Posts Tagged With: community

Thank you

This is just a quick post to say THANK YOU to all who pray for our family, who have written or called ‘just because’, and to the family who have given to us financially even when it is not flowing in abundance for you…Bless you in your sacrifice. I am grateful and my words cannot express how much I appreciate your generosity. I will keep you anonymous only because I know that is the way you would have it… but it does mention in the Bible that you will be rewarded in eternity for the generosity you have bestowed in this life.

So, thanks.

It is wonderful to be a part of the body of Christ, for we know we are never alone.

Love and God’s blessings to all of you and your families.

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Rupert (Wapa-wapa) Goodwin

(Please note that this post contains pictures of deceased persons).

Last week, another friend of ours passed away. I remember one day when we had not long arrived and one of my friend’s mum just said ‘you will know grief well around here’. How true and sad that statement is. Once again, this man was close to little maku (my youngest) who prayed for him daily and wanted to go in to say goodbye before Mr Goodwin got to go and be with Jesus. Zion had a dream the night before Mr Goodwin passed away that the angel of death had come, which was interesting.

Rupert knew the stories of the Bible very well and loved to share  them, actually he just loved to share any kind of story. Especially stories about when he was a ranger. I’ll never forget the first time I went into his home in Indulkana and the first thing he wanted me to see was the picture of him as a much younger and handsome (his words :-)) man standing with Uluru behind him. It was a fantastic shot and it had been used as an advertisement for tourism. He would talk all day with us if we had the time, and in particular my father and Ben spent countless hours with him having a great chat and prayer.

Rupert had a tough life, but it was a story of survival from start to finish, and he never lost his sense of humour. Rupert was one of the first people we met when we arrived in Alice and was probably the quickest person to warm to us as a family apart from his sister, Sarah. (She passed away last year and you can read about it  here in earlier posts on this site also here). He had a love for Hawaiian shirts and cowboy hats with bright feathers. One day I will share the story of his sister rescuing him when he was a baby.

He treasured his wife Yula and his children. He carried a photo of Yula around in his wallet and would show anyone he could and say and show how beautiful his wife was. She is a wonderful lady and is of course finding this time tough, she was with him when he passed and she had beautiful moments in his last couple of days to play songs they had treasured and just sit and chat with him.

I am not sure of Rupert’s exact age, but I am pretty sure he is around my father’s age. It is pretty sobering to see renal failure take its toll on people. Although we will miss Mr Goodwin, we are glad that he had a relationship with Jesus Christ and so he is once again able to run around, and enjoy God’s creation in heaven. On earth, life was getting pretty tough, but now he is free and well and reunited with his sister. Please pray for his family at this time of sadness, and pray for those that don’t know the Father who loves them, that they will have an encounter with Him during this time. Thank you.

20130215_165719 Mr Goodwin and Ronald 001

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Another bus story

Ben (my husband), has done quite a bit of study on building inter-cultural relations and one of the things he has shared with me that has stuck with me:  that they (not quite sure who they is, but let’s just go with experts in the field) say that humour does not cross cultures. You cannot assume that something funny for you will be funny to another people group. Well I suppose that can be said to be true if any media stories are to be taken as truth, where ‘jokes’ have gone wrong when they go off shore, or when I take my Greek friends to see “the Castle” and they give me a strange look and then I go to a live ‘Wog Boys’  show and they are falling off their chairs laughing whilst I am merely falling asleep.

But I have seen humour cross the cultural barriers when there is friendship. Something happens as you become familiar with people and they let their guard down, and we become playful. Where am I going with all this? Well where I inevitably go, if you talk to me long enough… to the church bus run.

On Sunday, a guy from church (we’ll call him Joel) and I, go on one of the bus runs for our church. Now we more or less pick up the same people every week and have the same conversation every week. We pick up a lot of older ladies from hostels in town (where they are living so they can get to their renal dialysis appointments 3 times a week). Twice a week we have the pleasure of picking up these ladies who most are walker or wheelchair bound and take them to church activities. Every week, they ask where Ben is, and I tell them, he’s waiting for them at church. They then ask where Maku (my youngest boy) is, and I tell them he’s at church waiting for them. And every week it’s the same, except for our random weeks, which I love. Like this Sunday.

