Friday, November 30, 2007

Bethany Group

On Wednesday mornings, Bec, Cara and Luke walk to church for the Ladies' Bible study at Beeston Free Church. It's called Bethany group. Here are a few snippets from our involvement so far.

Firstly, a word of thanks...A few weeks back, I (Bec) was asked to give my testimony along with a couple of other ladies. It was a great opportunity to look back at the way God has worked in my life. It was also great to reflect back upon how he's used others to grow and change me and also how he's well provided for us. There have been so many times we've had the privilege of experiencing the generosity of his people in lots of ways. So thank you again to the people who have been generous to us with your time, prayers and finances. I thank God for you.

Secondly, a good idea...One week at Bethany, we had a book sharing session. People brought along a couple of books and briefly reviewed them. Two tables were set up in the middle of the room - one for books which people were happy to give away; another for books which others could borrow (often the ones reviewed). We all got a list of the books and a bit of info about them emailed to us. I thought it was really useful because it introduced us to new books we might not otherwise read and encouraged us to be reading and talking about what we were reading. I borrowed "Finding Joy: A radical rediscovery of grace" by Marcus Honeysett. So far, it's a good read and I'd recommend it. A great reminder of what a privilege being a Christian is and an encouragement to remember what a privilege it is. Really biblical and practical.

Thirdly, some fun we had during half-term (a weeks break during the school term)...Bethany only runs during the school term, so during the break a few of us took the kids to Wollaton Park. Wollaton Park (pronounced Wool-a-ton by the locals, it seems) is a lovely 500+ acre estate , where deer roam free.

In the middle of it is Wollaton Hall, a magnificent 16th century building. It houses Nottingham's Natural History Museum, with all manner of stuffed animals including a seriously tall giraffe and a gorilla which is definitely male.
More info at:

Finally, in case you're wondering, yes, Bethany Group does have Bible studies too! We're going through Colossians at the moment. I've really been noticing how much Paul talks about hidden/revealed. Just lately, I've found Paul's words in Colossians 3:12-14 useful as I try to be a good mum amidst sickness, sleeplessness, tantrums and all the other realities of small children. He says:

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves
with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with
each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."

Exactly the things I need to remember when furniture has been drawn on, food is rejected again and dirty washing piles up.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Cara and Luke

One of Cara's latest passions is "helping" to cook. She tries to drag a chair over to the bench, gets frustrated because they're so heavy, squeals and demands help. Once she's on the chair, she stirs, pushes microwave buttons, pours in ingredients, tastes everything and tries valiantly to get burned. When Daddy comes home Cara proclaims proudly "Look what I cooked!", even when she's simply pushed some jam around on a slice of bread.

Another thing Cara's been up to is drawing. Sometimes on paper. All too often on herself, occasionally on her shoes, her brother (especially his face) and the wall. However, her real graphic achievement has been learning to draw faces...eyes, noses and mouths. They're still all in funny places, but it's a start. Her first picture was of Milo, a character from one of her favourite TV shows here - The Tweenies.

Meanwhile Luke is now almost 7 months. He's finally decided to choke down the occasional mouthful of solids. He's hardly a voracious eater, but he's at least beginning to tolerate being fed baby-mush. Especially if it's fruit. He already despises vegetables.

He's also started grasping things, so he's now able to play with toys more. This morning he even grabbed his dummy and managed to put it in his own mouth twice.
However, the trick Luke is really pleased to have learned is sitting up. He's been able to sit for a number of weeks now, but he didn't stay up for long. Cara would always get so excited about him sitting up that she'd hug him and he'd fall. Alternatively she'd push him over or he'd lean away from her and fall. Now he's stable enough to sit better by himself, Cara finds him sitting more boring and a friend has loaned us a curved pillow to put behind him.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Family Visit and funding update

The day before yesterday we answered the doorbell to find Jeremy, Dom, and Doyle on our doorstep, looking all forlorn and in need of a place to stay. So we took pity on them and told them they could stay in our ramshackle shed out the back. They were not amused, and are currently staying in our guest bedroom. At first, Cara was very timid, but she now seems to be enjoying having them stay here. Doyle and Luke are getting on well.... Luke is the one on the left.

