Today, meet Jennifer Bauer, the mastermind here at the BMW blog. She blogs about life in Australia at her personal blog Be Thou Exalted. If you haven't gotten enough of our awesome critter stories around here, you would be really interested in the kinds of critters a missionary to Australia has to deal with: The Critters and Creatures in My House.
- How many children do you have? What ages?
Autumn (11) and Cody (6)
- Do you homeschool? Name your favorite curriculum that you use (whether just one subject, or an all-in-one):
We do homeschool. Currently we use ACE. (Here is why I chose ACE for this school year.) But we have used Abeka, Apologia, Rod and Staff, and a mixture of others.
- Country of service: Australia
- How long have you been there? 2 years, 8 months
- What do you do there?
Currently my husband is interim pastor for a small church, but we were called here to work with the Indigenous People. So when the new pastor arrives in two weeks, we will be going full-on with our new ministry with the Indigenous (Aboriginals).
- Are you learning a language? How is it going? Are you discouraged?
We are planning to learn Kriol, which is the Indigenous language spoken in our area. Most of the Indigenous speak English, but we feel it’s important and respectful to learn their language.
- Success: Have you had any encouragement in ministry recently? Can you tell me two or three things that have encouraged you?
We have had many open doors to go and have church services in the communities. One cannot just walk onto a community, you must be invited. My husband has had many invitations the past few weeks, and we can see the Lord making the way for us. We’re so excited! I also have my youngest brother visiting for 3 months. This has been a huge encouragement for me.
- Challenges: What is your greatest challenge in ministry? What other difficulties wear you down?
Although we are quite remote, we still have a stocked grocery store, wifi, and even a small Target, so in regards to location we are blessed not to have too many challenges. I think our greatest challenge in ministry will be reaching the Indigenous men. Alcohol (grog as they call it here) is a major detriment and a common past time for the men.
- How is your life similar to life in America?
There are many similarities to America. Although we don’t have some of our favourites (Lucky Charms, Captain Crunch, Cracker Barrel, etc.) we do have the modern conveniences (indoor plumbing, wifi, McDonalds, Subway, grocery store 2 minutes away, etc.)
- What are some special benefits you or your family experience from where you’re ministering? (or from being missionaries)
To be able to share the Gospel with someone who has never heard of Christ is just an amazing privilege.
- What are some positives and negatives of your culture (that you’re ministering to)?
I’m speaking more of the Australian culture rather than Aboriginal culture here. The positives is the freedom of religion, a very relaxed, laid back attitude among the people (no one is ever on time!), and the welcoming of Americans (for the most part, there are a few Aussies who prefer the Yanks stay home J ). Negative – hmmm…it’s hard to think of any, but if I had to say one thing, I guess it would be the amount of alcohol that is consumed here by the Indigenous and the white fellow.
- What sins might a missionary be especially tempted with that another Christian in the U.S. might not?
Not sure how to answer this one. The only thing I can think of is that nudity can be shown on tv here after a certain time. As well as any kind of language.
- What books have you been reading? Do you have any book recommendations?
I am currently reading Growing Up Duggar. I definitely recommend! My favourite missionary books are Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Diebler Rose and Jungle Pilot by Russell Hitt.
- How can we pray for your people or culture in a general way?
Please pray for us as we begin this new phase in our ministry in working with the Indigenous People. Please pray that we are sensitive to the Lord’s leading and to the people we are called to witness to.
- How can we pray for your family specifically?
That we will continue to grow closer to the Lord, for His safety and protection while travelling to communities, and as a selfish request, that we will be able to take a short furlough home for 6 weeks to be with our family during Thanksgiving and Christmas.