Yesterday, we needed to drop off a gentleman on a different side of town than we usually go with our run, and we decided to take him first as the ladies usually like to go for a drive. So we began to travel slightly north, and they begin to say, where you taking us? Darwin? I say yes, and so begins the banter, in which most of them get involved, even the grumpy man at the back who said we were taking too long to get him home for his lunch. They say “the driver man (Joel) can catch us some fish… with a spear. And the man at the back can get us some kangaroo, which he says we can eat raw…” and so it continues…. it was as if the event was really taking place and we were all to be involved including the driver man hitting a goanna which we could cook up.

Now to you reading this,  you may say where is the humour in this… Maybe it’s not hysterics, but it is playful, banter, imagination, fun… crossing all sorts of boundaries, cultural, age, gender and it worked. There was not one of us on that bus that wasn’t smiling and enjoying the story… It was a wonderful experience of humour crossing boundaries where it ‘should’ not apparently. I love being a part of these times. Stories that are really ‘you had to be there’ sort of stories, but one’s that convince me of this: that love is what crosses all boundaries that are in our way. And where there is true love (that only God can give) for the people you come into contact with, no matter how hard and daunting it can sometimes be, good things happen and people’s barriers begin to come down… and true friendship begins and deepens.

Bus run

Some of the people we pick up on the bus

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how beautiful…are the feet that bring good news

Sunday morning

Sunday morning

Kids Club

Kids Club

Youth group

Youth group

From time to time we have teams that visit Alice Springs and bunk down at our home for a week. Last week 18 young people descended on us- affectionately known as ‘Seaton Mob’. Lots of new faces, including Tom, who has seen the miracles of God flowing in his life, in particular over the last year where he has been recovering from being hit by a truck, whilst riding his bicycle. He really is a walking, talking, laughing (and what a laugh that is:-) ) miracle.
The team was headed up by Sam, a fella who quietly and confidently led the team, even though at times he had no idea what he was getting himself into…
This year saw many changes. In the past outreach teams main focus has been to run kids programs. This time around we wanted to see if there was a way of reaching whole families, and encourage the people in our congregation, as well as do some street outreach- singing and prayer.
The team sung in a few of the hostels that we have relationships with through church and the response at those places was fantastic from both the residents and the staff. The people were so happy to have the team sing for them and were encouraged by their prayers for them. One person even shared how last year he was prayed for and was healed.
There were healings happening when the team were praying this year as well!
What brought me great joy was when the team took our youth out to Telegraph Station and played some games and had a BBQ tea. There were a couple of our guys who chose to start following Jesus that night- priceless.
The kids club was good too. Due to some technical difficulties, the team had to show their flexibility and run the program outside. And to their credit, they held the 40+ children’s attention for an hour. Well done team!
Ben and I love to see young people come and give of their time and grow in confidence with growing and sharing their faith. When I was a young teen, not that long ago really ;-), a Pastor was willing to give me a go sharing my faith and just giving things a go, and he put me in good stead for where I am at today. He birthed a passion in me that couldn’t even be put out when I detoured off the path for a while, and it was that seed planted in me then, that ultimately brought me back on the narrow road as Jesus so calls it. It is our hope that these times in Alice can be the same for these young adventurers. That they are spurred on to go deeper in God, not be satisfied with the status quo, that they will stand out and stand up for righteousness and injustice and be passionate about sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, not just with their lips but with their lives as well.

The first day some of the team were quite timid when they went out on the streets, but by the end some of the girls were so excited that they might have another opportunity to pray with someone. Just beautiful. They even learnt a chorus in Pitjantjatjara, which according to someone in the know, was “deadly”- that means good :-).

Our church were blessed by the time they spent here. (Must mention Jill Daly and Bethany’s food was exceptional once again- wasn’t it Joel?)

Things didn’t always go to plan (but when do they in Alice?) and we faced some opposition, but I do believe it was a fruitful time. I know our family were blessed and laughed a lot and danced a little, bring on the Bollywood.
Look forward to the next team (after hopefully some sleep ;-)) and seeing what God has in store for us and them.
The verse that springs to mind as I think on this team and the others that come our way… “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation…” Isaiah 52:7.

Todd Mall

Todd Mall

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The Vibe

The CrossI was asked what my favourite part of the Easter weekend was…. I have to admit, I found it hard to find ‘my favourite’, it was a really special weekend… so I replied with the only thing that I felt would express it truly: it was ‘the vibe’ of the thing (coined beautifully in the movie ‘the Castle”:-) ).

