ADVANCE | step by step – Jul/Aug 2021

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.
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My plan for your future has always been filled with hope

Based on Jeremiah 29:11

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HOPE. Across the globe this Covid-19 season, we hope like birds in cages.

We HOPE the virus will dissipate; that vaccinations will help; that loved ones are kept safe.

How important to remember Jeremiah’s words:
“God has plans to give us a HOPE and a FUTURE”.

Take hold of hope by joining the National Prayer Gathering for the Covid Situation on Tuesday 31 August. Find out more below.

This issue includes . . .
FROM THE MD: Stephen Baxter with treasures new and old
INTERVIEW: Liam Conway Ministry Apprentice at Hobart: he is a gift!
HOSPITALS IN PNG: Prayers answered to avoid closure (a gift of PPE)
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Jenna Blackwell wrestles with being a missionary in Tasmania
CHURCH PROFILE: LifeWay Devonport, now ministering in the South!
MERGE YOUTH: Citywide are kicking goals
REGIONAL ROUNDUP: City, Latrobe, Westbury, Claremont, Citywide and Hobart
NATIONAL PRAYER GATHERING: Nationwide prayer against COVID-19
CONVERGE CONFERENCE: Advocating to our government leaders
NEED TO KNOW (news):
GATEWAY turns 145! | EmpowHer Northwest walk | Request from Library Aid International | Tas Baptists’ website | Fostering Hope devotional-zoom | Australian Christian Literature Awards | Baptist Basketball Grand Final | Stand Sunday | Farewell PETER CUTHBERTSON | Ray’s Poem

You can read all these in the download-able version

Be blessed this week!

Jenny

Jenny Baxter, God's love poured in to you

Jenny Baxter
Communications Manager
Tasmanian Baptists
jenny@tasbaptists.org.au

ADVANCE | step by step – June 2021

Love poured out, ADVANCE June 2021
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My love has been poured out into your hearts through the Holy Spirit

Based on Romans 5:5
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This Bible encouragement is such a good one. It’s so heartening to remember that God’s love is literally poured out, into you.

  • MAY ASSEMBLY from a first-timer, Stephen Avery (City Baptist)
  • Q&A with PAUL MANNING the new Baptist Word Aid Tas/Vic rep
  • YOUR CHURCH WILL BENEFIT from running Alpha.
  • PROFILE Hobart Baptist church
  • WELCOME to COUNTRY History made at May Assembly
  • TESTIMONY From Swami to Christian by Ruth Burgess
  • MORE FROM ASSEMBLY Michael Henderson and Jenna Blackwell serve you
  • FOSTERING Q&A with long-term carer Tracey Avery
  • FOOD FOR THE SOUL #nofilterchurch by Spiritual Director Denise Stephenson
  • BAPTISTS IN MISSION The Pastors’ and Leaders’ Muster 
  • FAREWELL Jeff McKinnon With thanks to a passionate servant
  • REGIONAL ROUNDUP Tasmanian Baptists in Action – Perth, Ulverstone, Wynyard, Citywide, Claremont, Hobart
  • NEED TO KNOW: NEWS – Religious Freedom Weekend | Training Day for TaCCs | TWO Online Baptist Conferences | EmpowHer Southern Walk | NCLS Survey 2021 |COVID-19 Crisis in Asia | Perth Celebrates | Hobart’s Luminous Festival | Pastors’ and Leaders’ Muster | Covid-19 in Bangladesh | KidzFest 2022 | Poetry from Ray Hawkins

Happy Reading!

Jenny

All articles are available here: DOWNLOAD PRINTABLE PDF >>>

Jenny Baxter, God's love poured in to you

Jenny Baxter
Communications Manager
Tasmanian Baptists
jenny@tasbaptists.org.au

All About Being a Foster Carer

Foster Care, Tracey Avery

Children Need Community

Advance Dec-20, Tracey Avery

Tracey Avery attends City Baptist Launceston, and is a long-term foster carer.

Tell us about where you live and what your family looks like at the moment?
The Averys
Tracy and Stephen Avery

I live in Launceston with my husband Stephen. Between us, we have five children aged between 16 and 28 years. In our home at present, we have my three children and my daughter’s fiancé, and we are preparing for our first grandbaby. Stephen’s two adult children live independently.

My children are not biological, they have all come through a government-run foster care agency. The oldest has lived with me since he was two years old, has tried living independently three times, and for various reasons that has not worked out for him. The middle girl is 18, has lived with me for 16 years, and her fiancé also lives with us. They are expecting a baby in August.

The youngest girl is 16, and has lived with me since she was eleven months old. I became legal guardian to the youngest when she was three, and the middle when she was nine years of age. Having guardianship made parenting easier in regard to decision making.

When and why did you begin fostering?

I have been fostering for 26 years. I started foster caring for two reasons: the desire to become a parent; and wanting to make a difference in the lives of children who were unable to live within their own biological family. Stephen is new on this journey with me. God knew exactly what we all needed when He brought Stephen into our world.

What are some of the challenges you face as a foster parent?

It can be lonely if you don’t reach out, it takes courage. Fostering is rewarding and has daily challenges. For me having three children, all from different families under one roof, felt like I was like parenting three different families. Since the beginning I have facilitated contact with their families, and although challenging at times, I believe it has benefited the children in making their own decisions in regard to relationships within their families.

I would love to see the church rise up and support carers and the children they are caring for, even to somehow connect with their families.

When my girls were young and we would go to church, and many Sundays I really had to push through to be there. I would watch people within the congregation connect with other children, just not mine. Perhaps it was because the congregation didn’t want to connect with them, but I do wonder if they just didn’t have the skills.

The church and foster care

As I journaled about this I wondered: if the church cannot love and connect with the children that come into the church through foster care, then how will the church ever love the people out in the communities and on the streets?

Fostering changes your life forever, and it comes at a cost to all. As a foster carer I have chosen that path. My eyes are wide open to the hurt and brokenness the children and their families experience. Whilst I have a choice to be a foster carer, the children don’t have a choice to come into foster care.

How does being a Christian foster carer make a difference to what you do?

I love the peace that God places within. On days where I have been challenged beyond comprehension, I still have this sense of His peace. Knowing that God loves my children more than I can ever imagine, I know He is my strength and He will carry me through those days.

What is the best piece of advice you have received about fostering?

I would advise others to connect and build a community around you, and the children, in your care. Most importantly, be kind to yourself, schedule time out.

Do you ever feel sad, or guilty, or uncomfortable about the idea of raising other people’s children?

I have had a range of emotions over the years. My heart breaks for my children, that they were not able to be raised within their own biological families. I am thankful for the relationships I have with my children and their families. It is my privilege to be a light and carry a banner for God into their lives.

Do you have support from others to assist you in your foster care journey?

Yes, over the years I have gathered a team of friends who are supportive of myself and my children. Honestly, I’m not sure what I would have done without their support.

What are some practical things people can do to assist a foster carer?

Befriend them. Come alongside them, and do life with them. We all need community, love and acceptance. The children need a community around them. They need that reassurance that there are people available to step in, to help out through times when circumstances are out of our control.

Pray that foster children will know Jesus
How can we pray for you and your family?

Pray that our children will all have a relationship with Jesus, and find the love and acceptance that they crave within the world. At the end of the day nothing matters, only our relationship with God.

I am thankful for my journey as a foster carer. I would not be who I am today if I had not had the privilege of raising and loving other people’s children. Even in the hard days I am thankful.

Tracey Avery