Home > Opinion > Journey Asks Jill Prideaux – How did your Schoolies experience connect with your faith?

Journey Asks Jill Prideaux – How did your Schoolies experience connect with your faith?

Jill Prideaux

Most young Queenslanders have what is known as a “Schoolies” adventure in the weeks immediately following the completion of Year 12 at high school. This month Journey asked three young women who had very different Schoolies experiences how their Christian faith connected with that event.

Jill Prideaux

Jill went on the first Uniting Church Queensland Synod Fiji Schoolies trip.

On the flight to Fiji for my Schoolies trip in 2001, I was absolutely terrified of flying.

In an attempt to block out the sound of the plane engine and convince myself I was anywhere else, I put on some headphones and turned up the music.

As I shifted through the channels, I was astonished to hear the sound of hymns on one of them, and thought that would never happen on a domestic aeroplane in Australia!

My experiences of Christianity in that plane were largely in keeping with that first hint of Fijian Christianity.

Unlike much of the western world where faith is included along with politics as a topic that is impolite to discuss at the dinner table, many Fijians display their faith naturally and openly.

Probably my most treasured memories of Fiji are from the week I spent on the remote island of Taveuni.

Our group split into three, and my Youth Pastor Louise and I went to stay in Qeleni village with the Reverend Micah and his wife Salome.

I was really impressed by the hospitality of this couple and their village.

They were incredibly generous both with their material possessions and with the amount of time they spent with us, sharing their culture and asking about ours.

Even though by western standards they didn’t have much, they shared what they had with us.

Every day, at set hours, including quite early in the morning, long before either I or the sun could drag ourselves up, a young man would beat on a drum, signalling that it was time for prayer.

There were also regular singing practices for church, and the harmonies at the Sunday service were breathtakingly beautiful.

I feel that going to Fiji with the Uniting Church Schoolie trip taught me some valuable lessons about how generous Christians should be, and how important it is to focus on faith rather than being constantly busy with other things.

I came to further understand just how diverse Christ’s body is, and despite our cultural differences, how united we are by our fellowship with him.

Jill Prideaux attends Taringa Baptist Church and is working towards a PhD in International Relations at the University of Queensland

Photo : Jill Prideaux