Wednesday, April 25, 2012


This will be my last post about Australia, and it's about the reason we went. 

Hillsong Colour Conference, Sydney, 2012

Some sisters we met at our hotel in the Sydney suburbs.

Mom being a goose. 

I LOVE this picture.

Donna (from Hillsong Sydney), Vera (from Hillsong Kiev), and Mom. Incredible ladies. 

Three cheers for Brooke Fraser! Beautiful inside and out. 

Pastor Bobbie introducing her granddaughter. The whole Houston family is heavily involved in the church, which was very cool to see. 

Mom and me with JD from the worship team. He is such a neat guy who loves Jesus. He's the one who jumps around and dances a lot, in case you've ever been to a Hillsong Live/United concert.

Pastor Bobbie facilitating discussion. She is wonderful! I loved her.

Chris Caine bringing it. 

This was like Day 13 in Australia and the Texans were really hurting for some Mexican food. We were introduced to Mad Mex and it effectively held us over until we could get some cheese enchiladas at home.  It was very similar to Chipotle. 

A view of the community around the Hillsong main campus (Hills Campus). 

Mom speaking for the last time.

Mom and Priscilla at the after party. It was bittersweet! There was so much to thank God for, but we fell in love with the people of Hillsong and hated to say goodbye to them. 

Mom with our host, Tom Bachtle, who is a great man of God, a humble servant, and a skilled leader. 

There's no way I can describe what it meant to me to have two weeks with my mom. I had the best time with her. We loved, loved, loved getting to hang out with Priscilla, Christine, and Pastor Bobbie. I can't even count the number of meals we got to share. One thing I regret is not taking notes during all of our conversations! Ha! I tried really hard to soak in all the wise (and crazy and hilarious) things they all said.  Each one of those women took time to speak into my life and encourage me. One thing God showed me in Sydney is that I was trying to give Him parameters for what I was okay with Him doing with our lives and in our church. (It doesn't work that way, does it?) I was also carrying a large burden of fear that was hindering my faith and stealing my joy.

Lastly, Christine and her husband lead an incredible organization called A21 Campaign. They are rescuing and providing aftercare for victims of human trafficking and also seeing traffickers prosecuted. Frankly, they are kicking butt. I was literally sitting next to Christine at dinner one night when she got news that more traffickers had been sentenced. I will never forget her visible reaction of gratitude to God and relief for the women who had been hurt by them.

God is doing all kinds of things all over the world with all kinds of people. Aren't we glad the picture is a lot bigger than what we can see around us?


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing!! Y'all are too cute, especially your mom! Now where did she get those red pants?!

Missy June said...

I'm so glad for the sweet time you got to spend with your mother, and of course the excitement and encouragement of the trip in general!

I really related to your phrase: I was also carrying a large burden of fear that was hindering my faith and stealing my joy.

I need to guard against that!

Kate said...

Amen to God working around the world!!! Praise HIM!!!! Thanks so much for sharing your trip to Hillsong!!! What an encouragement and fun it has been to read your posts!!

Lindsey T said...

Thank you for this post. I have enjoyed reading about your trip but God used this post to convict me of doing exactly what you said....telling him what I would be okay with. We are praying and praying (and praying!!!) that God would provide a place for us to live when we move for my husband to be part of a new church in June (like....weeks away June). And I realized when I read your post that I was doing just that- telling God what I would be okay with in a house, rather than just asking for HIS house for us to live in. Thank you for sharing a bit of your heart and what you learned so that God could use it in my life!! (And if you think about it, please pray about where God will have us live when we move.)

brie. said...

oh my goodness - so excited for colour london to start tomorrow night! it's going to be fantastic - i can just tell from your pictures and descriptions. thanks for the sneakpeek!

Dionna said...

Parameters and fear. Oh, Amanda. I think you and I have a lot of struggles in common. God has been speaking to me about those things too - I'm trying to open my hands in release, but lifetime habits are so hard to break. :)

Amy Beth @ Ministry So Fabulous! said...

I think it is incredible that you got to have this experience with your mom. You will look back on this FOREVER.

Also, how jealous am I that you got to see Brooke Fraser live? I'm currently listening to her Pandora station in my office as I type this...

Tara G. said...

