It's exactly a month I've been here now y'all and it's been nothing short of a wonderful experience/time/adventure.
I'll go back a bit since it's been a while, and will go into detail about specific events with individual posts over the weekend!
When I arrived on Wednesday January 16, my flight was late so my ride in Sydney had to go to work. So I caught a taxi at Sydney Airport's taxi stand on a 30 degree + day - it was so beautiful out! - and we drove through the city to Hillsong church. I hadn't really thought about the arrival before this time, and I found myself getting kind of nervous about how awkward the next few hours/days might be... But when the taxi arrived at the church and we bailed my bags onto the sidewalk and I walked into the church, sweaty, dirty, disgusting, I was greeted by 8 people screaming my name happily! "Alexandra, is that you!?!" It was just about the best thing ever considering I had emotionally prepared myself, or had thought up, that instead it would be more like, you walk up to the desk, they say, "Here are your keys, this is your address. Off you go!" But instead in those very first moments I had 8 new friends. They singlehandedly marked this experience in the best light from the get-go.
My flat wasn't ready yet so I was staying the first night at a 2nd years flat. That afternoon we hung out there for a while until the evening when we were taken to a new student dinner put on by an older student. Which was amazing! Met so many great people that night and it was such a comfort to know that you would have food that first night especially when you're just settling in, but also have no flat to go home to.
That week we had several other dinners by students (praise the Lord!), trips to Ikea, Coogee-Bronte beach walks, and Surry Hills walks, to accustom us to the area and show us what's around. I'm just so so thankful the College planned these things coz they have made all the difference to the friendships made and the foot which the experience launched out on!
Oh and the DANCE PARTIES! My fave!! Tons of laughs happen there. It's so great dancing your butt off when everyone else around you is sober. I never know the songs but that doesn't stop me from loving every minute of it haha!
These are my beautiful flatmates:
We still don't have much furniture and we just got wifi this week - there's a 10-20 day wait period for it, what!??! Unheard of in Canada ha! - but we're managing and I'm looking forward to getting to know these girls even better and to do life with them. We're all in the Worship stream, and only Sara is not a singer - she plays electric guitar! - so we'll have a lot to discuss post classes and tutorials I'm sure!
Yes, classes have now started. It's not all fun and games, but still mostly. The first week of classes were intensives. We spent the Tuesday at the main (big) campus, Hills, learning about Communication and attending the Combined Staff and College Meeting, which was pretty amazing. It's very cool to see some of your heroes from Hillsong worshipping the Lord, because this is there church and their home too, not just something they do on stage.
My regular classes now are Personal leadership (going to be awesome!), the Worship Team (going to be awesome!), Old Testament Intro (going to be OWSUM!), Vocals Workshop (going to be awesome!), Music Theory & Application (uhh.. theory. but it's going to be awesome!), and then we have tutorials for each class! I definitely didn't give Hillsong enough credit educationally but God is definitely shattering that limitation I had. I've already learned so much that at first didn't seem all that new or awe-inspiring, but yet I find myself repeating it in conversation to others or thinking it over as I fall asleep at night.
I've also received my Practicum placement, also known as Field Work. I am allotted to the TV team on Sundays (we have to serve at 2 services and attend 1 - but there are 7 weekend services at City to choose from so there's still a lot of variety!) and on the Creative team for Team Nights. I don't really know what the latter looks like, but I have already been working and trained on cameras/TV during Chapel so I'm very excited that that is my job for Sundays! I would also like to eventually work with Hillsong Kids - coz I miss being around kids so much!! ahh! - and check out some things out of my comfort zone like do the Buses, where we go to Central Station and pick people up on the Hillsong Bus to bring them to church. There are just so many great opportunities to serve in so many different areas, I want to dip my feet in a lot!
A couple weekends ago we had Vision Sunday where the Senior Pastors - Brian and Bobbie Houston - laid out the vision for the global Hillsong through a documentary. The Vision is "Missio Dei" aka the Mission of God! Looking at everything in life as being missional: in our workplaces, in our friendships, in our daily interactions, in everything! Then in the evening they had a baptism, and tons of people signed up to be baptised but many more spontaneously made the decision to take the "next step"! It was pretty amazing to say the least! Across the campuses 1000s of people were baptized and dedicated their lives to Jesus Christ! Amen!!
I've also spent a lot of my free time at the beach....
Adventuring with my best buddies, Marc and Lewis. We've covered a lot of territory together, I probably can't even remember it all: Ikea, Salvos (Salvation Army), ferry adventures, summer camp, East Gardens (shopping mall nearby) multiple times, Paddy's Markets, Sydney Aquarium, Darling Harbour, King's Cross..., stealing wifi, classes, baptisms, etc... They're super great!
And getting to know some of the lovely ladies...
Worship is, as suspected, wonderful. We are singing the new songs from the upcoming United album and the Live album coming out later this year. They're such beautiful songs that paint the picture of the heart of the Church and of Christ. I just pray that it would never get old being in the Church, especially the lowercase-C church. I never want to get tired or frustrated with being there. This is such a dream come true to be here, and I want to be here - in the moment, in the everything, dipping, dunking my feet (self) in! And I don't want to take it for granted, like I deserved it or something, but that this is 100% a gift from God and I want to be expectant for how He will use this season, and use me in this season. I just pray for greater revelation of His character, who He is, who He wants me to be, where I am to go, to do. I want to LOVE Him more! This is going to be an amazing ride. I need an open, eager heart, ready to take hold of anything - big and small, fun or unappealing. I need to be ready for the story He wants for me, and not the one I'd like to orchestrate!
And there's so so sooo much more! But that covers most of our bases! I'll be back soon, but until then, party on!!