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Author Archives: Reb
There was a song popular a couple of years back and had the lines
And I would go to the ends of the earth. To the ends of the Earth
For you alone are the Son of God…
I think on the lyrics and I wonder.
Are we just singing a nice ditty that jerks at the heart strings, or do we mean it. Do I mean it when I sing it. There was a fella I met a while back that said he won’t sing that line, because he knows he’d be lying. At least he was honest. Would we really go. Would I go? That same fella said that I was qualified to sing it because I came to Alice and that to him is the ends of the Earth. Haha. Sometimes I’d agree with him.
But it makes me think. Would we do half the things we do if we couldn’t get the satisfaction of getting those likes on Facebook or ❤ on Instagram? Would we go and do what Jesus said even if there was no-one at the end of the day who knew what we did besides Him?
Could we find ourselves so completely in love with Jesus that we could not only say ‘Yes’ but follow that up with action? I am hoping. Over the next year I am hoping to instil in our young people (and whoever will listen for that matter) that it is what is done for Him that counts. It is for Him that we labour, that we share, that we sing, that we get out of our comfort zones. What if, for just one year, we went for broke. We didn’t hold back. Think of what He could do through us. Think if we truly meant the words to that song! What a change this world would see.
What do you think? Are you up for it? I’m wondering if I am. I am going to fall deeper into love with Jesus and I look forward to seeing where it takes me. Would love to hear where it takes you!
Can I encourage you that in the busy-ness of our days and in all our preparations and celebrations that we still take time to stop for the one. To take a moment to see if the smile from the shop assistant is only on their mouths and not in their eyes, that the person we talk on the phone to who says their ‘fine’ really are fine? God wants to use us. All He looks for is a willing vessel, no matter how inadequate we feel.
Miracles await those who step out. Beautiful moments of us becoming aware that our God, Jesus, is in fact a living, loving God who can help us face our own storms and see them calm, and can help us show others Him.
Allow me to share a story with you about my yesterday morning.
I was rushing about trying to get our food shop done and banking and other menial but needed tasks. I usually go to the same checkout lady every week if I can, we have lovely chats and over the last few years we have been getting to know one another (well as much as one can at a checkout). However, when I arrived at the checkouts she had a huge line and the lady next to her only had one person, so I opted for the quicker option as I had my three boys with me, and everyone knows how wonderful it is to shop with three energetic boys in tow ;-).
I began to unpack my shopping and noticed that the lady had a bandage on her left hand and that she was unable to lift anything with it (which you can imagine would make it difficult to pack shopping into bags). I asked her if it was very painful and what she had done to it. She was unsure what had happened but said that it happened a few days ago and she had taken a couple of days off work but couldn’t afford to take any more. I felt prompted to pray for her. So I did, in my head. But I felt prompted to tell her I could pray for her. She is from a different culture and religious background than myself and I was a little worried I would scare or offend her but knew that God was impressing on me to tell her that He heals. So I asked her if I could pray for her to my God because He is a healing God and she said yes.
I thought great, she knows I will pray and she’ll remember when the pain goes away it was Jesus who healed her. So I prayed again in my mind. But again, I was prompted that I should lay hands on her and pray out loud. This happens to me often but hadn’t happened in a while.I said to God, ‘ok, if you want me to lay hands on her, you have to make it not so busy so she won’t get in trouble or worry about the customers in line’. It was very busy and people were lining up at every available checkout, even the ones either side of us, but no-one was lining up at ours!! So I said quickly, ‘Let me pray for you now. Can I touch your hurting hand?’ She said yes though looked a little startled. All I said was “God I know you are a healing God and you are a good God. So right now we speak to this hand and say be healed now in the name of Jesus” I had no sooner prayed for her and people began lining up at the checkout. She kept staring at me and rubbing her hand and I paid for my shopping and she had to get on with the other customers. I could feel the presence of God and I asked her if she was ok and she said her hand was all warm. This was all she got to say before the next customer began talking to her.
I don’t know if her hand is healed, but I know she was touched by our God. He is alive and wanting to be involved in our everyday lives and make the mundane become the extraordinary that as Christians should be the norm 🙂 I look forward to seeing her again and believe it will be a good report.
As an aside, I had immense pain shooting through my ear and head and had it for the last day before I prayed for the lady at the checkout. After I prayed for her the pain was gone. I still feel like my ears are blocked but the pain is no longer there. I hope this encourages you to step out believing that God will do what he says he will do.
