Adventure Graham

Snippets of Graham family adventures in faithfulness

Tag: NTC

The Books are Here!

By Elizabeth

The books are here! We waited nearly 6 months for the phone call that said, “Your books are here, and they’ve cleared customs.” A couple of weeks ago, we helped unload 88 boxes filled with 2,700 books that will fill out the much-needed theological library for Nazarene Theological College—Auckland (NTC-AKL). We started the NTC extension site a year and a half ago aiming to provide accessible Wesleyan Holiness theological education. There wasn’t a classroom, equipment, a library, or students.

April 2018 class for students studying in Samoan

Today, we have a nearly 50 students studying in English and Samoan, a designated space with great video conference equipment, flexible tables and seating, rows of bookshelves… and 88 boxes of books! We owe a huge thanks to MidAmerica Nazarene University, Nazarene Bible College, and some fantastic funding sources that made it possible to send all those books across the ocean.

The next step in the development of NTC-AKL is a fully catalogued, fully functioning library. This is no small feat. This library will combine older books that were already in NZ and several thousand books from the NTC-Brisbane library with the new shipment. Thankfully, my dad is coming to the rescue with his librarian skills. He’s compiling a team of librarians who will catalogue, label, and correctly shelve all of these books in July.

So… if you know of any librarians, consider this a shameless plug! All librarians have to pay their own way, but we’ll house them, show them some really cool stuff, and give them a chance to use their library skills in a really significant and impactful way!

Books are actually pretty challenging to acquire in New Zealand. A kiwi friend told me today that she had ordered a book from bookdepository.com. It’s the UK version of Amazon and it ships for free worldwide. The only cost is time. It can take 2-4 weeks to receive your books. “I feel like it’s colonialism all over again,” my friend said. “Let me wait for the mail coach.”  Books sold here in NZ easily cost at least twice as much, if not more, than the same books sold in the US. That makes the shipment of books we’ve just received all the more valuable to us!

Spoil days with a grandparent (when the parents are away) are Q’s absolute favorite. His week with Grammy did not disappoint.

Sunday evening sunset at the beach

But surely unloading books alone hasn’t kept you occupied for the past month?

Other than books, life has been full with some other exciting things as well (hence, the lack of regularly scheduled posts). Q has been off of school for the past two weeks for Term 1 school holidays. He got to spend a fabulous week of “spoil days” doing science experiments, petting a rhino, and reading books with my mom.  Last week, we were able to visit another pastoral family in the capital city of Wellington, NZ. The 7 hour drive to the bottom of the North Island felt long. I think our American road trip muscles have atrophied! It was well worth it to see our friends, enjoy the famous Te Papa museum, see seals up close in their natural habitats, and visit Rivendell (Any Lord of the Rings fans?).

We had a lot of fun at Te Papa, Wellington’s famous museum!

Seal watching

This is what I call a seal selfie. The seal could not be bothered to pose for the photo.

Quintessential New Zealand. These sheep live happily by the seals.

You can see some other recent work over at The Foundry’s Community blog. The first two parts of a three-part Genesis series I’ve written were recently published here (Our Bodies Matter) and here (Creation Matters). The third one (Women Matter) should be live this week. I suppose they could be considered somewhat controversial, depending on the audience, but I think they are all things we as Christians should be taking seriously.

Parting Shot

Most of New Zealand really is as lush and green and hilly as every picture you’ve ever seen. But then there’s this: the Desert Road, a relatively straight patch of road a few hours south of us that reminds us a whole lot of New Mexico.

Meet Rob

By Elizabeth

 

Meet the Fringer family.

Teamwork makes the dream work. It’s so cliché and so true. Over the past year, we’ve been a part of developing education for pastors in New Zealand. If you haven’t already, you can read more about it here. The simple truth is, that we couldn’t make it happen on our own. We definitely sense that God has brought together a great team for just such a time as this. One of the people that we’ve gotten to work closely with is Rob Fringer, the principal of Nazarene Theological College in Brisbane, Australia.

When we met Rob for the first time less than a year ago, we had no idea if he’d be on board, if he’d want to work with us, or if he’d think we were totally crazy and blow us off. Thankfully, we came to the table for the very first time with a common vision and a big piece of the puzzle in each of our hands.

