The Lydia Project
Episode 67: Polly Smith

Episode 67: Polly Smith

April 15, 2021

Not all cross-cultural workers can be where they want to be in this COVID-era.  Host Tori Walker chats with “Polly” about what it’s like living in limbo with her family, and what we can pray for her and other missionaries/cross-cultural workers like her at the moment.

 

EPISODE NOTES:

 

Not all cross-cultural workers can be where they want to be in this COVID-era.  Host Tori Walker chats with “Polly” about what it’s like living in limbo with her family, and what we can pray for her and other missionaries/cross-cultural workers like her at the moment.

 

***

Polly is a cross-cultural worker, who lives and works in the Silk Road. She is the wife to a teacher and a mother to two boys. One of her favourite things to do is to spend time walking in nature and/or to spend time with her family. At the moment, her favourite bible verses are Romans 8:1 and 2 Timothy 1:7. She says that they remind her of the freedom she has in Christ especially from her own fears and lies.

 

LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

 

Bible Verses - Romans 8:1-2 

    

SHOW SNIPPETS:

“I think that the really big that happened during uni was a trust and a faith in the Bible and it’s reliability and that it’s something that I can stand on and something that I can really get to know  Jesus through.”

“Sometimes the M-word (missionary) carries a bit of baggage with it.”

“Do I want to willingly take my family into that?”

“It’s not so much what I’m doing as where do I belong?”

“I can let things be in my head quite nicely, but it doesn’t sink into my heart.” 

 

What can you pray for for cross-cultural workers who are not in their chosen country?

  • For  Workers:

    • Wisdom, clarity and trust in the heightened level of vagueness about the future
    • Housing provision for the whole time back in home country
    • Finances and work while back in home country
    • Wisdom around who and how to spend time with
    • Thanking God for his faithfulness
  • For our kids to feel settled
  • For the people group that we are loving overseas - for them to cope with difficult restrictions and infections and that the seeds of conversations had in the past  will bear fruit
  • For the organisations making big decisions at the moment around staff.   

 

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The Lydia Project: Conversations with Christian Women is a podcast co-hosted by Tori Walker and Taryn Hayes. It features informal chats with Christian women around faith, life, ministry and the ways in which God is shaping their thinking and their lives. The views of TLP guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the hosts.

 

Episode 66: Rebekah Hemelaar

Episode 66: Rebekah Hemelaar

March 30, 2021

For street evangelist, Rebekah Hemelaar, lockdown meant that opportunities to engage with people on the streets evaporated. But thanks to some out-of-the-box thinking, the evangelism team found a new and exciting way to share the gospel with others. In this episode, Rebekah talks to Taryn about how the team stumbled across online evangelism and how those initial conversations have grown into a thriving community of young converts and new trainees. Listen in as Rebekah shares some wonderful stories of people coming to faith online and gives advice on how to evangelise in different contexts. 

 

EPISODE NOTES:

 

Rebekah Hemelaar considered herself a Christian for most of her teens, but it was only when she was confronted with gospel questions -  while watching street evangelists strike up conversations with others - that she began to fully understand what Jesus did for her. Trusting in Jesus was her first step towards articulating the gospel well and sharing it with others. Today, Rebekah and her husband, Ryan, are a part of a gospel ministry team that focuses on sharing the good news of Jesus with people on the streets and, in the last year, online too. Ryan and Rebekah are a part of the Redlands Presbyterian Church family where Rebekah serves in youth and children’s ministry.

 

LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

 

NeedGod.net social media: 

Website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tiktok, Youtube

    

SHOW SNIPPETS:

“I realised, 'wow I had been sinning against God, I haven’t been a Christian this whole time.' I haven’t been trusting in Jesus to pay for my sins.”

“From him sharing the Gospel with other people, I heard it and I was able to come to believe.”

“The gospel brings light to his Word.”

“It is really wonderful that through COVID we’ve been able to share the gospel online.”

“They truly love each other, it’s a true body of Christ feel in this one community … It is a beautiful thing.”

“We keep each other accountable as a team so that we can be best able to preach the gospel when we have that time dedicated to that.”

“We share each other's burdens.”

“You can be a fly on the wall, learning while listening in on gospel conversations.”

 

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The Lydia Project: Conversations with Christian Women is a podcast co-hosted by Tori Walker and Taryn Hayes. It features informal chats with Christian women around faith, life, ministry and the ways in which God is shaping their thinking and their lives. The views of TLP guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the hosts.