Bless you 🙂
If you are interested. I have just started a new blog for our homeschooling journey. Hopefully I will be making regular entries onto it. Hope to see you there and here. 🙂
A few months back we were in the middle of worship at our night service, and we started declaring God’s promises and singing of His love. He was tangibly present and I began to see in my minds eye these boys with snapbacks, I couldn’t see their faces, coming in from the street drawn in by Him (definitely not by the music, as I was playing guitar ;-)). Well I opened my eyes and we began to pray them in and you wouldn’t believe it, but standing at the doorway were these 5 young fellas. They were just staring at us. They walked away, but a few minutes later they came again to the doorway, peering in. We smiled and invited them in but they made some excuse they had to leave.
That was the last we saw of them… that night. I felt it wasn’t the end of us seeing them, and knew we should keep praying for them even though we did not know their names. These are the ones that we know Jesus loves. The ones He calls in. The ones He goes and finds.
It wasn’t until a couple of months ago that we saw the same boys again. We were already having a crazy night. On our bus run to pick up our regular mob, we stopped at one girl’s house and all her sisters and cousins were in town so they hopped on. The night was messy and great. We were nearing the end, when Ben my husband who was in the hall next to us ushered in these 4 boys. They came in boisterous and ready to disturb, but they volunteered for a game and we got them involved straight away.
Afterwards, they were asking who we were and what we were doing, when do we meet etc… But again we didn’t see them for a few weeks.
4 weeks ago they hailed down our bus on our way around. They wanted to come to youth. They came and joined in. The next week they were there again, but they brought a different boy with them who just wanted to cause trouble, so not long in they left.
The following week, the ringleader and one other small boy came without the others. I had a feeling that God was working on their hearts and they were keen to respond. Sure as anything, when the gospel message was shared they were the quickest to raise their hands in response. They wanted to become a part of God’s family.
We know it’s baby steps. There is a lot stacked against them. But I know our God is greater. I haven’t seen them again since that night yet, but I know that the seed is planted and that they said yes to Him.
Please pray for these boys. And the others like them. Alice, like many small towns has a reputation for the young people just walking the streets and getting up to all sorts of mischief. We know that God can break the cycle and give them hope.
I know the gospel is as relevant today as it has ever been. I know that smoke machines, and fancy music mean nothing when the presence of God is here. You could say it’s the context I am in, and that it won’t work in the big smoke, but I beg to differ. I have seen Him at work with my own eyes here and in the city. We don’t have much in the way of the fancy things that many say you ‘need’ to reach this generation, but we have everything we need, because we have Him. Never stop believing that He can and will do what He has purposed, if we just say yes!
This is an excerpt from Ben my husband’s new blog. It has been in the pipeline for a while, he has just found his way through the technological side of publishing a post. 🙂
Following the basics:
A blameless heart… keeping eyes from that which is corrupt… removing oneself from those who are fickle…
Living life is no picnic.
There are potholes, hazards, tripwires… All of these ensure that you watch your step; because each one of those traps will cost you dearly.
At the start, the traps seem harmless. If you stumble over one pothole you can think, ‘Oh, that didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would’. And so the next traps don’t bother you too much. The next time you look up to see what the damage is, you don’t even recognise what you see; it is complete carnage.
Everything you held dear is destroyed or dismembered because you didn’t care to watch out for the traps.
I have seen many people drop their guard to become popular; drop their guard to be liked or accepted by those who they…
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(Please note there are pictures of deceased people here)
I lost a friend. She was 27 years old. She passed away on the 3rd of July 2014. I wanted to write earlier, but couldn’t. It makes me so sad. My malpa wiru (good friend).
We had some laughs, her and I. Most at my expense. 🙂
I met her just after we moved to Alice Springs. She had come in to Alice as she was quite sick and was having some tests done. She was married and had a small beautiful boy. They all turned up at church one day after getting on one of our church busses. She gave her life to Jesus and became a part of God’s family. She lived a long way away, but I saw her again and again over the next couple of years when she would come in from community mostly to visit the hospital. She would always be wearing a bandanna and had the most beautiful smile. Each time she came in I would get to know her a little better, but it wasn’t until about 4 months ago when she came in for her second last trip here that I got to know her a lot better. We would talk of her home, of her family and of her love for Jesus. She wanted to share her story, of how God had changed her life. I did not know at that time of how sick she really was or how much her life had changed. I thought that she had caught pneumonia and had just taken a while to recoup. I prayed with her often, and even shared her story at her request to a church we spoke at in Adelaide. She was really standing for her faith and it appeared she was getting physically stronger every day. She missed her family terribly and couldn’t wait to be discharged from hospital so she could return home.