The whole weekend was about the church being a family, being the church. The services were great: filled with people singing and dancing and artwork that was unbelievable, but everyone who wanted to be involved, could be. And there was such an excitement and anticipation in almost everyone that was there. Love was just oozing out of the place. Even those that like to be grumpy, couldn’t help themselves but smile a couple of times at least.

Were the items perfect? No. Did it run smoothly? No But we had 4 year olds to 70+ year olds getting up and expressing their love for their Saviour Jesus. And it brought tears to my eyes.

The fellowship that weekend was special also. We had lots of unplanned get togethers that were just pure fun. Picnics, BBQs, cricket, walks, Maccas and it was just beautiful. Old and new friends. People we had never met before to family.

I wish you could have all joined us for this time. This weekend was all about our church remembering who Jesus is and why he did what he did. His cause was outworked implicitly and explicitly throughout the entire weekend that Jesus came to give life, and not just life, but life to the full… abundant, full, joyful, in relationship with Him, and His people.

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Beautiful dance on Good Friday- Lead me to the Cross

Karen and Rosie

Karen and Rosie

BBQ and cricket funBBQ and cricket fun

DSCF9220Some of the kids singing a Pitjantjatjara chorus

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The choir. These ladies are just amazing at singing. Felt privileged to have the chance to hear them sing

Sunday Resurrection Dance. The boys even cut loose with some break dancing :-)

Sunday Resurrection Dance. The boys even cut loose with some break dancing 🙂

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At the young people's Bible Study we had a foot washing just like Jesus did with his disciples at His last meal before the cross

At the young people’s Bible Study we had a foot washing just like Jesus did with his disciples at His last meal before the cross

We shared a passover meal together at Bible Study Thursday night

We shared a passover meal together at Bible Study Thursday night

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The boys helped do the background for the cross

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It’s been a while

Just reading a friend’s blog and am finally inspired to write again. If only so one day I might look back and remember where I was, and where I was hoping to go.

It has been 11 months since we moved here with our 3 little boys and embarked on the journey of our lives. This has been a settling, stretching year in our lives, but not one that has felt too hard to adjust to. It is like we were made to be here. It is like all the other things in our lives were equipping us for this moment (as I am sure we will feel about this time in our future endeavours).
It is true that He equips those He calls… The lives we have seen changed by the power of prayer has been beautiful. We are looking forward to God outpouring more in signs and wonders as the church of Alice Springs rises up.

This town is often put on the map for all the wrong reasons, but I believe that we will see the day when the media will be piling in to get the scoop on what God is doing in this town. What does it say? Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more!!

Every time I see the Todd River flowing (which has only been twice this year, it is often a dry river bed) I get excited in my spirit. I see that God wants to flow in this town just like that river, but as a constant flow, not  a now-and-again happening but a well-spring of life, bringing joy, freedom and healing.

You know life here seems pretty normal to us with it’s going on, but Ben’s younger brother and wife arrived recently and they looked a little wide-eyed and culture shocked and I realised that what has become the norm for us (the interesting visits at the gate for one thing) is not everyday experiences in most peoples’ lives.

We have had an interesting couple of months, both Ben and I have been in hospital (Ben with appendicitis and me collapsing and getting my first ride in an ambulance). There has been some interesting people coming in trying to upset what God is doing here in Alice, but our God is faithful and His presence is very real in our lives. The exciting thing for me is that God is speaking to our children and they are feeling/ seeing Him at work in their lives, not just hearing it from us.

Ben has started working a couple of days on The Ghan (Train) as his study is coming to an end. The boys are still homeschooling and playing soccer. Zion had his first game, which was very exciting for him. We have had 3 venues for church this year, which has happened surprisingly smoothly, but are now in a school hall where we have a chance to continue to grow and see God outwork in our community.

Looking forward to seeing exciting things in the year to come, and can’t wait to share with you what is unfolding here.

Maggie, Janie, Nola and Narelle

Maggie, Janie, Nola and Narelle

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Stirling Mob

We have just said good-bye to another team. They are on the long road back to Adelaide (1500km +) as I write.

A couple of moments stood out to me through the week that I would like to share with you. One, was their willingness to have a go. The team was made up of 6 teenage girls and 4 adults. The teenage girls were quite tentative, but as Steve (one of the leaders on the team) aptly said, once they were told they could do it they were willing to give anything a try even if it was out of their comfort zones.

