Student Story: Cindy Williams
Historical and Christian fiction writer Cindy Williams has found that studying at Mary Andrews College brings her more than simply knowledge.
Cindy began her study at MAC after hearing several Christian women at her church speak about their experience. Cindy shares, “I always liked studying and learning new things. So I thought, this is a really good chance to study at Mary Andrews College.”
After growing up in a Christian household, Cindy describes drifting away from God when she went to university. When she and her husband moved from New Zealand to Australia, she started to reconnect with church and with her faith.
Following a period of occasionally attending church, Cindy moved to a new church, where she recommitted her life to following Jesus. She shares, “At this new church, I did a ‘Life in the Spirit’ course. That was really the first time I’d heard about the Holy Spirit. It transformed my faith. From my early thirties, I came back to the Lord and was following him a lot more seriously.”
As Cindy grew in maturity as a Christian, much of which she attributes to regular prayer both by herself and with prayer partners, she came to consider theological study. With degrees in nutrition, public health and communications, Cindy is no stranger to academic study.
She describes the choice to study at MAC as an easy one. The location of the college was convenient for her, and she knew its reputation as a friendly college. Cindy remembers, “I thought, I’ll be able to meet other Christian women [throughout] Sydney,…and at the same time I’ll be able to learn about more of the formal way of studying Christianity.”
Additionally, Cindy hoped MAC would help her as she wrote her novel, The Silk Merchant of Sychar, as it was inspired by the biblical story of the woman by the well in the Gospel of John.
All of the units Cindy has studied so far at MAC were interesting and rich, but her personal favourite has been Archeology and the Bible. She shares, “[Archeology and the Bible] really…helped me with my research. It was fascinating to see how archaeologists find out about those times.”
Cindy has also loved studying church history in the unit from Acts to the Reformation. While it didn’t have much to do with her writing, she expressed how insightful and impactful she found it. “People died, gave their lives, to get the Bible translated into English so that everyone could read it and we often take it for granted,” Cindy shares.
Through her time at MAC, Cindy has not only learned new and interesting information about the Bible and biblical history. She has also grown in her personal faith. The discipline of hearing more about the Lord, talking about what you have learned and studying the Bible to write assignments has really helped Cindy. She shares, “It really helps you to build your faith because, you know, we often get busy and we don’t read and study our Bibles, but this makes you do it.”
The community at MAC also makes study enjoyable. Cindy has been able to connect with a wide range of Christian women from a variety of backgrounds. She describes it as a wonderful and friendly atmosphere, saying, “I just love [the women I’ve met at MAC] and I love hearing the stories of their faith walk and what they’ve been through. It’s really encouraging.”
With such a positive experience of studying at MAC, Cindy wants to encourage others to do the same, even if it feels difficult to go back to study or to study for the first time. Cindy says, “If you haven’t studied for a long time and you feel a little bit nervous, MAC is probably one of the best places to go to be gently reintroduced to study. The subjects are interesting, the lecturers are really encouraging, and you know you’re really cared for along the way.”
MAC is the perfect place for any Christian woman who wants to learn more or build discipline in reading and studying the Bible. Cindy values that MAC students are taught by people who have done the hard work and are well-trained to teach and support you. Cindy says, “You’ll always get a lot out of it. I can’t imagine anyone would go to MAC and do a subject and think, that was a waste of time.”
After recently moving back to New Zealand, Cindy has been completing the rest of her Diploma of Theology online. Being able to continue her studies has been a blessing. She says, “I love writing, I love Jesus and the Bible, so why wouldn’t I want to study it?”
As she nears the end of her studies at MAC, Cindy aims to continue writing faith-inspired historical fiction with what she has learned. Currently she is writing a novel that begins with the earthquake at the crucifixion of Jesus. She hopes that her books both encourage Christians, and challenge non-Christians to explore the Bible. You can find out more about her books here: https://www.cindywilliamsauthor.com