Those of you have been reading along with us for some time will have already met Carmelina Read, who gave the first main address at the EQUIP conference, here. I thought we would repost the earlier interview we did with Carmelina, with an added tidbit on how she came to be involved in EQUIP.
How did you come to faith in Christ?
When I was 4, I met the girl across the road (our parents both still live in the houses we lived in then). Her family are from Jordan and my family are Italian. Neither of us could speak English but we communicated through the language of dolls! I was brought up in a Roman Catholic family and my friend's father was a Baptist minister. (God is amazing the way he brings people together!) When we were in high school, I found life very hard as I struggled to live in 2 cultures which were very different (ie, traditional Italian and Australian). My friend was very supportive. I also started to think more about what would happen to me when I died. I remember thinking that I didn't think I was bad enough to go to hell, but I knew I wasn't good enough to go straight to heaven. I had never read the Bible even though I had been taught Roman Catholic doctrine. My friend explained to me that I could be sure of going to heaven if I trusted that Jesus had died for all my sin. This was great news to me. And so we started to do Bible study together. At first this was strange because I thought only priests could read the Bible. But the more we studied, the more I became convinced that Jesus' death was a complete, perfect, once for all sacrifice for my sins. I guess it is around this time that I first put my trust in Jesus' death alone for the forgiveness of my sin and a certain hope set in. This was a revolutionary time. At the end of uni, I started going to a Protestant church and it was through the faithful teaching of God's word that I came to understand that becoming a Christian also meant obeying the Lordship of Jesus. God helped me to see that because Jesus' death (not my good works) had saved me from my sin, I needed to respond to his salvation with obedience to His word. That's a long answer to a short question, but coming to faith in Christ involved quite a long journey.
What do you most love about reading?
It depends what I'm reading - if it's a travel novel, I love that reading transports me to places I may never be able to visit or got back to (eg. Italy!). If it's a Christian book, I love the fact that God uses all sorts of people to help me to love Him more. Most of all, I love that reading is a natural method to lull me to sleep ... zzz!
What is your favourite novel?
Can I say two? At uni, it was Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, but now that I enjoy 'lighter' books, it's Tuscan Secrets by Marlena de Blasi (because it's all about food, Italians and Italy!)
What book has helped you the most in growing in your knowledge of God?
Calvin's Institutes. I read them at Bible college and his understanding of God's grace in salvation and in how we are able to live the Christian life helped me to know that God is overwhelmingly kind and gracious.
How did you come to be involved in EQUIP?
I can't remember the exact year I became involved in EQUIP. I think it was around 2001. Di Warren and Isobel Lin invited me to join the committee and they've been stuck with me ever since! I consider it a real privilege to work along side the women on the committee — to see their love for God and their commitment to seeing women grow in their faith in Jesus. We meet once a month in my lounge room and I have to say, it's like no other committee I've ever been part of: 18 or so women in one room — what fun! Sometimes, my kids say, "Oh it's EQUIP night — great we get to hear all the laughing!"