four more days of this? I can do this easy. I’m not sure what everyone was warning me about.
Day 2: Ok. Maybe I need to pace myself. I definitely need to get a better sleep tonight. Maybe I’ll do some stretching so my back isn’t as sore for tomorrow.
Day 3: If I have to say hi to one more person I’m going to go insane. I can’t do this. Absolute rock bottom. Two more days of this? I think I might call in sick with shingles or swine flu. Why are delegates so angry at me? If it was up to me you guys could go anywhere you want but my oversight said you can’t go downstairs. STOP YELLING AT ME!!!!
Day 4: Are you there God? It’s me Jimmy. Is there some unrepented sin in my life I need to deal with? Is that why you’re punishing me? Fine! I’m sorry God! I’m sorry I took an umbrella from church without returning it! It was raining and I have already lost five of my own umbrellas! Is it because I took my friends student ID and scanned him in while he went to the beach? Ok fine. It was ME who gave my ID to a friend and I went to the beach instead of class. I’m sorry God! FORGIVE ME!
Day 5: Wow. What an experience. I’m not even sure I can fully comprehend what I was just a part of. Not only will this conference effect Australia and it’s cities but it’s going to impact the world. I was pushed to my limit and I found you there. I got to hear the best speakers in the world with 20,000 people. I’m sad it’s over…..What’s that? Pack down? What’s that? I’m going to retreat to an isolated area and crumble to the fetal position. Wake up when the busses leave.
We started our second semester in mid July and it has been amazing. I’m being challenged in my faith. I’m being challenged on why I believe what I believe. I’m learning more about Christ and falling more and more in love with him each day. The bible has come alive to me. It’s not just words on a page anymore. I feel like I know the people I’m reading about. I’m emerging myself in the love story that is the books of the bible.
My friendships are growing stronger. I’m also learning how to be a better friend.
I’m getting platform opportunities, which has been incredibly humbling. I’ve played guitar in first year chapel, bv’d at Hillsong men and most recently I was rostered to co lead worship at Hillsong men! That, I can say with all sincerity, was the most fun I’ve ever had doing anything in my entire life.
The semester is coming to a close and the seasons are changing. We’ve gone from winter to spring and soon it will be summer which will signify the end of the year here. I will be doing second year and I can’t even comprehend what that will be like. I’m really looking forward to that.
However, I am way more excited about meeting my tiny little 8 month old niece Lenox Faith Hyde! I can’t wait to spoil her, read to her, laugh at her farts and have her laugh at mine. I cannot wait to be home at Christmas to see my Ottawa family!
Love you all!
Fyi — my birthday is on October 7. If you wanted to bless me with iTunes gift cards or anything I’d be cool with that.