Yesterday we all went to see Nottingham Castle. At the base of the castle, built into the cliff face is the oldest pub in the (known) UNIVERSE, called "Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem Inne." It is called this because the medieval crusaders stopped off there on their way to Jerusalem. I think it would only have fitted about 4 crusaders at a time, because it also vies for the title of tiniest pub in the universe. We had some "crisps" there and moved on...

We have also just received news that we have been awarded 4,000 pounds toward our study costs from the Gospel Partners Trust, a UK-based group that seeks to fund projects like ours. This is a great blessing, and means that we are now, I think, only about $10,000AUD short of our needs for our first year... great news!!!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Bec, Cara, and Luke

So what have Bec, Cara and Luke been up to?

On Monday and Thursday mornings, we have been going along to Under Fives. This is a playgroup run at the church. The Monday group is quite busy and noisy with lots of kids running around. Thursdays are quieter and more relaxed. The Monday group in particular has a number of non-church families who come along, including grandparents and dads who bring the kids.

On Wednesdays, we've been a part of the Bethany Group at church. This is a Ladies' Bible study. At the moment we're looking at Colossians, but there are also weeks where we spend time praying for missionaries, talking about the books we're reading and other things. During the Bible study, there's a creche which the kids have been involved in. Both Cara and Luke have settled into this really well (and likewise on Sundays at church). Morning tea is served afterwards and has been a great chance to get to know some of the ladies who aren't at Under Fives.

As a result of these activities (as well as the church services on Sundays, of course!) we're getting to know people really quickly. We've felt very welcomed into the life of the church, and also into people's homes. Cara is loving being with the other kids and is quickly making friends. A few days ago we went shopping with another family and she and their little boy, Josiah, played in the toy section together, held hands while we walked and carried one of my new shoes each to the checkout. Today, we met one of the church families at Highlands Park, a part of the university, to feed ducks, play in the playground and have morning tea in the cafe there. Cara and their little girl (Kezia - pictured here with mum, Jude, Matt and Cara) fed ducks, ran, played, ran, got dirty and ran some more. They're fast becoming good friends. Kezia's dad, Andy, is a CU staffworker here and a PhD Theology student at uni. It's been great getting to know them and Jude (mum) and Elisheva (4 months).

On top of these things, we have a shopping mall around the corner which includes most shops you can think of including a fruit and veg market on Fridays and Saturdays. Not having a car means we do more frequent smaller shops here. These are usually completed with the obligatory visit to "Cara's Park" - Broadgate Park, which is opposite the end of our street.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


This week has been great for the research. For one thing, we have finally had the opportunity to meet Anthony Thiselton! Anthony and Rosemary Thiselton came to our home for morning tea the other day. They are a lovely couple. They very kindly gave us a much-needed high chair, some apples from their tree, some other things for the children, and directions to a nearby nature reserve. Of course, Anthony also gave me some continued valuable feedback and guidance with my research. He has a huge amount of knowledge in my field of interest, but comes across as interested and helpful, rather than intimidating.

Here's where it all takes place: This is the central and most recognisable building of the university: The Trent Building. Research students in theology seem to have pride of place, sharing a quiet study room on the top floor, just to the right of the clocktower.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Beginning at University

This week I've been through the postgraduate welcome programme for theology students at the University of Nottingham, which has been very interesting. The staff and faculty all seem very friendly and knowledgable - I think it will be a stimulating environment. One thing that has surprised me is that there are hardly any postgraduate students doing Biblical studies - I've encountered just one other person - out of new and existing research students - whose main research sourcebook is the Bible. Overwhelmingly, students come to Nottingham to do philosophical theology. This is largely because of the fact that John Millbank is here - a big name in philosophy of religion. So this makes for a strange feeling - when many of the other research students are talking about people and concepts that I've never heard of...