 

Episode 65: Marian Guthrie

Episode 65: Marian Guthrie

March 15, 2021

Marian Guthrie is both a mama to her three children,  and also a MAMA - a Mature Aged Ministry Apprentice.  In this conversation with host Tori Walker, Marian talks about what led her to being a MAMA and studying at Moore Theological College, the effects of feminism in her life, and ministry through COVID times.

 

EPISODE NOTES:

Marian Guthrie is both a mama to her three children,  and also a MAMA - a Mature Aged Ministry Apprentice.  In this conversation with host Tori Walker, Marian talks about what led her to being a MAMA and studying at Moore Theological College, the effects of feminism in her life, and ministry through COVID times.

 

***

I live in Sydney with my husband, Stephen, and have three adult children. Christ Church, Gladesville, has been my church for over thirty years and is where I'm currently working part-time as a Ministry Apprentice. I'm also a part-time student at Moore Theological College, enrolled in the Advanced Diploma of Bible, Mission and Ministry. Early morning walks are one of my favourite pastimes as well as pottering in the garden or reading a good novel. Since COVID I've also started jigsaw-puzzling and binge-watching. I enjoy catching up with women one to one, usually walking and talking, but I also enjoy gathering members of my church family to join us for breakfast before watching livestream church on Sunday mornings.

 

LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

Katoomba Christian Conventions

Moore Theological College 

Marian’s TCGA articles

(book recommendation) Deeper Still by Linda Allcock

    

SHOW SNIPPETS:

“Maybe I’m just one of those stepping stones” (along the way to people coming to faith in Christ)

 

“I look back and I think, yep, God was at work even in those times before I became a Christian.”

 

“I think God's been doing a lot of work on me this year, in terms of the ways He has been teaching me.”

 

“I’ve had to learn (and still in the process of it) humility and being teachable.”

 

This episode also introduces a book club idea that we would love to share with you. Stay posted for more! 

 

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The Lydia Project: Conversations with Christian Women is a podcast co-hosted by Tori Walker and Taryn Hayes. It features informal chats with Christian women around faith, life, ministry and the ways in which God is shaping their thinking and their lives. The views of TLP guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the hosts.

 

Episode 64: Patricia Weerakoon

Episode 64: Patricia Weerakoon

February 28, 2021

Patricia Weerakoon is podcast gold! Despite the distance and occasional poor sound quality of a zoom interview, Patricia’s infectious enthusiasm for sex and Jesus shines through in this conversation with Tori Walker. They talk about her conversion through British missionaries in Sri Lanka; her work as a doctor specialising in sexual health; and her more recent speciality of being Australia’s favourite Christian sexologist.  

 

EPISODE NOTES:

Patricia Weerakoon is an evangelical Christian medical doctor from Sri Lanka. She is also an academic, sexologist and writer. She retired in 2012 after a career as the director of an internationally renowned graduate program in sexual health at the University of Sydney to pursue her passion for writing and public speaking. Her writing and speaking brings together her enthusiasm for sex and her love for the glory of God. Her non-fiction books are gold-standard guides for good sex for all ages. She also writes romantic fiction with a social conscience, bringing together her international experience in sexual health and her passion for her homeland of Sri Lanka.

 

LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

 

Website: Patricia Weerakoon 

 

Non-Fiction:

Teen Sex by the book

Growing up by the book 

Birds and Bees by the book 

The Best Sex for Life

Talking Sex By the Book

 

Novels: Patricia’s novels are in the genre of “faith inspired fiction”

(i) The Other Sister (2014)

(ii) Empires Children (2015)

(iii) Snowy Summer (2018)

    

SHOW SNIPPETS:

 

“We worship a God who created sex and He made it good and like all good things it comes with a purpose and a place where it gives the most pleasure.”

“Sex is more then what the World says it is because it is a good thing for a good place, but it is also far less than the World says it is because it is not your identity.”

“We are not our sexuality.”

“We are all precious in the eyes of God”

“We all are sinful people with desires and feelings.”

“We can love everybody as fellow sinners.”

“The 'don’t do it’s' actually have a basis of goodness.”

 

“Be out and proud for Jesus.”

 

 

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The Lydia Project: Conversations with Christian Women is a podcast co-hosted by Tori Walker and Taryn Hayes. It features informal chats with Christian women around faith, life, ministry and the ways in which God is shaping their thinking and their lives. The views of TLP guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the hosts.

