Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Bus Run

Possibly my favourite time on Sunday is the bus run. I leave home and pick up a lady who comes with me to two hostels in town where some of our church stay. The people I pick up are amazing. Some of them are renowned artists, and yet you wouldn’t know it. Some of them are so sick that they find it hard to walk up the 2 steps to get into the bus, and on their way out they have to sit down to get out. My heart breaks. I have been looking at ways to make our bus more easily accessible for people in walkers and wheelchairs, to make it more dignified for these precious people who can’t wait to come to church. If I am later than 9am to pick them up, they tell me I’m late ūüôā (our service only starts at 10 and we are less than 5 minutes away). Church for them is the highlight of their week.

Sometimes (more often than not) we get to go on an adventure. We’re driving and we’ll get almost to church and they’ll say “Kungka (girl), can you go get my brother/ sister from ………. “and so the adventure begins :-). One day we headed out through the pass (for those of you who know¬†Alice, it is the way out of town,on the other side of the ranges). They told me we were going to Karnte (kunda) camp. So we go, after travelling for a few minutes¬†they tell me to turn off the highway to the right and then follow the road which looks like it leads to¬†nowhere. If it was at night I would have thought they were trying to¬†get rid of me :-). I said “where are you taking me?” and they just laughed and ushered me on with a wave of their hand.

Well we arrive at the camp and we say which house? And they say “the new one” which could be any of 5 new houses there.¬†I finally pull up in front of the house they agree on and they tell me to go knock on the door, but there was no Bob there. So we go around the other side of the camp and this lady waves us down and asks whether I’ll drive her to the shop. I¬†said “no, but I’ll take¬†you to church”. Before I know it, she is on the bus and all these¬†people from what seem out of nowhere stream on the bus and even try to fit into the boot as there¬†are not enough sets. I¬†tell them sorry, but I can’t take them all. So some get out. The¬†lady who first got in was holding a baby and asked if we could go back around to the other side of the camp to pick up her pram, so back we go and then head off on our way, without Bob who we came for, but with 10 others that we were not anticipating.¬†

Now I assumed that when we got out at church that they would all just get out of the bus and leave to go to the shops where they were hoping to get  a lift to in the first place, but ALL of them stuck around, went into church and stayed for the whole service and looked liked they enjoyed themselves.

This is only one of the many adventures, one week we were told that someone was staying at¬†a camp and it was the green house on the left.¬†Well we arrive at the camp and there are green houses everywhere… but¬†that’s another story…. Sometimes I think, if only I could learn the language really quick then I’d be right, but what language do I learn? There are so many here. I think the¬†main language that I need to speak is that of love and respect, which is the language that my Lord Jesus speaks, so I’ll just need to make sure I spend as much time as I can with him so I can know this language more fluently.

On the side- for those of you are pray-ers, please pray for provision to fix or replace our bigger bus. It recently began overheating and the mechanic said yesterday it has a cracked head, which is not a cheap thing to replace… We need the bus to pick up people for church (there are other people who do a different bus run whilst I do one), but also for when the outreach teams come. We have a creative God who is not short on provision for his children, so when you remember please pray, thanks.

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Just like Cathy… ;-)

Well, you know a¬†“long-time” friend¬†of mine recently posted her Catchphrase… (see hers, well one of her many ūüôā¬†here¬†) and so it got me thinking about mine…¬† I think I’d better go with this slip of paper that I have been keeping on my fridge forever (even in amongst about 4 or 5 moves) it is one of the first things unpacked… It too is a quote from Mother Teresa.

I know that you think you should make a trip to Calcutta, but I strongly advise you to save your airfare and spend it on the poor in your own country. It’s easy to love people far away. It’s not always easy to love those who live right next to us. There are thousands of people dying for a bit of bread, but there are thousands more¬†dying for a bit of love or a bit of acknowledgement.

The truth is that the worst disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis; it’s being unwanted, it’s being left out, it’s being forgotten.- Mother Teresa

¬†Hmm, food for thought huh? Alice Springs keeps this quote in the forefront of my mind, but where ever you are, God calls us to love… even when it’s tough.

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Zion helping out

updating our world with ZionZion helping daddy make our car a territorian

Categories: fun in the sun, stories | 1 Comment

Getting back my song

No matter what language barriers, music has the ability to bring people together. I¬†had a most lovely experience on Thursday evening. As a family we go into a local hostel weekly to visit some of our church. They are in Alice because they are not well enough to go home and they miss their families and community greatly. We are supposed to go to bring them encouragement, but it is us every week who leave uplifted. The joy their faces show when they greet us is lovely… and this week, we brought in the guitar and djembe (African Drum)¬†and gave it our best shot to sing a song in Pitjantjara. As I stumbled through with the chords and words, I could hear them begin to join in and sing with me. Only a couple at first and then more and more residents began to join in. Even people who do not attend our church came and grabbed a chair and sat near.

