Jayawardhana Christmas Letter 2016

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from our family to yours!

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. (Ecc 3:1)

Many of you will know this verse and perhaps it holds special significance for you? For us as a family this verse has also taken on a deeper meaning and significance this year.

As we come to the end of 2016, the end of this calendar year also marks the end of certain seasons of activity in our lives……but we also look forward with excitement and anticipation to the new seasons of activity which God is to fully unfold in 2017.

PJ has had a productive and fruitful year. Following on from the Australianising of the COMPASS – finances God’s way material at the end of last year this year saw PJ and the COMPASS team publish these ten books and four DVD series as well as interview and decide upon the inaugural CEO for COMPASS who be starting with the team in February 2017. We look forward to welcoming Andrew L’Almont and his wife Shereen to beautiful sunny QLD in January as Andrew prepares to take up this inaugural position from February.

This year also marked the final year of PJ acting in the role of Chairperson for the Aspley East State School Local Chaplaincy Committee. Although our ties with Aspley East had finished the year prior we felt PJ should continue in this role until the end of 2016. This ending now marks the closure of our family’s eleven year association with Aspley East State School and we look back on these years with much thankfulness and many happy memories.

This year Gwenda’s seven-and-a-half year season of activity as a student of Malyon College came to an end when in June 2016 she handed in her final assignment for her Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree. She is thankful for this season and the growth she experienced through it both academically and spiritually. Next year Gwenda looks forward to ministering to the aged care residents at Clifford House, Wooloowin and at Brookfield Village during some of their weekly chapel services.

Taruna’s big end-of-season activity this year was finishing Grade 12 at Grace Lutheran College as well as completing two university accounting subjects through the Start QUT program. He has recently returned from a two week ‘schoolies’ holiday with his mates in Japan which he thoroughly enjoyed. Now his sights are set on finding a part-time job to sustain him through university and he is hopeful of receiving a placement in the Bachelor of Business (Accounting) degree at QUT next year.

Rasika has had an incredibly busy year attending three separate camps. Early in the year it was her turn to attend Grace Lutheran College’s four week Googa Outdoor Education experience which she absolutely loved. Then in the June/July school holidays she attended OM’s Teenstreet camp which is a five-day discipleship camp for Christian teens held out at Gatton each year. This was yet another great experience for her and she most definitely grew in her relationship with God through attending. Her final camp for the year was SU QLD’s SplashOut camp held in the September school holidays up near Coolum. Again, this was a time of much fun, laughter, friendships and another opportunity for her to deepen her relationship with God and with others.

After a bit of coaxing from his mum in particular, this year saw Prashan audition to be part of the GLC Middle School musical, The Wizard of Oz. He was cast in the role of the Coroner who gets to pronounce that ‘the witch is dead’ plus he got to wear a pretty cool costume. This experience was also a great opportunity for Prashan to explore his singing, acting and dancing skills which he has in abundance but is not yet fully confident in nor fully appreciative of. Many people continue to comment that Prashan is a natural comedian so it will be interesting to see where God leads him in the future. Prashan has had a successful year academically at school and has gathered around him a good group of friends which we are thankful for.

The biggest change of season underway for our family is that next year God has called us to be part of the launch team for a new church plant starting up on the northside of Brisbane called Expansion Church (http://www.expansion.church). Expansion Church will be launching at Easter time in the Craigslea State High School auditorium, 605 Hamilton Road, Chermside West. This is a fantastic location and with Ps Jason and Leisa Krienke already well-known and well-loved within the Craigslea SHS community through Jason’s work as School Chaplain there we already sense that God has some exciting plans to unfold both in and through this community as well as beyond it.

Starting somewhere new next year also means saying farewell to the wonderful church community we have worshipped amongst for nearly fourteen years at Bridgeman Baptist Community Church. During our time at Bridgey both PJ and Gwenda asked Jesus Christ to be Lord and Saviour of their lives and received water baptism as a public declaration of, and commitment to, their new lives ‘in Christ’. Our children have also benefitted greatly from Bridgey’s wonderful youth programs and have grown in their knowledge of and relationship with the Lord.

However, though we may be moving away physically we also know that ‘in Christ’ we are all part of the one body of Christ. We therefore look forward to serving alongside Bridgey, and the many other churches in our area, as partners in the gospel as God continues to prepare the way for revival to come to the northside of Brisbane and beyond (Phil 1:4-5). Marantha!

We hope and pray that this Christmas season is a blessed one for you and your family as we remember and celebrate the coming of Immanuel ‘God with us’.

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved (Acts 4:11-12).