She went home, but it was a short lived visit. Within a couple of weeks she was back, with what was to be her last time. This time, the doctors said that this was it. They called the family in. Her mum stayed with her. She had visits from many friends and family. I would go in, often with another friend from church and we would sing together and pray and read the Bible. It was good practice for me to read from her Pitjantjatjara Bible. She would help me read the words, until she got too tired and breathless and then she would just listen.
She urged me to share her story. She wanted people to know that Jesus was the true way. That He was real and how much her life had changed. One day when I was visiting, a lady was there that had known her for a long time. She was a remote nurse and had a lot to do with my friend’s care. I prayed with my friend as I did every time I visited and when we finished the nurse had tears in her eyes. She asked me if I could see her outside for a moment. When out there, she shared how my friend used to be very angry and volatile and an extremely difficult patient, but approximately 2 years ago, she began to see a change in her. Until now where she had seen a major change in her temperament and the way she dealt with people. She said she was certain it was due to my friend becoming a Christian. How wonderful it was to hear the testimony from this lady. She said she had first thought it was because she was being the best nurse, but she quickly realised that this was a profound change. She was not the only one to tell me this.
I had a social worker pull me aside and tell me the same thing a few days later. They could not attribute it to anything else. When I talked to her later about it and she went all shy with me and asked how I found out, I explained it was because she was now shining Jesus so much, that it had changed her so much that even people who didn’t believe in Him could see the difference in her and had to declare it as nothing short of a miracle (or at least something they couldn’t deny).
We were praying for a miracle, but I know she was ready to go home to heaven. She liked me to read the verse about there being (pika wiya) no more pain, no more tears. She made me promise I would tell others of her hope in Jesus, of the life to come if we believe in Him, of how she changed. I promised I would. She wanted to write her story, but sadly she never got to finish. She began, but got too weak.
Friends are hard to come by in this place, but she became my friend. We were from different worlds in some ways and yet we understood one another. The day she said ‘I used to say you were my friend, but now I call you my sister’ I will treasure that for the rest of my life. I pray for her family. In particular her husband and young son. They are wonderful people and are grieving so much.
I did not get to attend her funeral as I would have liked, my son was in hospital and I was with him. I have been holding back the grief of her loss until now as I would find it hard to cope with that and with all that was happening with my son. But it is time now. Time to share what she asked me to. Time to cry. Time to say goodbye.
She was a strong lady in spirit and her body just couldn’t keep up. I don’t understand why God chooses to heal some people and not others. I don’t know why she couldn’t stay here on this earth, but I do know I will see her again. She is with her little girl who she lost when the girl was 1 year old. She missed her terribly. I know she is finally in no pain and having no more suffering. I know she would be singing the song she was given just before she passed away and her smile would be so big as she is in the arms of her saviour. I miss her. As I do the many friends we have lost since arriving here.
The verse she had displayed in her hospital room was fitting for her then and for us now: ‘Be strong and courageous, for I am with you’.
Allow me to share a journey that our family has and is still travelling on at this time. A few of my friends are going through similar experiences and my heart and prayers go out to them as they work through their frustrations and emotions and faith during this time.
I should have written this last week or even three days ago, when my report would be a glowing one of a trial near past and the lessons I have learnt. I was reminded last night that we are not out of the woods yet.
For those of you who don’t know, our eldest son Elijah has been sick since at least the start of the year. He has had well days, well weeks even, but the cycle was getting smaller and he was getting sicker with every bout. At first we thought that he just had a bad run with some viruses as we live in a place where some pretty nasty viruses present.
But when they kept coming and the fatigue was not lifting in between the times of sickness, and he lost his bubbly, cheeky self saying things to his brothers like “believe me you don’t want to be 10, it’s just too tough”, we just knew we had to do something. So back in May we took Elijah to the doctors and explained what was going on. They ordered blood tests and it came back positive for Ross River Virus. At least, we thought, now we have an answer and he should improve over time.
But that was not to be the case. For a week after the test, after much prayer, Elijah felt the best he had in a long time. He even commented “Mum, I think Jesus has healed me”. And that is what appeared to have happened.
