World Vision Mission Week
Northside students have participated in Mission week which has included a range of activities and opportunities for our students to be prepared as global leaders. All middle school students took part in simulation games which gave them a snapshot into the vulnerable lives of the world’s poor and displaced people from war ravaged countries like Syria and South Sudan. Year 8’s participated in a refugee experience that had them carrying water, crossing border checkpoints, building shelters and being interned in ‘refugee camps’. Underpinning these experiences was the World Vision Backpack challenge which was undertaken by about 180 students across the Secondary school. These students took up the challenge to live out of their backpacks with only the essentials for 40 hours, and united with Australians to lead global change by raising funds for World Vision to assist those who have had to flee their homes.
Mission Week also included our Backpack Night Out, where a small group of senior school students gathered together for a few hours last Thursday to stand in solidarity with young refugees around the world.
The night started with a UN simulation, where students represented various countries and had to make some tough decisions regarding some difficult questions, such as whether to intervene in a country’s internal conflict. After sharing a meal together, students watched an episode of ABC’s Ahn Do’s Brush with Fame, where Surgeon Munjed Al Muderis shared his journey from Iraq to an outback detention centre, and the career he has built since.
Students then broke into four groups and rotated through four different prayer stations, for an hour long prayer vigil, praying for Australia, South Sudan, our College and each other. This was definitely the highlight of the evening and a powerful way to end our time together.
This event, led by dynamic and committed team of year 11 students, connected our students with refugee and displaced people. This prefaced our Combined Chapel on Friday, where students watched a short clip from 2018 Northern Territory Australian of the Year, Kevin Kadirgamar, who inspired students to use their power to create the change they wanted to see in the world. We then had guest couple, Yara and Fadi, who fled Syria a year ago and have made Australia home. Their testimony was powerful and moving, with their integration journey beginning with kindness shown by a neighbour. Their story reminded us that the Gospel message is spread through service to others - little acts of kindness and caring, demonstrating Christ’s love.
Mission Week concluded on Saturday, 18 August where 50 students and teachers from the Middle School walked for 12 km carrying a bucket of water and their backpacks to try and understand the plight of displaced people. Throughout the walk, the students passed through checkpoints where they had a series of challenges to meet. These included handing over special personal items from their backpacks, coping with helping one of their family who becomes ‘ill’ and making border crossings before they closed. This was the brainchild of Gigi M, one of Year 8 World Vision representatives. Apart from the valuable experiences of empathising with others, Mission Week is an incredible opportunity to grow and develop leadership.
Our World Vision class representatives, from year 7 to 12, have been delivering lessons to their form classes for the last three weeks, educating their fellow students about the South Sudanese refugee crisis. In addition, the reps lead class devotions each morning, focussing on gratefulness and compassion.
So far, Northside Christian College is in the top ten fundraising schools in Australia. If each student who signed up raises $40, imagine the change we can effect for the lives of those whose future looks hopeless.
Mr Rob Burgess and Mrs Joan Malan
Mission Week coordinators
"I felt embraced in the spirit of unity and Christian faith"
"It was a time where I could be myself and share my beliefs"
"I would strongly encourage others to get involved next time and would hope more nights like this can be organised."