The theology department here is at the centre of a movement within philosophy/theology known as "radical orthodoxy." John Millbank has a book by that name, and other lecturers such as Connor Cunningham have books in the same vein. The driving force of this movement seems to be opposition to "secularism" - and a determination to see theology unashamedly speaking into all facets of life and disciplines of study. Of course there is more to it than this - but so far I've been focusing on getting back into my own research - and am finding it to be incredibly fun - those philosophy of religion people don't know what they're missing!!

Just to prove it, here's a fun quiz question for you to ponder: What bit of the New Testament contains all these elements....
- Christians who are disappointed/dissatisfied with a low-key Kingdom of God
- A metaphor of sowing/planting (meaning the delivery of the gospel)
- A reminder that God gives the growth
- A quote from Isaiah about (the world) failing to see and failing to hear
- The promise of a future harvest that will vindicate present labour

Interesting isn't it? Told you this was fun...

Friday, September 21, 2007

We've Arrived!

Well after a 5 hour delay in Perth, we have made it to England! The weather so far has been great, and the people have all been very friendly. Here is a little photo tour of our first few days...

Here is a view of Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and Westminster Bridge from the giant Ferris Wheel known as the "London Eye."

This is the first Londoner we met, in a small clump of bushes near our hotel - alongside a major London road!

Our first lunch in the glorious motherland was fish n chips at a British pub.

Here is a street sign that made us feel strangely at home!!

This was our first meal in our new home in Nottingham - again, a very British meal of fish n chips!

A picnic in the park that is around the corner from our home.... We have been amazed at just how handy the house is to everything we need - shops, church, uni, park, playground, library, bank... it really is a blessing.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Body

This is a painting, just completed by Matt, inspired by 1 Corinthians. It is entitled "The Body"...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

UK here we come!

On Saturday we held a farewell event, attended by lots and lots of friends and supporters - the church hall was very packed. Thanks to all who came and enjoyed a British style high tea. Our whole family was appropriately dressed, in home-decorated T-shirts. Please quietly hum "Land of Hope and Glory" as you peruse the photo to the left...

Sadly, we also learned on this day that Matt's intended supervisor in the UK, Anthony Thiselton, is very unwell. If you are a pray-er, please pray for him and his family at this time. We are unsure what this will mean for the supervision of Matt's research, but trust that God has things under control.

We are now in close-to-leaving mode, selling off items, collecting visas, getting the house ready for our departure, finishing things up at work, buying webcams and stuff so we can stay in touch... it's all go go go! We're looking forward to having a bit of a holiday when we finally reach the glorious motherland, before Matt begins his commitments at the University in late September.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

What will we do after we finish?

Our big vision is to see quality, passionate theological education built up in areas that are currently least resourced in this way. In particular, we're interested in seeing theological education continue to develop in our own part of the world - Australa/Asia...

But what's the best way for us to make a contribution? At this point, we're not sure. We want to remain open to what God might do... Perhaps some possibilities for our future might include:
- Returning to Australia to teach in a theological institution here
- Moving to another less-resourced part of the world to teach in a theological institution
- Teaching in a theological institution in the UK or elsewhere that draws and financially supports students from needy parts of the world

So that's what our thinking is at the moment, but who knows what God might have in store... We'll be interested to hear others' ideas and suggestions as that time approaches.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Fee Bursary Awarded

Good news... At the recommendation of the University department, the School of Humanities has awarded Matt a "Fee Bursary" - which lowers the first year fees from the international student level down to the UK student level. This is worth 2,200 pounds! One important question remains: Do computers in the UK have a "pounds" sign above the number 4 button, instead of the $ sign?

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Preparing to Travel

It's now about two and a half months until we leave, and a number of things have been happening as we look ahead to our time in Nottingham...
  • We now have our passports, complete with the obligatory embarassing photos
  • We have just shipped off 15 boxes of clothes, toys, appliances, linen, kitchen items and even the oil painting that used to have pride of place in our entry hall. These things should arrive about the same time as we do, and will be delivered to our door.
  • We have been doing the "background" things that will enable us to get visas, such as meeting with the bank manager to discuss financial things, and sorting out our rental contract in Nottingham
  • We have completed our barista training, and now have two fancy certificates, proudly displayed in the bottom drawer of our desk
  • We have applied for funding from a Christian organisation that supports projects like ours - and will find out about the results later this year
  • We have booked our plane tickets, and are in the process of trying to explain to Cara that we will all soon be travelling inside one of those little things that flies through the sky
  • We have been buying cold-weather clothes!!

