Being tour guides

Mark and Marion Schubert became involved in helping overseas students to settle in Australia following their own trips to Pematangsiantar in Sumatra to help teach English to incoming seminary students. On their first trip to Indonesia they found themselves in shock, trying to cope with the different weather, language and culture, but their hosts made them feel welcome and safe.

‘They took us shopping, showed us local places, and always explained things patiently, answering our questions. We learnt how important this was in a foreign society,’ explained Marion.

When Mark and Marion heard of scholarship holders coming from Indonesia, from the synods they had worked with, they were keen to reciprocate and help students adjust and find their feet.

‘Cut off from their family, language and society in a strange country, they fell lonely and homesick, as well as excited and wanting to absorb everything they can during their visit – we could empathise!’ said Mark.

Their visits give Mark and Marion the opportunity to learn more about the recipients and their different societies, and to ‘show off’ things about our church and Australia. Excursions have included feeding kangaroos and emus at Cleland National Park, visiting markets and wine areas, going to concerts, restaurants and beaches, travelling on the tram, joining in with family occasions, and worshipping with Lutheran congregations and prayer groups.

‘In 2010 we have been privileged to spend time with two scholarship holders, Rev Maurids Simoamora and Pastor Timothy Kising. Their times here overlapped early in the year, and as overseas visitors they struck up a friendship. They could be seen walking to the refectory for meals with heads bowed deep in discussion,’ said Mark and Marion.

‘As we were already showing Rev Simoamora around, and had room in the car for another passenger, we absorbed Pastor Timothy into our tour group and we all enjoyed the experience. Once we had afternoon tea with Pastor Edmund Bilney, an Aboriginal pastor starting work with Indigenous people in the greater Adelaide metropolitan area. It was fascinating discussing families, similarities and differences in their countries and work. Pastor Timothy was later able to join in the celebration of Pastor Bilney’s ordination at Murray Bridge.’

If you would like to know more about opportunities to personally support a scholarship recipient in your congregation during their stay in Australia, or ways in which you can financially and prayerfully support LCA International Mission’s scholarship program, you are invited to phone Nevin on (08) 8267 7300 or email

Read more stories about LCA International Mission scholarships at