A dream about the death of her father and a stranger by the side of a road in Darwin play key roles in the story of Tara McDermott’s baptism. They are just some of the providential experiences that brought meaning to the science graduate’s life and led her to study teaching at Avondale.
Tara’s journey of faith began when she received a pocket Bible. “God felt real; the words rang true.” When her car broke down, a mechanic invited her to a Seventh-day Adventist church—the worship service felt like “a homecoming”. Then she purchased land next to another Adventist church. Along the way she met church members who helped answer her questions and provided sources for evidence. But, about four years later, she still hadn’t been baptised. “I felt frustrated.”
Then came the “vivid” dream. Despite being estranged from her father, “I just knew I had to see him.” Tara flew to the Top End the next day only to learn her father had received an urgent call to Afghanistan. The two spent only one day together. “I asked God, ‘What am I doing here?’” Then, while on a walk, Tara found an ID card, which she decided to return personally to its owner.
On the drive out she twice saw an old man by the side of the road and sensed the need to stop. “I don’t usually offer lifts to strangers.” He was a follower of Jesus and wanted to visit his sister, a pastor, who lived a long way out of town. A couple of weeks later Tara found herself worshipping with her new friends and their friends. “Someone had a guitar and we sang, then talk turned to baptism. ‘Oh, you haven’t been baptised,’ they said. So, we all jumped in the car and went off to this river. I’m excited but as we get to the river they sense I’m a bit hesitant. ‘We’ve never had anyone taken by a crocodile.’ It’s another test of my faith.”
The experience is a blessing for Tara. “God gives you the desires of your heart, right? Well, I got to be baptised just like Jesus.”
Tara joins the Wyee Seventh-day Adventist Church through profession of faith. Serving as the young adult ministry leader has helped her develop as a teacher. “God’s been very real in my life. He’s done things I want to tell other people about.”
Tara is clear now about her role as a Christian science teacher: “I need to help students look at the evidence and follow a logical progression but also to understand where the answers end and faith begins.”
This influence begins with an investment in education: quality teachers produce quality students. Avondale offers pre-service science teachers like Tara some of the best mentoring, modelling and training in the country, but it lacks some of the necessary equipment. “Science is difficult enough without having to worry about whether the problem is with your equipment,” says Tara. New equipment works and reflects advances in science. “You’ve got to trust your equipment so you can test the theory.”
Science matters to Tara and to the children who will sit in her classroom. “I came to Avondale to be a teacher of excellence, to understand the way the world works and the way God works in the world. What’s the point of this knowledge and understanding if you can’t pass it on?”
When you partner with Avondale to support science teacher training, you’re not only giving children the grounding that understanding science from a Christian perspective brings but also helping them understand their place and purpose in the world.
Science Matters Campaign
Donate by June 30 to equip students like Tara for purposeful Christian science teaching. Donations above $2 are tax deductible in Australia. www.avondale.edu.au/giving
Brenton Stacey is the Public Relations and Philanthropy Officer at Avondale University College.