 

Episode 63: Alexa February

Episode 63: Alexa February

February 15, 2021

Alexa February is our guest today. She has her PhD in Education; she’s a teacher; a dancer; an advocate for healthy living and eating; a Hashimoto's survivor and a mum to three little boys. Tragically, she lost her first two sons at birth. The trauma and sadness of this has brought Alexa through the fire, so to speak. In this interview, Alexa shares the journey of her pain and how she came to trust and revere God more through it all. She also shares helpful insight into how to care for someone who is grieving in a way that allows them space to grieve naturally. It’s a tough one to listen to, especially if you’ve experienced similar loss, but her story is not without hope.

 

EPISODE NOTES:

Alexa February grew up in Cape Town in South Africa where she still lives with her husband, Craig and their little baby boy, Caleb. Together they are a part of the St James Church, Kenilworth church family. Alexa has a background in education and received her Doctor of Education qualification in December 2020. She has a passion for education, dance and teenagers. Combining all three as a dance teacher of high schoolers means that she gets to translate her passion into her everyday work. Alexa’s story is not without much pain and hardship. Before Caleb, Alexa and her husband, Craig, suffered the tragic loss of their first two sons at birth. Yet, both Alexa and Craig attest to God’s goodness even in their loss and grief. God’s hand in Alexa’s life and her grieving process.

    

SHOW SNIPPETS:

 

“It felt like the bottom had fallen out of the earth. But whilst I felt bitterly sad, and shocked and traumatised, I also felt a tremendous sense of peace and very sure understanding that this was God’s plan for my life.”

 

“I was prepared to submit to God’s plan for my life, as difficult as it might be.”

 

“The whole journey taught me to rely on God fully and not on myself.”

 

“In the darkest times, I had a real sense of God pulling me towards himself … he was actively seeking me.”

 

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The Lydia Project: Conversations with Christian Women is a podcast co-hosted by Tori Walker and Taryn Hayes. It features informal chats with Christian women around faith, life, ministry and the ways in which God is shaping their thinking and their lives. The views of TLP guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the hosts.

 

Episode 62: Christina Retief

Episode 62: Christina Retief

January 30, 2021

Being shot at point-blank range in her stomach shortly after her wedding was not how Christina expected to start married life. But tragedy was not something that Christina was unfamiliar with. Nor was she unfamiliar with God’s incredible grace. Her story of coming to faith in Christ from a background of death, divorce and the traumatic stillbirth of her first child is one that highlights again and again God’s grace to us all. Listen to Christina and Taryn chat about Christina’s deep and joyful love of Christ and His work in and through her.

 

EPISODE NOTES:

 

 

***

Born in Germany, Christina grew up with Christian values, but lived a God-less life. The death of her father in 1996 started her search for the meaning of life and death. A divorce in 2001, and the still-birth of her baby in 2002 brought her to her knees, crying out to God. In His great mercy, God brought people across her path who began to share the gospel with her. Her newfound joy in Jesus drew her to YWAM and her journey found her in South Africa where she began to study theology through a reformed evangelical lens at George Whitefield College in Cape Town, South Africa, met and married her husband, Bruce and now, together they are adoptive parents to 14-year-old twin boys. Together they serve and are served in the Christ Church, Hermanus church family.

 

LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

 

Arise - https://arisefamily.org/ 

Ywam - https://ywam.org/ 

Gwc - https://www.gwc.ac.za/ 

REACH SA - http://reachsa.org.za/ 

The Sandwich Guys, Hermanus - https://www.facebook.com/sandwichguyshermanus 

I am Second - https://www.iamsecond.com/ 

One for Israel - https://www.oneforisrael.org/

    

SHOW SNIPPETS:

 

"I saw this light and instantly my tears subsided, my fear was gone. I just had this overwhelming sense of peace and belonging."

"I really investigated hard to find answers and nothing could satisfy my thirst for this truth."

"Seeking truth, seeking answers to these big questions." 

"I knew my baby had died. It was such a desperate moment. I was completely empty. 11 June 2002, I delivered a dead baby. My life was shattered. "

"I went home without a baby. Such emptiness. Because all my hope was in this child." 

"My trust was in material things." 

"I cried out to God - I want to get to know you!"

"Share the hope that we have in Christ."

"When I was lying there waiting for the ambulance and the police, I just thought, you know Lord you have a plan because I’m still here."

"She taught me to not ask God why but to ask Him to teach me."

"Let’s be available."

 

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The Lydia Project: Conversations with Christian Women is a podcast co-hosted by Tori Walker and Taryn Hayes. It features informal chats with Christian women around faith, life, ministry and the ways in which God is shaping their thinking and their lives. The views of TLP guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the hosts.

