What a great week! NTE is the biggest gathering for the Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students, happening each year in Canberra. When students everywhere are kicking back, Nearly 2000 are at NTE getting intensive training in the various strands, considering the christian life and mission in electives and enjoying fantastic singing and teaching each night in the main sessions. No gimmicks, no games, it’s actually pretty hard work and it’s awesome!
This year we had just over 30 head down from UNE (with a couple of ring in’s). The place NTE is held called EPIC, but we get some epic in beforehand with the drive! Praise the Lord for air conditioning and cruise control! Good chatting, listening to sermons and prayer made the freeway pass that bit more quickly. It was great for me to have Mel Hemans as a passenger and not Michael, as we had a pun free car…
It’s always exciting to begin the week with a bunch of people all at different stages of their Christian walk and wonder what lifelong impact might be made by the end. This year was no different with some very new Christians tackling strand one (how to understand a bible passage and write a talk based on it) while some others were back for their third NTE, thus tackling strand three (systematic theology).
The main sessions were delivered by Andrew Heard on spiritual warfare – very powerful and clear. As one student said, the section on the third night that made it clear that Satan’s power of accusation was taken away by the cross was a standout moment.
Everyone found strands challenging – to give a talk at the end is pretty scary for most! In the end much learnt, new friends are made and faith is built up. I personally really enjoyed leading my strand group with a great bunch of guys.
However, this year there was a highlight beyond all of this for the UNE crew: after a growing year Bonnie felt a new clarity and conviction in her faith such that she wanted to be baptised. Much like Phillip in Acts 8, we went for the nearest water – Lake Burley Griffin! See below for a picture of this great occasion, including Bonnie being stood up in the night session to be encouraged by wild cheering and clapping. Just… wonderful.
Perhaps the best note to finish this report on is the comment of one of our students about strand 1, ‘I just love reading my Bible’.
Long may we make the long drive!