Until one night, he complained of a tummy ache and went to bed to the most violent vomiting we had seen yet. He was up for half the night and then ended up lying on the couch and fell asleep. He slept through the entire next day. Even with the other boys yelling and playing as normal in the house. I tried to rouse him a few times to get some fluids in him, but he didn’t know where he was and who I was. He couldn’t handle light. He had a temp. I was glad he was sleeping as I knew he needed it, but I was worried he was confused when he woke.
Then in the evening a rash came out first on his face and then on the whole right side of his body. We had been holding off taking him to the hospital, as they usually send us home and say if they get worse bring them back blahblahblah… But once the rash came Ben carried him (still sleeping) to the car and took him to the hospital.
And there Elijah stayed for 5 days. His eye became bright red, and he couldn’t handle any light. He looked grey and couldn’t walk. They thought at first it was maybe meningitis, but they ruled that out. Then the tests began. Multiple blood tests, specimen tests and a small skin biopsy. But nothing was showing up. We had so many people praying for us and our church family came and visited. Was a wonderful time for seeing the body at work, even if it was a terrible time in other ways.
I kept expecting to call the virus card, as doctors do when there is no answer. But the doctors were amazing and thorough and for once in my life took me seriously. He got well enough to go home even though he still had a high temp and his eye was no better the rest of the symptoms had subsided. He had to wear an eye patch and his eye was not getting better, so when we took him back for his follow-up check he was seen by an eye doctor and diagnosed with uveitis. This is a common occurrence in people with an auto-immune disease which is where the doctors were heading with their testing.
The doctors here had exhausted what they could do from here in Alice so we were sent to Adelaide to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. There Elijah went through a series of tests and they ruled out so many things that had been suggested. After 10 days in hospital there, we had come up with no answers . However he had begun to gain weight again, which is great as he had lost about 8kgs since the start of the year. We could feel the prayers of our brothers and sisters in Christ and were so well supported with many visiting to sit, pray and chat (not to mention bring chocolate and lollies- have I said thank you 🙂 ).
One family in particular, who have so may of their own struggles they are facing, were so beautiful in the way they ministered sacrificial love to us. They opened their home to the boys and Ben who had driven down from Alice so they could stay near us in the hospital. The family also offered for us to stay a few days down at their holiday home before we returned. This was a blessing and so much needed. It was the middle of winter, but we all went in the beach. What a healing place it is. I miss the beach so much even though I love our desert home. We had some lovely time with Ben’s mum and grandma as well. Which I know the boys will treasure forever. We always try to make the best out of a bad situation . We managed to have some great laughs and made some awesome memories.
We returned to Alice no wiser than we left, and hopeful and prayerful, that maybe he would just begin to improve as he had extended rest. He appeared so well, but that was because he was able to rest all day.
Since we have been back home, he has gained 2kgs and has had more energy than before. He had been generally well, though still feeling nauseous, and fatigued but not enough to slow him down as before.Until last night when Elijah once again began vomiting and high temp and today can’t leave the couch. He is definitely not as bad as he was before which is a plus but it is wearing to know that the battle isn’t over.
We are grateful it is not some of the diseases that the symptoms were pointing to and we have seen the hand of God in this time, but it has definitely been a struggle and has made it harder to have the same energy for the ministry we are a part of here.
We thank you for all who have, and will, pray as we continue down this journey. It continues to be a mystery. Our hope is in our God who is faithful and carries us through every circumstance. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases!
Elijah’s eye is fully recovered and the eye doctor said yesterday that it has no scarring and so good that you can not even see that he had ever had it. We are so blessed to live in Australia. We have an amazing health system.
I often have a conversation with myself as if I was writing for this blog. I so want to update this and write what is going on. And yet, I find myself with countless unfinished posts. There are a few reasons why the posts never get published. And one of them is not that life has become dull. On the contrary. It is rich. We are still seeing miracles and salvations. We are still seeing devastation and sadness.
The real reasons I have not been writing, I will try to explain here. And maybe a few will get it… and the others of you may just think I have clearly lost my head 🙂
1. It (meaning life in the Alice) has all become so normal that it feels that I would be writing about the mundane, regular (which is by no means a lot of people’s regular) routine. Ok routine is probably too strong a word… but the rhythm of our life although to others hectic or bizarre, just feels the norm to us… so I struggle to know what to tell that would be of some interest.
