Dear Friends

On Sunday we were exploring the relationship between ‘God’s glory’ and ‘lives that are lived for others’. (John 12:23)

And on Monday night I saw another beautiful example of this. (You might see a few faces you recognise in the picture!)

At the Micah Women Leader’s Event, Asuntha Charles, World Vision’s Middle East Response Director, and former National Director for Afghanistan during the Taliban takeover, shared her story of growing up in southern India. How her father told her, after she had received a basic education, that that was enough; that now was the time to marry and have a family. But how her mother had intervened and persuaded him Asuntha should go on to further education. Then how, after a few years working as a social worker, her father had, once again, insisted that she give up her work, that her choice of lifestyle was creating negative talk about her and the family; that – as they are a Catholic family – her two options were to marry or to enter a convent.

This time, Asuntha, herself, defied her father and told him she had chosen her life, that she wanted to be a single person and that she wanted to keep on working. She also called on the Catholic church in that region to advocate for more options for women – that remaining single, that working in valuable work could also be a vocation blessed by God (and the church).

Cut to her work in recent years and Asuntha found herself in Afghanistan speaking with a group of girls about what their dreams for the future were. (You can hear Asuntha tell the story herself here.) To her astonishment, one little girl said – not that she wanted to be a doctor, a nurse, or a teacher – but to be the first female president of Afghanistan! She said she wanted to be able to make the changes that would make a real difference to everyone’s lives.

Asuntha reflected that her dream for her own life – to be able to continue her studies, to be able to work – had been transformed into a dream for all women and girls – that she, too, wanted to make a real difference to everyone’s lives.

Her dream for her own life had become a dream that meant living for others.

Are there dreams that you have? Dreams for your own life that might be shared with others? That others might live in places of safety? That others might have sufficient food and water? That others might have access to education and work?

This Sunday we can advocate for many of these dreams – as we gather with many other Christians and fellow Canberrans – for the Palm Sunday rally , 1pm, 24 March in Civic. If you haven’t been before, there’s usually a march at the beginning (we walk from the merry-go-round, around the streets, and end up in Garema Place) and then a couple of speeches. It’s an opportunity to learn about the refugee experience and how we can respond. Aron and I are also offering lunch beforehand (@11:45am) at the manse and people may want to carpool from there.

There are several videos that have been prepared for this year’s Palm Sunday Rally. You can check those out below (just click on the names in red):

Ghulamreza Haidari (who will be speaking at the rally)
Rev Belinda Groves and Meryl Jackson, Canberra Baptist Church
Tara Cheyne, ACT MLA
Kasey Tompkins, Secretary Unions ACT
Rev Jeanette Mathews, Charles Sturt University
Lachlan Clohesy, ACT Div Secretary, NTEU
Sarah Bachelard, Benedictus Contemplative Church

Grace and peace,


Categories: Uncategorized