Over the next little while we hope to update the blog with some upcoming events...

Monday, April 16, 2007

Luke Elijah Malcolm

Luke Elijah Malcolm was born yesterday at midday (Sunday 15th April). He is happy and healthy, and mum, dad, and big sister are all thrilled. To the left is a picture of Bec, Cara, and Luke...
Bec is doing well, and getting frequent visits from Matt and Cara. Cara is very proud, and so far, very gentle with her little brother.

At birth, Luke weighed 3.13kg, and measured 48cm. His favourite hobbies are feeding, sleeping, and... well that's all so far. He occasionally opens his eyes and looks around, and occasionally cries, but he plans to develop more hobbies in the future.

Luke's favourite fashion items include blue beanies and white cloths...

...And soon after Luke was born, Matt made a celebratory coffee or two...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

April Update

No - Mixolidian Flip (the temporary name of the unborn baby) hasn't arrived yet!

But in the meantime we've got around to sorting out some of the support stuff. We now have:
  • A nice glossy brochure (thanks, Jen for the design!)
  • A form you can fill in to let us know if you're interested in supporting us while we're in Nottingham
  • A bank account for depositing Nottingham support money into.

On a negative note, we have heard that the university will not be forwarding Matt's research project for consideration for an Overseas Research Scholarship, despite an extremely positive reference from Prof Thiselton. We have been told that competition was extremely fierce and have been encouraged to apply for this type of funding next year. So if you're a pray-er, please pray with us that there might be a positive response from other funding avenues.

Expect the next update to include information about Mixolidian's birth and a new name for him/her!

Monday, March 12, 2007


Welcome to Matt and Bec Malcolm's blog! Here you'll find information, updates and personal reflections on why we are going to Nottingham. The big vision, as you can read below, is to be well trained to equip others to communicate the Bible's message effectively. Feel free to leave comments or contact us at:

matt and bec

Sunday, March 11, 2007

How to Contribute Financially

If you would like to financially partner with us in seeing this vision realised, this would be greatly appreciated. We are currently setting up bank accounts and financial documentation, and will need to demonstrate that we have a substantial amount of money before we leave, in order to get visas. Please email us if you would like information about how you can contribute financially. This will be overseen by friends and family in Perth, who will provide receipts for all gifts, and regular updates of our financial situation.


A Vision to Equip

Three Needs
Everyone needs to know and grow: People need to know Jesus; and as they come to know him, to grow in his service, by learning from the Bible.

If people are going to have the opportunity to know and grow…
Pastors, and other Christians, need to tell and feed: They need to tell the message of Jesus, and feed those who have come to know him, with clear, relevant Bible-teaching.

If pastors and other Christians are going to tell and feed…
Someone needs to train them. Our part of the world is especially in need of the continued development of world-class Christ-centred theological education.

As high quality theological training is developed here,
more pastors and Christian leaders will be equipped to tell and feed,
in order that people throughout Australia and nearby Asia will have the opportunity to know and grow in the service of the Lord Jesus.

“The household of God urgently needs faithful stewards who will dispense to it systematically the whole Word of God.”

John Stott

The Vision
Matthew and Rebecca Malcolm have a vision to see these needs met, by being included in the “someone” who trains pastors and other Christian leaders. An opportunity has arisen for them to pursue this vision by travelling to Nottingham, England, in September 2007, where Matt will be further equipped to be this sort of trainer.
What we’ve loved about being involved in local church and university ministries is seeing people grow in the knowledge of Jesus. That love hasn’t changed! What we are really hoping is that going to Nottingham will enable Matt to better serve and train those at the coalface of making Jesus known. In this way, our prayer is that even more people will grow in the
knowledge and love of Jesus in the years to come.”
Bec Malcolm

Why Nottingham?
The opportunity that has arisen at this time is quite unique: Professor Anthony Thiselton, who is a world-renowned scholar in Matt’s field of interest (New Testament, and in particular, 1 Corinthians), invited Matthew to apply to the University of Nottingham, to be one of the few postgraduate students under his supervision. Matthew applied, and has been unconditionally offered a place, after Professor Thiselton carefully considered his undergraduate marks, linguistic skills, and competence in interpreting and commenting on parts of the New Testament. It is hard to express just how exceptional an opportunity this is!