Another moment that stood out was last night.

We went for a BBQ down at Telegraph Station, a lovely spot where kids can run and explore and older people can mingle and enjoy the nature. It was so beautiful to see these young, tired, peopled-out girls serve again. Especially a couple of them who were more than happy to help the older ladies who had their walkers and could only move really slowly.

I loved the BBQ also because I saw it as a true picture of the heart of our church- as ‘a church for all people’.  There were young and old, indigenous and white fella and all enjoying and mingling with one another. Yes, we have indigneous in our church, but they are not our church. Yes we have white fellas in our church, but they are not our church… we have the very young, and the not so young, the well-educated and those who have never been to school.

It is when all of these people come together, that is our church.  It makes my heart happy. I love it. It is full of people from every walk of life. A smorgasbord of people, loving God and loving each other.

We loved watching the adults work with the team. They were caring, supportive, corrective and believed in their young people. They were not domineering but not afraid to guide. A pleasure to watch.

I would like to thank the team for giving their time and finance to come on this adventure. Some of them were so homesick, but they still gave of themselves. I pray that this is an enriching experience and one that stays with them and reminds them that no matter where we come from or what has happened in our lives that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has a plan, and he wants to outwork that plan through us, we need only be willing.

Sorry the pics aren’t clear, will try to upgrade later…. 🙂

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Her story

Met a lady yesterday who had to tell me her story. She couldn’t help it. I was sitting in the bus waiting for some young fellas I pick up for our youth bible study. People know our buses. They’re not very ‘cool’ looking, but they get people’s attention. She decided I would want to hear her story. She was walking past and waved and smiled. Then stopped and then came over to the bus and shook my hand. And then she began.

The best thing about her story was that most of it was in Luritja. Which I don’t understand. There were some English words thrown in, that helped. But what I needed to understand, I did. She made sure of it. She would repeat it unless I said to her what she had said to me. 🙂

She had been walking through a carpark near some shops and had been hit by a car. She had been taken to the hospital, where they said her leg was badly damaged and that she would be a cripple, BUT their Pastor had come and prayed for her. She had a vision of Jesus. She was healed. She wanted me to know. Jesus healed her. She prayed. Her family prayed. Her pastor prayed. HE listened.

When she said the name JESUS her eyes were shining and she was telling me about the God who is near. She has met him.

God is at work today. He loves us. He desires to meet us where we are at. Some of us think that he saves those special healings for overseas missions, but I see God at work very much in the town of Alice and its surrounds. In the short 9 months that we have been here we have seen God touch hearts, heal bodies and calm minds. He is wanting to do it wherever we’re at.

The lady was so excited she had to share her story. I want to be so excited I just have to share my story. It says in the Bible that we should always have an answer for when people ask us of the hope we have in us. In the good times and the bad. In the miraculous and in the dark hours, we have good news, and people need to hear about it.

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When things don’t go to plan

One of my favourite books to read is about a couple who are working in Mozambique. Heidi and Rolland Baker. They are real. They speak of the awesome miracles, the move of God, the triumphs, but they also speak of the times when God doesn’t heal, when devastation comes and how God is still in their midst. Although we are yet to see the magnitude of the move of God that they are seeing (I believe we will), I am reminded as Heidi says, ‘it is about the one who is before you right now.’ One person at a time. Show that one person the love of Jesus. Listen to that one person’s story. Pray for/with that one person. Smile or cry with that one person.

Today as Ben and I visited the hospital we encountered incredible grief and people’s fear and disappointments.  One lady was praying for a miracle that her foot be healed, we had just seen her husband come in to ICU with little to no chance of surviving (he is only in his late 30s maybe early 40s) he had suffered multiple heart attacks, and all his organs were shutting down. But God moved and he is a walking talking miracle! He has gone back home now! And his wife, seeing the miracle of his life restored, believed she too could be healed, and we believed with her, but today the day of the operation came and there was no improvement, so she lost her foot. She is trying to remain positive. We prayed that God’s peace would surround her, and I could feel Him in her room.