Now, a year later, Rob has just spent eight days teaching an Intro to Old Testament intensive to one master’s student, six bachelor’s students, five certificate level students, and two auditing participants. Over the course of the class, we got numerous text messages like, “This is so great! We need more time with him!” and “This is opening up a whole new world for me. Thanks for making this possible.” Now, the real grind for the students begins as they work on their post-work while maintaining full time jobs and pastoral responsibilities. We have the utmost confidence that they will rise to the occasion.

While we were with Rob, I asked him a few questions to help us get to know what motivates the person who has been charged to lead NTC and is helping to provide feet to a dream God has given us.

The Fringer Family from left to right: Vanessa, Sierra, Brenden, and Rob.

Elizabeth: You’re a lecturer and principal at Nazarene Theological College (NTC) in Brisbane, Australia. How did you get there?

Rob: NTC needed a lecturer in biblical studies. I was working on my PhD in Manchester while living and pastoring in New Hampshire at the time. When they called Manchester looking for recommendations, Kent Brower gave them my name. Through that process and a lot of prayer, we accepted the call and moved to Australia. We will have been here 4 years in June.

 

Tell us a little about NTC.

NTC was started sometime around 1953 in Sydney. It moved to Brisbane in the 70s. We have about 50 students with our on-campus and extension programs across the Asia Pacific Region. The demographic varies widely. We have lots of islanders, some Aussies, a couple of Brazilians, and some Americans, plus Fijian and Papua New Guinean students at our extension sites in those countries.

NTC is accredited through the Sydney College of Divinity (SCD) and internationally recognized. We offer two bachelor’s degrees, three master’s degrees, and through our SCD partnership, we offer a PhD and a Doctor of Ministry.

 

What other ministry experience do you have?

I was involved in youth ministry for 10 years, followed by an associate pastor of discipleship and outreach for 6 ½ years. I have taught as an adjunct for four different schools. I also served for one year as a Nazarene In Volunteer Service (NIVS) in Swaziland teaching at what is now Southern Africa Nazarene University.

 

How did you go from being a lecturer at NTC to being the principal?

God has a sense of humor. I thought I might become an academic dean at some point. That seemed to suit my skillset. Then, the current principal stepped down after being there for 17 years. The position was open. They asked me twice to apply. I said no the first time. Later, they gathered more resumes and asked a second time if I would let my name run. Long story short, my wife and I prayed about and decided to let my name move forward. Then, big surprise, the Board of Trusties voted unanimously to offer me the job and we accepted the position.

 

Speaking of your wife… You have a family—a wife and two kids. How are they adjusting to life in AU?

Vanessa is my wife. She handles the college finances and serves as the bookkeeper. Sierra is nine. Brenden is six. They love life in Australia. They love their friends, the wild animals they see, the freedom of running all over campus (where they live). They miss the snow.

 

What does your family like to do for fun?

We like to go on family holidays to the beach. We like to go to the Sunshine Coast. We like to go to the Australian Zoo. There are lots of beaches closer to our house that we like too. We also like to go to parks.

 

How often to do you see your family in the States?

We go home about once every two years.

 

What is your vision for NTC moving forward?

Truly, to see it grow. My vision is for NTC is to continue to train many more pastors and lay leaders, and through that training see the church grow, not only numerically but also in maturity.

I also have a vision that we would be a help and a resource for the church in this region (Asia Pacific Regional Church of the Nazarene).

 

We’ve gotten to know you through our work developing the NTC-Auckland extension program. Why are you excited about NTC-AKL?

I think it has so much potential. There are a couple of things I am really excited about.

  1. I am excited because it is strengthening relationships between Australia and New Zealand. On this field, it is strengthening relationships, and that’s really important.
  2. I think it’s exciting because it has been a real need for New Zealand, and now we’re getting to meet that need. I think NTC-AKL has the potential to be bigger in terms of enrollment than the main campus in Brisbane.

 

What about this program is innovative? What makes it work?

I think the things that make this program work are the contextual aspect of this program, as well as the leadership and the mentor concept that has been developed for this program.

 

How can other people be a part of what God is doing through NTC?

It would be great to sponsor a student. We have several students who have financial need. You can do that by clicking here.

People with master’s degrees in theology or ministry can serve as mentors to our undergraduate and graduate students. You can live anywhere in the world and become a mentor. People can volunteer their time if they are qualified to be a lecturer. People can pray for us and for our students.

Principal Rob Fringer teaching Intro to Old Testament in New Zealand.

Rob has had his fair share of other adventures too. He’s the co-author of The Samaritan Project and Theology of Luck: Fate, Chaos, and Faith.

 

 

Parting Shot

Auckland Harbor

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