Matthew would be initially studying a two-year Master of Philosophy in Theology. In its offer of a place, The University of Nottingham has said, “Subject to satisfactory progress, your registration will be transferred to Ph.D.”

The University of Nottingham consistently rates among the top universities of the United Kingdom, and was recently awarded UK University of the Year by the judges of the prestigious Times Higher Awards 2006.
“The very best commentary on the Greek text of 1 Corinthians is by Anthony C. Thiselton. The work is very impressive.... Thiselton has outdone himself. Every section is well written, accessible….and penetrating.”
Don Carson

Why the Malcolm Family?
Besides talking this all through with other people, there are academic, ministry, and family reasons that have brought the Malcolms to this point, as they have prayerfully sought God’s guidance.

Academically, Matt did very well in his Bachelor of Theology, gaining first class honours. He was awarded the Felix Arnott Prize, which is given to the B.Th student within the Australian College of Theology who graduates with the highest marks. Since graduating, Matt has been given opportunities to lecture to B.Th students at Trinity Theological College on 1 Corinthians and 1 Peter, using the Greek text. Matt has also taught a number of “Trinity at Night” evening units, including “The Bible Overview” – a training course of which he is a co-author.

In terms of ministry experience, Matthew has been working in a number of Christian ministries since 1998. These have included serving as:
• Staffworker at Curtin and Murdoch universities with the Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students (a position in which Bec later served)
• Youth Ministry Coordinator at Darlington United Church
• Associate Pastor at Curtin Community Church
• Ministries Coordinator at Bedford Community Church
He has also been a guest speaker at a number of churches and Christian conferences.

With regard to family considerations, 2007 is a good time to be undertaking overseas study like this. Given their very young age, the interruptions to the children’s education and social environment will be minimal. Likewise, Matt and Bec don’t currently have significant responsibilities for the care of aging parents. Setting aside this period for full-time study will allow Matthew to focus well and move swiftly towards the goal of “training the trainers.”
“It’s clear that God has gifted Matt as a student, a preacher, and a teacher. It’s also clear
that he is intent upon using those gifts for the glory of the Lord Jesus, not that of himself! His acceptance at Nottingham is a great opportunity for him to enhance his gifts—and to increase the impact that his ministry will have on his return to Perth. I will be supporting this appeal. I hope you will too.”
Allan Chapple, Head of New Testament, Trinity Theological College

Your Partnership
To live and study in Nottingham, it will cost more money per year than the Malcolms have ever had as a combined family income: the budget (based on estimations by the University and local contacts) is 30,000 Pounds ($75,000 AUD) per year, of which a third is tuition fees, a third is discounted accommodation, and a third is living expenses. This does not include set-up costs or airfares. In order to gain a visa for travel to the UK, Matt and Bec will need to demonstrate that they have a substantial amount of this money already in the bank by June.

There are a number of things the Malcolms are doing to work towards covering this cost:
• Matthew is applying for several competitive scholarships, for which Professor Thiselton has agreed to write him references. The results of these scholarships, which would cover part of the cost, will become known around May 2007
• Bec and Matt are both pursuing hospitality training while still in Australia, in the hope that part time work might be feasible in the UK (Matt would need special permission)
• The Malcolms will be selling a number of assets, with the particular aim of covering set-up costs
• They are speaking to their bank and financial advisors to try to arrange personal loans
• They have the keen help and support of their families in this venture

However, the Malcolms cannot do this on their own. They would value your partnership to help bring this vision to fruition. They will need emotional, prayerful, and financial support.
Can you help with this? Will you be a part of this vision?