Reflecting Christ's Love: Nicole Gentenaar

Nicole (‘Nicky’) Gertenaar started studying at MAC in 2014, after coming to know Jesus through Kairos Prison Ministries. She was working towards a Diploma in Christian Studies, and was to be awarded the diploma at the recent graduation ceremony on 24 March. Sadly, Nicky passed away in December 2016 before she could graduate. 

 

When friendsc19ecee8-e97c-4a10-8bd2-2fccd6cd4256 are asked about Nicky, the first thing that they speak about was her authentic love and care for others – the mark of a life transformed and shaped by Christ. There are endless stories of Nicky’s selfless commitment to others during her time at MAC. Janice Kennedy, who met Nicky through Kairos, says, “I met two people at her funeral who told me stories about her kindness. One was a new MAC student who was struggling with assignments. The other was a young person who told me how recently, when she found herself in trouble with the law, Nicky was there at court to support her.” Jackie remembers conversations when Nicky shared that she was late to class or late to submit course work because she had been too busy helping out other people. This was true to Nicky’s character. She was deeply convicted of her responsibility to help others, and she did this joyfully, regardless of the personal cost.Nicky loved and valued her time at MAC. This was partly because of the joy she took in growing in her knowledge of the Scriptures and learning how to apply them to her life. Margaret Padroth, a friend of Nicky’s and fellow MAC student, says, “She told me she had especially enjoyed the subject ‘Holy Spirit, Grace and Hope’.” However, Nicky enjoyed MAC for more reasons than just the study. She found MAC to be a warm, Christ-focussed community that welcomed her in. Margaret says, “Apart from learning, I think, for Nicky, MAC was a safe place. A place where she was loved, welcomed and accepted for who she was.”

MAC also gave back to Nicky the confidence in her academic abilities that she had lost since high school. Margaret says, “Being at MAC gave Nicky new-found confidence and direction in life.” It renewed Nicky’s focus, and she approached her studies with great enthusiasm. One friend recalls Nicky phoning her and saying, excitedly, “Would you believe it? I got a high distinction!”

There are many things that Nicky’s friends and fellow students know were true of her. She was kind, authentic and caring. She was compassionate and eager to help. She had a hard life, with a past that caused her pain. But how would Nicky like us to remember her? There is little doubt that she would want to be remembered as a saved child of God, and a sinner made holy.

At Nicky’s funeral, her friend, Jan Dower, presented a poem she wrote in memory of Nicky that ended with these words:

“And our loneliness will end …
And we’ll enjoy God’s promises too,
When we’re united with you one day.”

Nicky’s experience at MAC encourages and reminds the MAC community to continue to be a place where people are equipped to serve Christ, not only in ministry and at churches but also in fellowship with each other. It is a community that loves and cares for one another, regardless of each student’s different story. In this way, it is a community that reflects the love of Christ.


In memory of Nicky, MAC would like to launch the ‘Nicky Gertenaar Scholarship’. This scholarship will provide women, who may not otherwise have the resources or opportunity to undertake theological study, with the financial support they need to complete a Certificate course at MAC. 

 

Would you like to provide funding for this wonderful new initiative? We hope to raise $20,000 this Christmas – enough to fund 10 scholarships.

That’s only $2000 per scholarship. Could you help us to fund a scholarship for one woman?

If you don’t have the funds available right now, perhaps you could consider:

·      A special fundraising event, such as an afternoon tea

·      Asking for donations at your women’s Christmas event

·      Challenging your youth group to raise funds

We would love to provide women like Nicky with the opportunity to develop their theological knowledge, practical skills and personal relationship with Christ in the nurturing community of MAC. So, please do prayerfully consider if your church could be involved.

I also invite you to think about whether someone in your congregation might benefit from one of these scholarships. Please email us at macmin@mac.edu.au if you would like to nominate a woman to receive a Nicky Gertenaar Scholarship.

We are very excited about how these scholarships might make a Kingdom impact through women who have so much to learn and give, but so few opportunities. We do hope your church will join us in making the Nicky Gertenaar Scholarship program possible.

 

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— Story by Hayley Lukabyo