But then later...

My pain was eased with the arrival of... and hot off the press... AND by post direct from the US of A

Personally signed by none other than the big man himself

maybe this is one to put on e-bay...


...and I crashed

... on the road at about 50 clicks. Ripped my good windproof jacket and shorts.

I'll give myself a stupid award for this one. Oh... and yes it hurts.


MTS one year on

  • People are everything.
  • Relationships are everything.
  • MYC is everything.
  • Intensive intellectual learning isn’t my forte.
  • Massive intellect isn't always what's required.
  • I enjoy preaching.
  • Plain and simple language for clear communication is what’s required.
  • Prayer is essential.
  • If you don’t do it yourself then don’t expect others to do it.
  • Train the keen beans.
  • Organization is essential.
  • Being rigorous with time off is essential.
  • Evangelism is always hard.
  • You can't work with everyone (even if you are theologically on the same page).
  • Failure is essential
  • Ministry isn't for the money.
  • Authenticity and transparency are essential to lead well.
  • Ownership builds participation and attendance.


Goodbye peeps

I've found making the decision to leave FOCUS behind this year one of the most difficult decisions I've ever made. I have a great love for the ministry and especially the students. So I thought I'd take some time thanking them for the encouragement they've been over the last year. I'm greatful to (in no particular order)...

Aaron and Evan for working though studies last year and teaching me patience. Thanks to Michael for hanging out and learning all of Collosians and being prepared to tackle the big topics. Also to Nathan, Tommy, Isaac and Ed for their enthusiasm and support. To Nathaniel, Nick and Alan and all the work they've put into the Con group. To the ladies of FOCUS Erica and Lizzie particualrly. To Shaun for being a honest and helpful critic. Also to Geo for his ideas and prayerfulness. A big thankyou to Tim our FOCUS president he's one of the best we've had. And to the all the other FOCUS people out there a big thankyou for all you've done to support me and help me out.


Tough decisions

In the last week or so I’ve considering resigning my position at FOCUS. I decided that the best course of action would be for me to resign from FOCUS and transfer my apprenticeship to Crossroads. This decision may come as a surprise or even a disappointment and you’re probably wondering why.

Firstly I’m a complex person who needs a certain level of support in what I do. Sam by his admission wasn’t able to provide the level of support I needed in order to continue. Sam and I are also very different personalities and it’s always been hard to work together. I have and will always have a great deal of respect for Sam and his learning knowledge and ministry. However being on the same page theologically sometimes just isn’t quite enough and I’ve learned that Mike Jolly’s personality isn’t cut out for working with everyone.

Secondly, even though I was able to do a great deal of good at FOCUS it wasn’t good for my and Christine’s long term health and stability. I’m tired and worn out I’d taken on to much responsibility working as a “co-worker” rather than an “apprentice”. (This is a mistake I made in my thinking as I went into to MTS)

I have much to learn and have made many mistakes. Please know that I’ve thought and prayed long and hard spent many nights lying awake thinking about this. If you’d like to know more please feel free to email me. If you are one of my wonderful financial supporters please be patient I’ll be getting in touch with you very soon.


I'm a Fresher

Well sort of. I'm first year here which technically means I'm a Fresher but because I'm an RF it's not quite a logical conclusion.

Most of the students arrive back at Jane Franklin Hall today. I spent a fair bit of time showing them round, writing names on mugs and other exciting stuff...

That's my new Jane work top nothing fresher about that... feels good to be settling in


Saying Sorry

Today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history. We reflect on their past mistreatment.

We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were Stolen Generations – this blemished chapter in our nation’s history. The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.

We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians. We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country. For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.

To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry. And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.

We the Parliament of Australia respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered as part of the healing of the nation. For the future we take heart; resolving that this new page in the history of our great continent can now be written.

We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians. A future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again. A future where we harness the determination of all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity.

A future where we embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed. A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility. A future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia.

See here


Musos who I respect

During MTS I’ve realised just how much I enjoy spending time with people. This is particularly so with some of the blokes I meet up with. This was especially the case the other night when I met up with Nick, Nathaniel and Alan to organize the Conservatorium Christian Group for the year.

Helping lead the Con Group during 2007 was a real learning experience for me. I joined the group as an outsider in only it’s second year of existence. Over the year I grew to know the people there and by the end of the year we finished as a good bunch of mates.

The other night as we discussed the history of the group and planned for 08 I was tremendously encouraged by their keenness to serve Christ but most of all by their openness to admit faults and bear with mine.

We planned out what will be an awesome year for the group. It’s great to have a bunch of guys who I know and trust will make this group God willing one of the best successes of 08. All three of you are truly Christians who I respect.


Where I live... now

New pictures...

Living Area looking out front door

Things have been really busy since I moved in at Jane. Today we finished our two-day First Aid training course. I found the course a little painful but managed to solidly pass the test although not doing as well as Christine who got every question correct.

The Office

Post Grad lounge soon to be Coffee Lounge

I’ve been concentrating on getting to know the other staff here at college students will be arriving more over the next week or so. Beginning here for the first time as a Resident Fellow (RF) straight up is an interesting situation.

Traditionally RF’s are viewed with respect and esteem and almost be viewed as “above” or “distant” from the other students. I’m keen to try and break down some of this “distance” while also maintaining a stance where my authority is respected. It’s a really difficult balance to get right and keeps me awake praying and worrying.