When we finished the song, Ben asked if they would like to sing more and if they could teach us. So one of the ladies went and got an old hymnal and so we began to sing. The harmonies were beautiful and I at times had no idea what I was singing but I didn’t dare stop as one of the ladies was watching me carefully and if I stopped she would point to where we were up to and nod until I started again. Do you know how long some of their words are :-).

The songs were peace to my heart and sitting on that grass in the middle of the hostel grounds next to some beautiful sisters I understood why we were in Alice.

To get back our song.

And to help others find theirs.

Now, we were literally singing but I began to see that “our song” is a picture of¬†our spiritual and mental¬†wellbeing as well.

I was at a concert once in the Adelaide Town Hall watching the Soweto Gospel Choir and they were explaining how Africans sing through all occasions. They sing when they are happy, they sing when they are down, they sing when they are in chains, they sing when they are free.

If you can steal the song in people’s heart then you have defeated them. If they can sing, even in their darkest hour, then they are strong and no matter how much you bind them, you will never break their spirit. I think of the story in the Bible of Paul and Barnabas in chains and how they sung praises. They were not broken. They refused for their song to be taken away from them, and so no matter what they were going through they were conquerors.

Many people in Alice Springs have lost their song. Indigenous and non-indigenous alike. They have lost touch with their Creator who gave each a song to sing and one that is sung over them. Imagine if we can be vessels to release people to hear and see, not just physically but spiritually as well. I have seen God change lives through His Son Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit, these people have got their song back.

I want to never dull my song again and I want to be a vessel that allows others to find theirs again.

The ladies that we sang with would be passed by and thought of by many as the poor of world with nothing much to give. But to me they are possibly some of the richest, for most of them, have not lost their song. You need only look in their eyes to see that.

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first trip to the ocean

A lovely older lady was reminiscing to me about her childhood days. She was telling me about her first trip to the ocean.

She was 15. The lady has lived in Alice all her life, one of 12 children and is of Afghan/Aboriginal descent.

An Anglican mission used to take “the outback¬†kids”, as they were¬†referred to, for a trip to the beach¬†¬†

She was frightened, when she first saw it and then said “these people will never¬†die”- she had never seen so much water and assumed that the people had all of it to drink :-). She decided¬†she’d¬†take a big drink, so bent down and scooped it up into her mouth with both hands, which of course, overcome by the saltiness spat it straight back¬†out and exclaimed “they’re all gonna die”…

I was with her and her sister about 40 minutes and I heard the most amazing stories, I could’ve¬†listened all day… but we all had places to be…The last thing she told me was¬†about her list… “you know, the bucket one”(with a glint in her eye)… she has never been to Sydney- she’d like to see the opera house. Her sister said she better get onto it, being so old already :-). I would love to see her face when she does.

I could’ve talked to her all day… she had a wealth of stories… I do hope to come across her path again… if you could only see the glint in her eye as she spoke.

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Home school in Alice

So… I have set up our school room and the kids love it… you can’t see by the photos, but there is loads of space and they can find things that were before away in a tall cupboard. Our first day we painted what were meant to be family portraits, but (this is when I’d love to see a girl’s perspective) we got Dad holding a gun in one and my favourite, Zion said his was Dad in a storm… random 3 year old creative brain working… Love it. will take some pics so you can see the creative genius at work ūüôā .¬†So after our¬†Bible¬†morning fix we¬†go for a swim and then some phonics work (need to get back into routine where actually piano practise was first.

Very excited, this week we begin Pitjintjara lessons… although this isn’t necessarily the local language (Arrente is) but many of the people from our church come from ernabella and Amata and they speak Pitjintjara…. should be fun… See if I can get some videos uploaded at some stage for you to hear our boys once they learn some. They still remember a lot of the¬†Spanish¬†that they learnt from Carol in Young… so I look forward to see how quick hey learn this.


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Who’s who because of what they do?

I decided to go to this government forum today. A tad nervous to rock in by myself into this event at the Crowne Plaza, but I drummed up my old acting skills and walked confidently in… looking around, I seemed to be the only person who had come on my own… not really my preference, but I didn’t have much choice (it was a women’s forum to draft the policy for women in the territory)¬†so I think¬†Ben wasn’t really going to fit in.

