Charlotte from Brisbane
Hello my name is Charlotte
Charlotte is a 22 year old young woman who works in the marketing sector. She is a caring sister and is very much a people person.
On Home & Family
I live in Brisbane, Queensland, with my family. We are a very close family who all share a lively interest in many areas, especially history, other cultures and people generally.
I am the third of five siblings. My eldest sister, Louisa, is two and a half years older than me, my brother Arne, is a year older. I’ve a fourteen-year-old sister, Bethany, and an eight-year-old sister, Abigail.
I guess I’ve had a pretty non-standard upbringing compared with many Brethren, with Louisa being disabled. She has Autism, and is unable to speak, but has always been fully included in our family life. We have church every day, which she attends with us; she is definitely a recognised member of the PBCC congregation in Brisbane. As a family we have worked together to extend her to achieve as much as she possibly can. She communicates via a keyboard, and attended a mainstream school, at a time when this wasn’t common in Qld, graduating with a Senior Certificate from a State High School. Now at 24 she has her own small business. Having Louisa in our family has taught us a lot about tolerating differences.
Mum grew up in a very small country town in New Zealand. She worked as a teacher aide at the local high school before she met and married Dad. Mum is the homemaker in our family, as well as my sister’s main carer. She supports and cares for her, assists her to communicate, and helps in her business, as well as giving individual support to all of us children, and Dad as well!
Dad trained as an electrical contractor. He’s had a varied career over the years. He has worked in all aspects of the pumping industry for over 30 years and is now employed by a national business with head office in Sydney, as the Queensland Service Manager. He also assists at the National level.
Every evening we attend church, around 7:00 or 7:30, depending on the day of the week. I always look forward to this opportunity to revive and recharge, both with what I learn from attending the Bible discussion meetings, and the fellowship – the opportunity to catch up with the Brethren afterwards.
After we get home, I spend my evenings answering emails, helping with some copy writing for the PBCC Blog articles, or working on my sister’s business for an hour or two. She has a Motivational Speaking business to help people see what life is really like behind the wall of Autism. She does presentations to interested persons i.e. carers and support agencies, and families or people affected by disabilities for whatever reason. She also writes poetry which I help to visually present as a print for selling. She has those in an online shop which I help maintain, and I also do a monthly email newsletter for her as well.
I love the weekends as it is a chance to relax and enjoy life, away from work! After church in the morning, Saturdays are spent with family and/or friends, perhaps going to the markets, shopping, cooking or just relaxing.
Sunday, or the Lordsday as we know it, is a whole day filled out with church activities. We attend the Lords Supper at 6:00am, followed by a Bible Reading at 10:30am, and the rest of the day with Gospel Preachings. We have a midday fellowship meal where we enjoy entertaining or being entertained, either at our or someone else’s home. This is our life and I love it.
I went to a public state primary school from years 1-7, and then attended the Brethren school when I started high school, year 8 in Queensland.
The teachers at our high school are not PBCC members. It runs the same as any other school, except that the class sizes are smaller. I was in a class of seven; meaning we got a lot of individual attention. I enjoyed going to Agnew School; the teachers may or may not have enjoyed my time there as much as I did!
I received my Senior Certificate in English, Maths, Science, Accounting, Legal Studies, and Hospitality. I also did a business certificate in Marketing in my Senior years, which I have been very thankful for and have used ever since. I thoroughly enjoyed Hospitality as this is very central to our way of life with entertaining etc.
When I was at Agnew, the school was very new. The Brisbane school only started full-time in 2003, and I started in 2004. It is now a very well-run and established school.
I absolutely love travelling, the meeting and making links with people. I know many other members of the Brethren all around the world.
My mum is from New Zealand, so I’ve been to New Zealand more times than I can actually remember. I’ve travelled fairly extensively all around the country, having many friends and relatives over there.