 

Episode 61: Sophie Renton

Episode 61: Sophie Renton

January 15, 2021

Where do unbelievers get their greatest source of information on Christians and Christianity from?  What are the main issue blockers stopping unbelievers from investigating having a faith in Christ?  How do unbelievers view the person of Jesus Christ?  Host Tori Walker  talks with Sophie Renton from McRindle Research about the work she did on the “Faith and Belief in Australia” study and the impact she hopes it will have for Christians today.

 

EPISODE NOTES:

 

Where do unbelievers get their greatest source of information on Christians and Christianity from?  What are the main issue blockers stopping unbelievers from investigating having a faith in Christ?  How do unbelievers view the person of Jesus Christ?  Host Tori Walker  talks with Sophie Renton from McRindle Research about the work she did on the “Faith and Belief in Australia” study and the impact she hopes it will have for Christians today.

 

***

Sophie Renton is a social researcher, trends analyst and Director of Research at the internationally recognised McCrindle. As an experienced researcher, Sophie understands how evidence-based insights can inform strategy and help organisations to thrive amidst change.

 

From her experience in leading the team at McCrindle, Sophie assists organisations by bringing a clearer picture to complex problems. Sophie is adept in sharing strategic insights that guide CEOs and executive teams in leading their organisations.

 

Beyond her commercial work Sophie is passionate about investing in Christian leaders, equipping them to understand the times so they can lead with wisdom and insight. Sophie was a youth pastor at Oxford Falls Grammar School for 7 and half years and now serves on the ministry team at C3 SYD Avalon on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

 

LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

 

McCrindle -  McCrindle Faith and Belief Research

    

SHOW SNIPPETS:

 

“I remember feeling the most overwhelming joy and trust in God that I still cannot describe”

 

“In the census it’s one question.  Anyone with a faith knows that it’s a lot more than one question’s worth to explain that journey.”

 

“How do we stay true to what the truth is, but also present it in a way that draws people in, rather than puts walls up?” 

 

“One of the greatest attractors to investigating religion and spirituality is someone who is living out a genuine and authentic faith”

 

“We love to resource leaders, to help them make evidence-based decisions”  

 

“I think one of the challenges with Christians is that we can be very involved in our churches and almost get in a bubble from what reality is” 

 

(not Sophie saying this) “Negative feelings come from things that happen inside the church.  Maybe try to push the Jesus thing, rather than come to church to find out about Jesus.”  

 

“The same God of the mountain is the same God of the valley”

 

 

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The Lydia Project: Conversations with Christian Women is a podcast co-hosted by Tori Walker and Taryn Hayes. It features informal chats with Christian women around faith, life, ministry and the ways in which God is shaping their thinking and their lives. The views of TLP guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the hosts.

 

Episode 60: Caroline Clark

Episode 60: Caroline Clark

December 30, 2020

Caroline Clark was nursing a bit of a hangover when she decided it was time to explore some healthier alternatives.  And so that night she walked into a church, and before the evening was up she had signed up for a weekend at Katoomba doing some bushwalking and listening to some Christian talks.  

Caroline has a delightful appreciation of all the ways that God is at work in this world, from his great act of salvation through Christ, through to the “ministry of presence” - just turning up!  In this conversation with host Tori Walker, Caroline shares about her time as a missionary in Germany, her life as a mum to four kids, and her approach to making the most of the situation that God has placed her in.

 

EPISODE NOTES:

Caroline lives in Sydney with her husband and four children. She is a member of St Thomas' Anglican church in North Sydney where her husband is an assistant minister.  Caroline delights in making the most of every opportunity to talk with people about Jesus. She also works as a chaplain at Moore theological college.

 

***

“At university I had studied theology… I knew a lot about Christianity, I knew a lot about  world religions,  but up until then I don’t think I had heard clearly who the person of Jesus was.”

 

“The principal said that 80% of people who went to Bible College ended up in ministry, and that had never even crossed my mind.”

 

"What are the circumstances that God has put me in right now?  Who are the people that God has given me?"

 

"Part of me wanted to have a formal ministry position so that I could tick things off and get that sense of achievement."

 

"Officially I had the title “missionary”, but that didn’t change things in many ways."

 

"Why has the Lord put me in this situation, and how can I use this?"

 

 

Even the ministry of presence, just turning up is an encouragement! 

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The Lydia Project: Conversations with Christian Women is a podcast co-hosted by Tori Walker and Taryn Hayes. It features informal chats with Christian women around faith, life, ministry and the ways in which God is shaping their thinking and their lives. The views of TLP guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the hosts.