Another lady is feeling so alone, and should have been discharged from hospital but they have nowhere for her to go. She has only one leg and is a dialysis patient so it is too hard for her to go home to community. She feels so alone and unwanted. She feels she is not an old lady (and she’s not, she is barely 50), but they want her to go to the old folks home. That scares her. We prayed God’s peace for her and a way through.

One other woman I visited today is the same age as me. She has been crippled by a car accident. She is struggling with many things. She has seen heaven. And tears come to her eyes as she explains Jesus. But reality is tough for her. Life isn’t fair and it’s definitely not easy. Her relationships are hard and she too is so lonely.

We had visited a little boy who is 2 and is unwanted by the mother because she wanted a girl. He just wants/ needs to be loved. What will become of him? In this country we can’t just take them home and provide for them. There is a ‘system’ that little boy will have to go through.

I would love to say that every person we are praying for is being healed, and yes we are seeing the ‘miracles beginning to flow’, however we are very much still in a fallen world, a world groaning for its Maker. Things don’t go always according to our plan, or the way we think would be right… but we are seeing and feeling God in the midst of us. And we are seeing our Lord Jesus opening people’s eyes and ears to Him. We have the privilege of not just walking their victories with them, but also walking with them in the Valley of the Shadow… These times make us remember to keep it all in perspective- keep our eyes on the eternal- that is the true and only lasting plan.

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On the road again

So much has happened since my last post, but I have only half written drafts as it has been so busy and emotional. But thought it would be good to share what Ben and I have been up to in the last couple of days.

I knew that I would go back to Indulkana, but did not expect it to be this soon. Our friend, who travelled down with me the first time (Mrs Goodwin) passed away. I think she knew that her time was short when we went down last time. She was so keen to get home. Before she passed away, I had some special moments with her which I will be forever thankful for and got to meet some more of her family.

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Ronald, Wapawapa, Nollie and Ben

On Tuesday morning we travelled down with a bus full. We had Ben Zion and me up front, and in the back was Kinyon, Rupert, Annie-Margaret, Yilpi, Maringka, Ronald and Helen. We had a lovely trip down. We sung and chatted and they laughed at Zion who had questions about everything. We saw camels and eagles and dingoes and an emu. Thankfully an uneventful trip. We reached the turn-off for Indulkana and I don’t remember the road being that bumpy last time I went. Gotta love the corrugated feeling on the road :-).

When we arrived we first went to the ‘sorry camp’. There were a group of tents set up where the family had been staying and we were to go there and shake hands and sit with the people as they wept. Zion just asked why they were crying and then sat in the dirt nearby and made a ‘chocolate cake’ out of the dirt. He seemed very much at home. Ben and I weren’t sure how long we would be down at the camp for, but no sooner were Ben and I just getting comfortable than they were all getting back in the bus and telling us it was time to get ready for the memorial service.

Ben had never ran a funeral before, and the language barrier was a bit daunting, but he seemed to take it in his stride.

The memorial service was lovely.

Getting ready for the funeral

They basically sing some songs, share memories of Mrs Goodwin, light candles and then give new blankets to the family (Mrs Martin told me that this was to symbol a fresh start). Then Ben was asked to bring a short word of encouragement from the Lord. All this time, we sat around campfires and the children played and enjoyed touching Zion’s face, I think because of how white he was, though I’m not sure. He fell asleep in my arms close to the finish.

The next morning, possibly the most amusing thing was seeing some wild pigs just walking through the town.

Dinner Anyone?

One of them were huge and had knocked over a bin and was looking for food. People were very responsive to us and were shaking our hands and saying that we had made them glad with Ben’s message the night before. The funeral was set to start at 10am, but it wasn’t until 11.30am that the car arrived with the casket, so there was a lot of hymns sung and a few people even took the time to preach, reminded me of the old open air meetings we used to be a part of. When the casket was brought out, it was laid on a table and everyone gathered around and placed a flower on top and touched the casket and wept as Ben prayed and read the Bible to them. Faxes were read out of those that couldn’t make it, and then we all headed down to the graveside where they throw dirt in to the grave and everyone takes turn to shake the families hands.

Although there was obviously a lot of grief at the loss of our friend Mrs Goodwin, there was a beautiful peace that was there as the people seemed very assured that her final resting place was with their loving Father in heaven. The air was full of hope.

We felt so privileged to have been welcomed into this wonderful community, to share with them a very intimate experience. The views are beautiful there, but the people are what captures my attention. I look forward to seeing them again…

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