fun in the sun

Seaton Mob

One day short of two weeks ago our first outreach team arrived on our doorstep. A team of energetic teens and some wonderful leaders, not to mention a superb cook and a quirky bus driver. We didn’t know quite what to expect. What will we do with all these teenagers at our place for a week and how our boys will handle the onslaught of so many people invading their territory, but it was more than a pleasant surprise: it was wonderful.

Some of the team had been many times before, but for about 8 of them it was their first time. One girl was only 11 (i think, maybe 12) and so she looked a little wide-eyed at times.

So what does an outreach team do? Well our church in Alice Springs is a part of many other larger churches around Australia (not to mention other parts of the world). And these churches send teams to churches in Central Australia and beyond, to run kids clubs or street ministry and give our regular ministry team a break on the Sunday so they get a chance to be ministered to. Depending on the team coming and their strengths usually shapes some of the things they do, but they all get stretched whether they are old hat or not.

Back to our team from Seaton Christian Family Centre (and two fellas from Hobart CfC). They came in single file carrying their swags and all but one with a big grin ready for action.

They went around to different parts of Alice to invite kids to the Kids Club they would be running over the next few days and then set up ready to begin. I had the pleasure of being a part of one of the bus runs out to the town camps past the gap. It was a time when I could get to know a part of the team and also form relationship with the kids that came on the bus.

Photo by Jill Daly

By the end of the week we had over 50 kids coming along, and then we ran a BBQ by the Todd River on the Saturday night. The team were great. Some of the ones who had been shy and reserved at the start of the week were talking with people and inviting them to come and have a free feed and a chat. It was great to see people asking for prayer and wanting to talk about Jesus.

Sunday morning, we got to see some faces from the BBQ the night before as they turned up for our regular service. It was great to see the outreach team full of young teens so keen to serve people regardless of their background. Some of the team shared testimonies, some sung, others helped out at Sunday School or handed around communion, but they were all involved. It was lovely.

It wasn’t all work and no play. We had a nice time in Todd Mall shopping, and watched the sunset at Anzac Hill and cut hair and tattooed their skin (ok not permanent, don’t get alarmed)- some talented artists in our midst I must say.

Pastor Tim did a great job of keeping everyone together and dealt with minor hiccups so effectively you hardly noticed they were happening.

If I had to share my feelings about having the team here, I would say I was a tad ambivalent. I was encouraged to see young people want to serve. I was impressed by their behaviour (can’t say I would have been able to say the same at their ageJ). I was touched by how God was working in their lives and in the lives of the people they met. I laughed more than I have in a while, and made some new friends which is always a bonus.

When they left however, I was saddened. Although encouraged that the team would come all this way to support us and the church family here in Alice, I suddenly felt just how far we are away from everyone. And I felt the most isolated I have since we arrived. They came and had fun and ministered, and left. We came, have fun, minister… and stay. Not that I want to go. I just maybe got a glimpse of what people were meaning when they looked at us in a strange way when we said we were coming out here. The silence was a little disconcerting for me the day the team left. I was exhausted but had really enjoyed the fellowship.

Now before any of you get any ideas that I am in crisis and start your worrying, I am fine. Actually it was good for me. Good to remember the call. Good to take stock. Good to be thankful for my church family here, and not take friendships for granted.

And so you know, our boys enjoyed the team and were treated so well. Josiah although a tad nervous even warmed to them.

My prayer for the people that came on the outreach team is that they would not just have a “camp experience” that is so exciting when they first get that touch, or rush of excitement and then fade into a nostalgic memory. But one that becomes embedded in them. That it will be the start of a deeper walk with their Creator. That as they walk on from here into their ‘normal” lives that the voice of God won’t be drowned out, but they will listen and respond quicker and more obediently every time. That they will throw off and get rid of the things in their lives that hinder them and that they will run with all their might with the ultimate prize in their eyesight. Not earthly treasures but the ones that are worth more than gold… eternal treasures.  I pray that they have the boldness and strength to do it, even if it is not the popular thing to do.

If you came on the outreach team and are reading this, then thank you for a wonderful experience. We hopefully will see you again up here, but if not here then down in Adelaide some time.

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Zion is our third born. He is 3 (nearly 4 he would want me to tell you). He loves animals.

He loves to run, jump and play. He really likes to have a chat and make new friends. He loves meeting new people.

He is welcoming and loves to make us laugh. He dances whenever and wherever he hears music.

He has a temper to match his hair but he is also so loving and is always telling us he loves us.

He likes to cuddle and wrestle and tickle.

He is loud. Very. He knows what he likes and most certainly what he doesn’t.

He knows that Jesus loves him “because the Bible tells me so, not you, me”:-)

He loves to talk about his nanny and popstar, and Grandma and Pa and whenever he wears a new shirt he says “I want to show Missie” which is one of his cousins or he says “Missie will like this one”.

His favourite colour is blue. Light blue.

This is Zion. We love him.

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Josiah is our second born. He is six.  He loves cars. He will save all his pocket money to buy a new remote control car, or use his change to buy hot wheels cars.

He also loves sport. Any. But inparticular he loves to play soccer and cricket with his popstar (Grandad).

He is great at sharing and is willing to let other people win. He is gracious with his brothers for a long time but when he has had enough, everyone knows about it.

He is very excited to be getting older and especially that he has lost a couple of teeth now and his big ones are starting to come through.

He is really good at numbers, adding, subtracting… he is getting better at reading though its not really his thing.Lately however he got excited when he got a Bible of his own and so he has been trying to read that whenever he can 🙂

Josiah has a great sense of humour and although shy around new people once he knows you he is the life of the party and can crack his brothers up easily.

This is our Josiah. We love him.

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Elijah is our first born. He is eight. He likes all things lego. When he grows up he wants to be a lego designer.

He also loves swimming and riding and soccer. And reading. He reads and reads and reads. I can’t keep up with him. Yesterday he came out of his room and he says “Mum did you know that we have white cells in our bodies that fight the bad stuff in our body”. I enjoy hearing the wealth of knowledge he is obtaining willingly. He started a blog when he was 5. But had a break for a couple of years and has just picked up on it again so the link for that is here

He is sensitive. He likes things his own way. He tends to worry and tries very hard to “get it right” all the time.

He loves life and is loud (almost always too loud) and has the craziest laugh. He thinks out of the box and thinks things through.

He loves to devise plans and create secret maps and pretend he is a spy or an agent or a knight.

He is a great big brother but sometimes gets so frustrated with his younger brothers that he doesn’t know what to do about it, but he is protective of them. One day we were at a playground and a kid was hitting Josiah so Elijah stepped in between them and let the kid hit him instead.

This is our Elijah. We love him.

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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 🙂 (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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Zion helping out

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

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