Tomorrow Christine and I head off to a training camp with the other members of staff to be indoctrinated with all things Jane. I’m beginning to realize just how much of my time will be taken up in the small community that is Jane. Sometimes it feels almost like becoming a member of new church with customs, history and structure. It's a challenge but I'm up for the challenge.

More Post Grad Lounge

Living area

Our new book shelves

Kitchen looking toward the bathroom.

Looking toward the bedroom


What to do?

This came by email today...

23 Ramat Park, Isakor,
Ikpoba Ogha Local Government,
Edo State, Nigeria.

Dear friend in Christ,

Calvary Greetings in Jesus name. It is a great blessing writing you from Nigeria. I hope all is well with you this moment and pray that this letter meet you well in Christ.

By His grace I am a Christian and I gave my life to Christ 6 years ago. I am married with two children. I am now working as a part time clerk in an office where I earn just little to keep going for now. Please help me pray for a permanent
job. There is computer email in the office where I serve so I am able to reach you. I am a member of Life and Light Bible Church which is a small but living church with about 20 members. I serve in the outreach arm of the church and we go out for evangelism winning souls. Not every one can go to house to house evangelism because many are busy so they find time to do their personal evangelism in their
place of work and on their way home. There is great joy in reaching out to the unsaved. A lot of time my heart tells me that I have not done much for Christ but in evangelism I know that I am doing much.

In our house to house evangelism lat year we converted a very nice couple Mr. & Mrs. Aduno Seye and although they do not fellowship in my church I go to see them every week to pray and comfort them. They fellowship in a near by church to their house because they cannot trek the distance to my church. They are almost 80
years old and they are very committed to Christ. They have been in need of bibles because they cannot buy. I want to appeal to you on their behalf to please send two bibles for them. There are also a couple in my church Mr. & Mrs. Fajuyi also need bibles which are giant print. They are aged couples who came to our church
September last year. They are also very committed but poor in finance to buy bibles.
The bibles with giant print of words will be the good one because of their sight. If you can get the ones with the super print it will be better for them. Please help them. I need a strongs exhuastive bible concordance for my use. This book has a lot of help in bible study and research. Please help me for one. I cannot afford it. Thank you for this wonderful help an may the Lord bless you as you help. Please send the bibles through my residential address above and please send the bibles by insured
postage for safe delivery.

Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings, Psalm 17:8

I can look up to you oh dearest Father in heaven, and know that I am dear unto thee as
the apple of your eye. All the saints of God are dear to God at all times, but the persecuted saints, they are the apple of God s eye. If at any time they are dear to God, then especially when they are most persecuted. As the eye of the believer is ever toward the Lord and as the eye of the believer searches the words of life to find comfort and deliverence, so does the eye of God looks in tender care over our every
need. The eye of God find sweet fellowship in those who watch intently towards Him and trust in His loving care.

In Christ,
Avbieriarie Okpanavbiusi


Presbytery Report

Luke and I keep Presbytery (Presbyterian leader duders) informed of the goings on down at FOCUS. Below is our latest update. To read more about FOCUS you can also check our new look site.

Greetings in the Lord,
We hope and pray you are all well.
The FOCUS leadership team are really excited about the year that lies ahead. This is for a number of reasons.

Firstly, we can now happily say that we have an enthusiastic and committed student leadership team who come from a variety of churches around Hobart. We hope the team will serve create considerable ownership to the students who are a part of FOCUS, and will also take some of the responsibility off the shoulders of the senior staff worker Sam Green. They have already had a few meetings over the summer and each member has been given various responsibilities, such as fund raising, evangelism, publicity and the like.

Secondly, we are joined by Luke Hansard who will hopefully see that the FOCUS’ International student work is given its due emphasis. In addition he will relieve Sam of some responsibilities as he preaches 1/3 of the sermons and takes on certain areas of oversight and decision making. January 2008 has also seen Damon step back in his role as an (MTS) Apprentice. Michael Jolly will be continuing on for another 12 months and has recently gained an additional job as a Residential Fellow at Jane Franklin Hall. This is an important and strategic move in the University FOCUS ministry.

Thirdly, we recognise afresh the ‘bottle-neck’ that is campus ministry. As study at the university becomes increasingly significant for future employment prospects of all Tasmanians we see that our ministry on campus is vital. We must seize the opportunity to speak into the lives of students while they are easiest to reach not only ideologically but also simply spatially as they gather on our campus.
Finally, we are excited that we are not alone in this weighty task. We know that we have God’s blessing as well as the blessing of his churches all around Hobart and beyond. As such we urge that you continue to support this ministry by seeing that it has a high profile in your churches. In addition please be generous with your prayers and any other resources you are able to provide us with.

Thanks again for your support and interest.
Yours in our glorious Gospel,

Luke Hansard and Mike Jolly
(On behalf of the FOCUS team)


Moving to Jane

We've moved house. I've also begun working as a Resident Fellow up at Jane Franklin Hall (this is an addition to my MTS university work).

The pictures are of our room as it was being built a bit over a week ago. More pictures of it now that we have moved in coming soon.

Thanks to all the people who helped us with the move. Particularly Luke, Katie, Jonny, Sam for the trailer and especially Mikey our unstoppable Crossroads pastor who isn't beyond anything.