Anyway I make it past the woman at the desk, who was very pleasant and I thought this is going to be ok, i’ll go find myself a seat. I found a table with only a few women on it, and some of the women only seemed a little younger than me so I thought that I might¬†give it a whirl¬†(I usually sit with older women, as I find they have much better stories). I introduce myself and ask if I can sit down and they nod and ask “where do you work?” Which I reply with “Nowhere”. Well the look on their faces was gold. They managed with one look and a just audible oh to make me feel as small as a linseed (by the way linseed is really good for you) they then return to their conversations as I suppose they didn’t know what else to say. Another lady walks in and decides to sit on our table. She notices I am not talking to anyone and so says Hi, What job do you do? I say a little reserved “I’m a stay at home mum” to which she smiled that wonderful smile when someone is talking a foreign language and doesn”t understand you but is too polite to say, and she turns away from me and asks the other girls “do you work”which they reply affirmative and then continues conversation with them, disregarding my presence once again. I wanted to scream out my credentials to be there, that I have a double degree and some, and tell them all about my experience in every job I have ever done, but I realised that although that was important to them- that did not make me important. I was just trying to impress them, with what? some letters after my name? I actually was qualified to be there without any education. The invitation was extended to “all territory women” to come and have their say about a new policy being drafted for women. ANd guess what? I am a woman, who has happened to stay at home with my children for now. I must say I was close to leaving, feeling a tad overwhelmed when in walks this lovely woman. She heads straight for our table and sits down next to me and begins conversation about how she nearly didn’t make it and was glad they were starting late and then we talk about ourselves. She asked how long I’ve been in the territory and what brought me here and I tell her about Ben’s job and she asks about the boys school and I say I home school and she smiles genuinely and says it is nice to¬†meet me… ah I said and you don’t know how nice it is to meet you!

Whether we choose to work, stay at home, further our education, or what it does not change who we are…. it is¬† a part of who we are, but it’s not everything…

What we value as society can sometimes be back to front. We say that we promote wellbeing and yet we say the quicker we can get children away from their parents the better. Our children are being “nurtured”by people not their own and we are proud of it. The policy was how quickly can we get the women back into the workforce so they can be successful. My greatest success story will be if my children become giving, sacrificial caring people… but I’m easily swayed by wanting to sound important in other people’s eyes…

I never want to be confined by what I do, or box other people with the same prejudice… we all have a¬†journey and it’s all unique… it’s our ability and willingness to learn from others from diverse backgrounds that will make us more successful and whole.

And of course if you are a follower of Jesus you know that our greatest sense of identity comes that we are coheirs with him. That we are now adopted into sonship (or daughtership) with the Creator of the Universe…!! What credentials are greater than that!

PS. During the course of the day, the other women warmed to me, when I was able to give answers that were half intelligent- we’re funny creatures aren’t we? ūüôā

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Starting at the beginning…

Apparently to begin at the beginning is a very good place to start ūüôā

We have been here 3 1/2 weeks now… and know that some of you are wanting to keep up with the goss of the Matsons in The Centre, so for you here it is ūüôā

Amongst settling in and enjoying the pool that we have been so blessed by, we have also been enjoying the “endless blue skies” and wonderful summer weather. We have been exploring the terrain (only locally so far, but will go further afield)… we have been visited by both sets of parents, the Godfather (am I allowed to say that on here :-), and Donna and Elaine… this has been lovely and helped us settle in so much quicker thanwe would have on our own. We are so blessed with people who love us.

We’ve started school again now and the boys are really enjoying it… will be putting pictures up…

We go with the boys¬† to one of the hostels where a few people from our church are staying as they are too sick to return home to their communities where they come from. There are many indigenous people on renal dialysis, it really seems to be an epidemic- please pray for them… they miss their families so much. They love when we come to visit and have been showing us their weaving and love showing the boys the guinea pigs and also love to laugh at us when we try to speak their language. I love to see them smile. It makes my day. And they love to pray! Next week, we are taking the guitar in so we can worship with them. I will try my hand at a couple of Pitjintjara songs and hopefully not say anything offensive accidentally ;-).

Ben also gets calls to come into the hospital to visit with some people. At the moment there is a fella in there who is in ICU, please pray for him as we are not sure how long he has. We want to see the power of God at work in and through us. Amen!?

We also visit with some of the ladies from another hostel. And I like walking through the streets just seeing if there is anyone to talk to.

Of a night we have had a couple of visits from women needing help. One lady was about 3am and she was wailing and banging on the front gates, so we went out to pray with her. We went out to pray with her and gave her a drink of water, but she began convulsing and hitting her head on the cement, so we had to call an ambulance…

We’ve been broken into whilst at church (not a biggie… everything ok) but the police said well we can call ourselves locals now (yeah right, that takes about 26 years- we’ve lived in small towns before remember ūüėČ

You know if you got caught up in the needs, you would get overwhelmed oh so quickly…so many hurting people, Indigenous and non. But (preaching to myself) we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus the author and perfector of our faith… He will draw them, and only He can transform them…

You know, we’ve lifted up our eyes, and¬†the harvest is ripe…. don’t say it’s 4 months til harvest… it’s ready!

It’s great that we give our time and finance to¬†mission work overseas, but lets not neglect our harvest field and mountain of need right here in our own country that is requiring some “laid down lovers’ to attend to it….

Well love to you all… missing my lovely friends and family¬†very much… but I am glad for God bringing to fruition dreams buried deep and just trying to be patient to see them birth fully…

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