2. It has become more personal. More real. Most of the people I would want to tell the stories of have become deeply connected to me and my family and to their families. Sometimes, I feel like it is sharing secrets (and although I have always as much as I can sought permission to share what I do) I don’t know how to explain some of the stuff I see. It is much more involved and complicated than it first appears.
3. I don’t trust what some people will do with what I have written. Some people like to take things out of context. Some people like to glorify it, and use that as an excuse about why they are not living a ‘naturally supernatural’ life. Others, use my posts as a way into the people’s or their families lives and do more harm than good. And I know there are others of you that are just encouraged and encourage me: so please for those of you in that category forgive my rant 🙂 ).
4. I haven’t known how to say, that as good as it is here, and as wonderful as it is to see God move and transform lives, there is also a whole lot of bodgy stuff going on here, and I’m not talking about the non-believers… and that sickens me and saddens me and angers me, and I have been seeking the Father what I do about this that will help bring change and I know for this to occur I will need to do it in His Spirit as it won’t be effective otherwise, I will be merely joining them in their self-glorification, etc…
So… maybe now this is off my chest, new things will merge. new posts will appear… I want to share some of the testimonies, just not sure how or when.
Let me say how grateful I am for those of you who pray for me and my family. We seek in our lives in all things to honour Christ, to love people and to be transparent. I expect that other believers will do the same, and find myself hurt when they aren’t and don’t. But I suppose that gives me more opportunities to forgive, just like Christ forgives me :-). (Perhaps I should be like some of my friends who say they never have any expectations on people and therefore never get hurt or offended- but I don’t seem to be able to do that without shutting people out emotionally). A wise friend of mine has said we have to learn to be expectant without any expectations. When I have achieved that, I will let you know 🙂 in the mean time, please continue to uphold me in your prayers and I too will uphold you in mine.
(Please note that this post contains pictures of deceased people)
Perspective. One of the main things I have gained since moving to Alice. We all look from one perspective or another, but I’m talking about eternal perspective. If here, we lose sight of the eternal perspective, life can become quite depressing at times. Another friend of ours has passed away.
My friend Mrs Bennett. She loved to sing and loved our Jesus. She loved her family and would provide for them however she could. She was always weaving baskets when I saw her at Topsy. She has left behind some wonderful friends who are missing her so much. Mrs Bennett was the first one to introduce our family to the ‘Orange book’. Although Mrs Bennett would more readily sing from the ýellow’ book(Ngaanyatjarra), she was very happy to have the orange book which she brought out for us to sing. This is a Pitjantjatjara hymn book and is a wonderful treasure to our ladies. I have had the privilege of singing with the ladies on occasion some of the songs out of this book and the sound is at times heavenly.
Mrs Bennett came on some road trips with us and would teach us to sing songs or tell Maku to quieten down 🙂 She couldn’t believe how much he liked to talk.
Our little boy Maku (Zion) when he heard it was near the time for her to go to be with Jesus was inconsolable. He wept and would not go see her. He didn’t want her to die. But he had a chat on the phone with her once he calmed down and the smile on her face was priceless. My oldest boy Elijah accompanied me in to the hospital to say goodbye to her and she held our hands so tightly. So happy to introduce us to her family who were by her bedside. She introduced Ben to everyone as her teacher. This greatly touched and humbled Ben. She sang nearly right up to the time she went to meet Jesus. They recorded her singing one last time. She was flying back home to Warakuna to see her family and say her goodbyes there but made it to 20mins out from home.
The ladies that stay at Topsy Smith Hostel were great for reminding me of our eternal perspective. The hymns they chose that Thursday for our regular sing-a-long were all about children of a heavenly King and Home with thee and how good heaven will be.
Zion was also good for me in keeping my perspective. He cried and cried, but once he had he said she is with Jesus now and feeling all better. Today he drew a picture of her and him with a disco ball above them, because now she can dance. Just love this kid. He asks questions about her sickness and why she had to die, but he has such a natural conversation about it that death is just a part of life…
We have become acquainted with much sorrow, but we are more and more aware of the joy on the other side, and this is just a glimpse of what is to come. This time on earth is so fleeting, that it makes some other stuff that seemed so important before be seen from a new perspective, a better perspective, an eternal perspective.
Bless you all as you read this. My prayer for you all today is that you will be reminded of the eternal perspective and this will give you new vigour for life. To forgive more readily, live for others and not just ourselves,take risks, follow the call of God and live life to the full… for that is wha
t our Jesus came to give us, life and that to the full!