So thankful for people who are in the trenches with the sex trafficking. We live in Kyiv (for the second time); it makes me so sad to see blatant signs advertising for these things in English in front of establishments where Westerners frequent. We see how the orphanages work and are so thankful for the many churches and families taking care of these {older} kids so they have a chance and don't fall victim.

amybhill said...

amanda- i'm so thankful for this post. i have recently gotten connected with an organization called "women and risk" and they send us regular email updates about various women and children they are trying to rescue. there is one baby "sweetie" whose story is breaking my heart. ultimately, i don't question God, but some pills are hard to swallow... i know He is working in and through these people and situations - even when we can't see or understand. i'm sure you have a long prayer list, but if you think of her, please pray for sweetie. also, i love all of your pictures. it looks like you and your cute momma had a blast. plus, you got to hang with hillsong and priscilla shirer - how cool!!

This Is The Day said...

What an amazing trip! Thanks for sharing it with us! Seeing the picture of your mom on stage made me think of the last time I heard her live. What an amazing gift she has to speak God's word to women, and how fun that you got to share it with her on this trip! :)

Kim Safina said...


I PRAY that AB is feeling better.

I have similar symptoms.
Standing on the Word from
Matthew 21:22 "Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive." Matthew 21:22
"The Lord will be my light." Micah 7:8

THANK YOU for being a "LIGHT" as you travel on buses,planes,trains,cars,etc.. as you share the journey that GOD has called your family to "GO YE THEREFORE AND TEACH ALL NATIONS"

It is always a treat to read your blog!

You are LOVED!!!

Cooking Up Faith said...

Your last words struck me the most. Love that sweet reminder!! :)

labride said...

I am seriously crying while reading the line about a burden of fear hindering your faith and stealing your joy. That puts into words how I've felt for a long time and haven't been able to express. I received the opportunity to sing with our worship team and last night was the first practice I sat in on. I literally couldn't sing for just straight out fear. Instead of experiencing joy for getting to do something I've wanted to do a long time and praising God for it I was held captive in my head spazzing out in fear. I couldn't even sleep last night for it. I'll definitely be praying for the both of us in that area!
Because God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind!

Jeannie (HAPPY HEART) said...

I am so glad you got some very special time with your mom. Your family has been so gracious to share her with the world for so many years. Thank you!


Walk by Fatih and don't let Fear determine your Destiny :) From one who struggled with fear for so many years. I love saying the Pledge of Faith from your moms study when I feel afraid. It always helps me remember to foccus on Jesus!

Lisa @ The Preacher's Wife said...

Just loved reading all your posts on the trip. Once in a lifetime, sister! That bridge and park reminds me of the one in Chattanooga but by virtue of being in Australia, the other is much more awesome. :)

On a sidenote: Just thrills me to hear how God is using BCF. Way to go PW!

Marla Taviano said...

Amen, girl!

JottinMama said...

You mention carrying around a large burden of fear that was hindering your faith and stealing your joy....sister, I know that feeling.

Before I hit the 'publish comment' button - I'm gonna pray for the both of us about this, girl.

SO glad you got such precious time with your Mama. Nothing like it.

Kate :)

Shelli Littleton said...

Beautiful, Amanda! You have been on my mind so much lately ... you really encouraged me in the losing weight area. I'm down 11 pounds in just 6 weeks from simply moderating my intake! Ha! Thanks, Amanda! (p.s. the free Disney dining isn't so free now! I'm paying for eating all that good food now. ha!)

Kristen said...

Haven't read blogs in a long time...but so glad I caught up on your Australia adventures. What a neat time with your mom. Praying for you!

katiegfromtennessee said...

I am so glad God is a whole lot bigger that what we see going on around us:)

HeidiB said...

I don't normally read your blog, but decided to check it out today. And now I know why God brought me to it...It's the things you said God showed you on your trip. That's exactly what God is trying to show me about a new venture that He's called me to. I'm putting parameters on it and not allowing Him to show me where and when and how things will happen. I'm afraid - and that fear is stealing my joy. But, He just showed it to me in those few sentences you spoke and I immediately feel a weight lifted off of me. I'm sitting here crying because it feels sooo good to know I've heard from Him and I can let it go - and let Him lead me. Thanks for sharing your personal story because it has personally helped me :)