 

Episode 59: Libby Hanson

Episode 59: Libby Hanson

December 15, 2020

For 33 years, Libby cared for her son Scotty who was born with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. In this episode, Libby shares about the faithfulness of the body of Christ as they were supported as a family through many difficult years. Scotty passed away in July 2019, but he leaves behind a legacy of a young man who shared the gospel wherever and whenever he could. Listen as Libby speaks of about Scotty’s extraordinary faith and how God continues to teach her new things.

EPISODE NOTES

Libby Hanson is married to Gary. They have two adult daughters and one son, Scotty, who passed away of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in July 2019. For 33 years, Libby cared for Scotty 24/7 with the help of family members and carers.

She finds Exodus 17:12-14 particularly encouraging:  "When Moses arms grew tired, Aaron and Hur bought a stone for him to sit on, while they stood beside him and held up his arms, holding them steady until the sun went down. In this way Joshua totally defeated the Amalkites." 

Libby says, “These verses have encouraged me to get alongside people who are defeated or in battles too big for them to fight alone, supporting them practically and with much prayer, standing with them, when they are too tired to stand alone and to keep on praying when they have no words left to pray.”

 

LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

 

SHOW SNIPPETS:

“The doctor said at the time, come back in 10 years time to get a wheelchair.”

 

“It got a bit scary for a while because we had to change ventilators and I was always responsible for his breathing and if I mucked up the taking the mask off and putting the mask onto another machine, it was like seconds he didn’t have. It was very frightening and I almost lost my nerve a bit. But he was very good and just said, “Mum, we can do this.”

 

“I heard something on the radio a long time ago about if we spend one minute for one person for one day a week, you know in years to come that is going to pay dividends. And I thought, I can do that! So that sort of started with a couple of friends whose children have not walked with the Lord. So that’s where I started - just picking one child one minute one week.”

 

“I just know how important in particular for grandparents to be praying for their grandkids.”

 

“I’m no great bible scholar, but I just love reading the Bible.”

 

“We have a cup of tea and a bikkie. And we will just start and read. And when the hour was up we would pray for each other and stop. The Bible came alive and just opened up for each other.”

 

“One time we decided to memorise Colossians.”

 

“The older you get the more time you realise you’re wasting.”

 

*** 

 

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The Lydia Project: Conversations with Christian Women is a podcast co-hosted by Tori Walker and Taryn Hayes. It features informal chats with Christian women around faith, life, ministry and the ways in which God is shaping their thinking and their lives. The views of our guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the hosts or the podcast platform. 

Episode 58: Kerryn Baird

Episode 58: Kerryn Baird

November 30, 2020

In this episode, Kerryn Baird shares how she and her husband - former NSW Premier, Mike Baird - went from seminary in the USA to politics in Australia. Kerryn chats to Taryn about living as a Christian in the political sphere, battling alongside their eldest daughter as she faced anorexia, and her passion for championing organisations that work to uplift women and children, including Collective Shout.*

 
Kerryn is wife to Mike and mum to Laura, Cate and Luke. She came to faith in Jesus when she was a young teenager, while working through confirmation classes with her pastor in Perth, WA. Together with Mike, Kerryn has had many opportunities to champion causes that highlight our worth and role as image bearers of God. These include her ambassadorship for various organisations that seek to provide support and advocacy to women and children in difficult circumstances.
 

LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

Kerryn is an ambassador for the following organisations:

Collective Shout: Collective Shout is a grassroots organisation that stands against sexploitation of women and children in the media. See Tori Walker's interview with Collective Shout's co-founder, Melinda Tankard-Reist in Episode 8 of The Lydia Project.

Lighthouse for the Community (Domestic Violence): Lighthouse exists to walk hand in hand with families who want to move forward from their domestic violence situation and experience.

Gidget Foundation: Gidget Foundation Australia is a not for profit organisation that provides programs to support the emotional wellbeing of expectant and new parents.

   

SHOW SNIPPETS:

 

“He said to my husband, ‘I think you might need to consider politics as your ministry.’”

 

“God is drawing me in that direction as well.”

 

“On the Monday, our daughter had been diagnosed with anorexia.”

 

 “What the porn industry says is empowerment is lies.”

 

“Boys are being sold a lie as well.”

 

“I remember thinking, I actually have to make a decision here.”

 

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The Lydia Project: Conversations with Christian Women is a podcast co-hosted by Tori Walker and Taryn Hayes. It features informal chats with Christian women around faith, life, ministry and the ways in which God is shaping their thinking and their lives. The views of TLP guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the hosts.

 

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