Recently I had the privilege of traveling to the Northern Hemisphere on a small organised Brethren group. It was an amazing opportunity to attend meetings, and to get to know people from the other side of the world. It was absolutely fantastic! I was away for close on three weeks and in that time I visited, and stayed with nine different families. I’ve certainly made links with people that I expect I’ll keep for life. I had six days in the UK, and two days in Ireland, four days in France, and four in Canada. The unique thing about the PBCC is that is it very much a global church and the Brethren are the same the world over.
I had two fantastic evening trips visits to London when I was in the UK, and got to see all those famous places – Big Ben, the Eye, Buckingham Palace etc, and travelled the Underground. We tried to get to Harrods but they closed 5 minutes before we got there – good thing Heathrow has plenty of shops!
In France I had one night in Lyon and three nights in Valence. France was amazing. We visited the Alps, and Nimes, an ancient city in Provence. The food – cheese, wine and pastries… it would be quite easy for me to adopt the French approach to food! They reckon half the world’s population eat to live, and the other half live to eat. I’d say I was in the second half!
Montreal was in a way an extension of my French experience, with a Canadian twist, and in Kingston, Ontario where I stayed two nights I had the experience of Canadian countryside in beautiful autumn colours.
I couldn’t tell you how many new people I met, but it would be up in the hundreds somewhere. It is a terrific experience, and something all young PBCC members look forward to doing. It broadens our minds and horizons so much – an opportunity I will be always grateful for.
My sister, Louisa, would also very much like to travel. She probably wouldn’t be able to cope with the group travel quite like what I’ve done, because of her special needs. But now I’ve made links with people around the world there’s a lot more opportunity for her to be able to go with me, to get to see new places and meet new people.
I work for a small family business owned by a PBCC member. We do Retail supply, selling display and point of sale items to retailers and boutiques. There are eight employees – some are brethren, some aren’t. I work five days a week from 7:30am to 4:30–5:00pm doing the marketing side of things – website maintenance, blog posts, email marketing, brochure design and construction, etc. We have a fairly large customer base and are focussed on growth. There is an online shop with around 3,500 products and I am very involved in the maintenance of this.
Early in 2013 there was severe flooding in Bundaberg (four and a half hours north of Brisbane), following a cyclone. The Brethren in Bundaberg put out a call for more RRT support personnel following a week of feeding the SES on their own.
I was one of four girls who drove up after work one evening. We arrived about 11pm, started at 4:30 the following morning, and worked all day serving food to the SES and other emergency services . We only did that for a couple of days, but it seemed a very long time. We were based at SES headquarters, and the ambulance had set up a temporary base there as well. Workers were coming in at all hours for food. It was a very rewarding opportunity; the fact that we knew we were directly supporting the SES and the ambulance people who were saving lives and restoring homes.
The devastation there was incredible. One police officer told me he seen all sorts of disaster zones, and he said, “This is the worst I’ve ever seen”. It was quite affecting to see a big tough police officer so upset about it. They had a counsellor set up at the SES headquarters to support the emergency workers because some were so emotionally affected. The fact that we were there with the food, at any hour basically, meant that they had something they could fall back on, somewhere they could go that was a retreat from the devastation, the mud and the emotion of it all.
A People Person
I would say I’m definitely energised by people; I just love being with people, talking to them and discovering their stories.
I’m a member of the Plymouth Brethren’s Christian Church, I’m a Christian, and I love the Lord Jesus. I was born into the Brethren and I feel like we’ve been given a lot of knowledge about spiritual things. This is the best way I know of to live a life of faith while here on earth, as we’re encouraged to form our own personal links with the Lord and look forward to eternity with Him.
I am extremely thankful I am in this fellowship, and I could never leave. The opportunities are unique – the fact that I can go anywhere in the world, and can feel at home, and can trust the people I am with. I don’t have to do or be anything different anywhere else than I am here in Brisbane.
It’s so comforting to know that I’ve always got someone or something to fall back on. There’s a lot of love in amongst the Brethren, a lot of support.