Missions Week - Faith in Action

Missions Week 2017

A Northside education targets the head and the heart - thinking and caring, knowledge and wisdom. We care about developing character by teaching students to reach out to those who need help, being friends to the lonely and to encourage those who are down. While there are many opportunities to serve throughout the year, the culmination is our Missions Week.

This year we kicked off Missions Week with a live broadcast from the oval by 96Five. Family Radio came to look into the great work our students do for World Vision Australia and in particular for 2017's 40 Hour Backpack Challenge. While the broadcast team were on campus, they got to see other acts of love and care, like the Farmyard Breakfast the Seniors organised and hosted for the Junior School students.

Read on to learn more about the missions projects of the students of Northside Christian College.

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Junior School Breakfast

Thank you to all the students who made the JS Breakfast for Prep - Year 6 students possible! There was a lot of fun and excitement on the Oval - from the Jumping Castle, to the Arts and Crafts tables, Games, Dancing, Stalls and the very popular Petting Zoo. Everyone had a lot of fun and enjoyed their sausage snags!

The Great Jaffa Race - A Fun Fundraiser

Year 12 Prefect Grady Flynn reports:

Friday 4 August is now being affectionately referred to as ‘Community Day’, when all of Northside joined together for several fun activities. We are proud to announce the Great Jaffa Race was a huge success, raising over $900!

Students from Prep to Year 12 supported their sponsor children by purchasing Jaffas, orange coated choc balls, labelled with a unique 4 digit code. Six thousand Jaffas were released to roll down the College driveway, with hundreds of students lining the barriers of the race course in hope that the code on the winning Jaffa belonged to them.

Amid the frenzy of cheering, one Jaffa led the pack taking out the first place. A giant gummy bear prize was awarded to our winner, Thomas Skinner from 3B. A big thank you to the many many people who helped make Community Day a huge win for all!

Middle School Simulations

During Missions week, the middle school participated in a series of simulations to educate them about refugees and poverty. Each simulation lasted for 2 ½ hours and took the students on a planned experience to give them insight and understanding of these issues. In each game, the students were divided into ‘families’ and were given the task of surviving the conditions confronting them. While the Year 7 simulation was facilitated by the Year 11 Missions team, the Year 8 simulation was devised and run by our senior students from our Missions team who did an outstanding job!

Northside Christian College

The Year 7’s participated in a game where they were to make paper bags which were then sold at the market for $1. The families then had to make hard decisions about purchasing health tokens to keep each member healthy, or education tokens which enabled them to make bags which would be worth more on the market. Each round, the cost of health tokens and education tokens increased, but the price they received for their bags remained the same. The students wore arm bands which progressed from green to yellow to red symbolising how malnourished they were becoming. These symbols linked directly to upper arm tape measures that are used by World Vision in the field to determine the level of malnutrition of children – a chilling reminder that we live in an unequal world.

The Year 8’s and 9’s participated in games where they experienced the challenges faced by refugees. Some of these experiences included carrying water long distances, passing through check points with border guards who were looking at their passports and accepting bribes; filling out forms in a foreign language while under pressure; and working menial tasks to try to earn more cash to negotiate with people smugglers to take them by boat across the oval which had been set up with a series of obstacles. Families found it difficult to keep their members as many were sent off to the refugee camp where they filled out meaningless forms while they experienced the grinding reality of not having control over their destiny.

Northside Students Strap on Their Backpacks and Put Faith into Action

“With 65 million displaced people globally, I may not be able to make a difference for all of them, but at least I can change the world for a few.

Northside Christian College Missions Captain Joel Hunter sums up the reason for his passion for this year’s World Vision Backpack Challenge. He is one of the senior leaders spearheading this year’s Missions Week, 7 – 11 August, when secondary students turn their focus to the global aspects of Christian mission and put their faith into action.

They were among 50,000 Australian young people who participated in World Vision’s 40 Hour Backpack Challenge, a campaign designed to highlight the plight of the 32.5 million displaced children around the world and raise funds to ease some of the suffering.

During the Backpack Challenge, students lived out of their backpacks for 40 hours to gain a better understanding of the difficulties facing the children who have had to leave everything behind to survive.

Year 12 student Bethany Moore is determined to preserve empathy in an age when it’s so easy to scroll past things that really matter. She explained: “For me, the Backpack Challenge is something that allows me to step into something bigger than myself. Empathy is such a lost quality. If we could put ourselves in the shoes of someone less fortunate, even for just 40 hours, we could begin to change our view of the world.”

The 40 hours of living out of a backpack wound up with a sleepover at school. Students heard from a former refugee who now works at the College.

Money raised from the Backpack Challenge will go directly to World Vision’s work supporting displaced people with provision of water, food, blankets, and temporary shelter for some of the world’s most vulnerable children.

Understanding and Connecting

Northside Christian College students want to do more than donate to a remote cause. They want to understand and connect so they can make a difference on a meaningful level.

The Challenge incorporated a variety of learning activities and simulations to bring to life the harsh realities of the poor, vulnerable and disenfranchised.

Rob Burgess, teacher and long-time driver of World Vision events at the College, says since 2005 Northside students have raised over $260,000 for World Vision.

He adds: “In the midst of so many stories about evil in the world, it gives us a lot of hope seeing the beautiful spirit of our students who are tomorrow’s leaders. We believe the future is in good hands.”

Sleepover to Cap Off the 40 Hour Backpack Challenge

Year 12 Missions Captain, Joel Hunter reports:

Compassion. It drove our Lord to come to our earth, to live a life of poverty, to heal the sick, and to give His entire self so that others could have a future and relationship with God. This same compassion, which is central to our faith, is also one of the most important aspects of life at Northside Christian College.

On 11 August, students and staff spent the night in the College Hall as part of the traditional Northside World Vision Sleepover. Equipped with only their backpacks and sleeping bags, the students slept in “refugee camps” littered with cardboard, sheets, blankets and tarps in an attempt to better understand the desperate conditions faced by displaced people overseas. The evening included a talk from a former refugee who now works at the College, games, a documentary, and a prayer vigil, where students took time to pray for a range of issues in our world today, especially for the people affected by famine, poverty and conflict in other countries.

With over 80 students attending, the night turned out to be a great success, bringing all involved closer as a community and closer to the reality of the challenges facing the most vulnerable people in our world. The Sleepover 2017 was a great finish to an incredible week of focus on missions and an excellent opportunity to reflect on the suffering and hardships that millions are enduring in our world. Above all, the evening helped to build a culture of compassion among those who attended, encouraging them to live out their faith by reaching out into the lives of those who need it most.