Posts Tagged With: Creator

Baptisms

Today we baptised 17 people who are a part of our church. To watch the people who chose today to be baptised as an act of obedience to their Lord Jesus was wonderful. The age range was from 7 years old to 60 something!  I am in awe that I have been privileged to be a part of their spiritual journey so far. They come from such varied backgrounds and all have their story to tell of how they came to be where they are today. I could hardly contain my excitement. One lady, who has to use a walker was so adamant she was getting baptised. She had asked me a couple of months earlier and I was so excited when she entered the water today. It was difficult, it was a ‘swallow the pride’ moment as she worked to get into the pool, and yet she was so determined. She loves her Jesus, and you can tell. Her face just beams.

She has become a good friend of mine. She was one of the first ladies I met when I arrived here. Her name is Maggie.

Maggie and I

Maggie and I

Maggie baptism

maggie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She lives in a hostel here in town as she needs renal dialysis 3 times a week and so it is impossible for her to return home for long periods of time. She started following Jesus last year, we prayed together on a day in October and she has been a different Maggie since. She is sometimes in a lot of pain, but when we pray together, the pain dissipates. I don’t understand why God hasn’t healed her completely, but she keeps coming to Him, and asks for prayer. These people are my heroes. Many of them face such adversity, and yet they continue on. Their God carries them.

It was a special day today. There were salvations and baptisms. People that had never come to church before but got on the church bus, chose to follow Jesus. And are keen to begin doing Bible Studies. Tears were flowing. Hearts were changing. The Holy Spirit was so strong I could hardly stand whilst I was praying for people. Exciting times. All I can say, is I feel blessed to be a part of God at work and say “more Lord, More!!”

Categories: stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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.

Categories: My journey, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jumper leads

Another random thought about the Christian life when asked by a neighbour to jumpstart their car:

I’ve realised that the Christian life is about hooking people into the correct source to get their batteries recharged. Sometimes that is literally: you have to jump start their car, or give them food or clothing. And other times it’s about jumpstarting their spiritual journey back to the Father.

Either way requires faith in action, and a bit of a jolt to achieve the desired result.

And so we don’t get drained, we need to remember, we are merely the leads… not The Source itself.

 

Categories: My journey | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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.

Categories: fun in the sun, My journey | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The long weekend

 

I helped a lady from her seat to walk her to the communion table and she began to cry. She quietly cried and cried. I could feel the presence of God on her. As I held her hand and she was crying, I too began to cry and pray. I prayed for this woman with kind eyes, who looked as though life had been tough for. That was Good Friday morning at our house. I had never met this lady before, but she had wanted to come to church when I was picking up others on our usual bus run and so her and her daughter had hopped on the bus.

It was a beautiful morning. Touching. Moving. Reminded me again of why God wanted us here: to keep our hearts soft.

Friday evening we went to Topsy, a local hostel for indigenous people who come into town from remote communities mainly for health reasons. The people there couldn’t come to our service today because many of them had dialysis in the morning so we came around to have communion and sing with them. It was a lovely time. We prayed together and enjoyed fellowship. One lady we had prayed for the night before was beaming. She had chest pains, but after we prayed, Jesus had healed her. The smile on her face was priceless. As was the smile on the other people’s faces as our boys handed out the bread and juice.

From there we went to the hospital. There is a girl there that has just lost her leg and her brother died a couple of weeks ago. She has been so sad. Today she was a little brighter as her family had been able to take her out to a local footy comp that was on over the weekend. My heart was breaking for this young girl as we shared communion with her, she loved that Zion gave her the bread, he insisted that he serve her. 

Zion loves to visit his friends as he calls all the people we go to see. And they are. They love him as much as he loves them. There is little verbal communication, but much is said. There is one lady that Zion always borrows her walking stick and pretends it’s a hunting gun shooting kangaroos or a bow and arrow etc… 

Saturday morning, I went into another hostel where a lady was staying who was also unable to attend the service on Friday. Church is one of the highlights of the week. They get to go out and see their friends and sing so when they miss out they sometimes are quite sad. So we went in to visit this lady, and she was in so much pain she was shaking and couldn’t focus. She said “my head, my head”. I prayed and then we poured communion and partook of the emblems. As she ate the bread and drank the juice the shaking stopped and she began to look clear. She smiled. I asked her if the pain had left and she said it had! I tell you, there is NO power in the juice and NO power in the bread, it is what that communion represents.

There is more to tell of Resurrection Sunday and my findings but it is for another time. Let me just say that once again. I was undone, broken and moved to love how Jesus loved. And was grossly made aware of what we consider necessities and what we take for granted. We need not leave our country to find the poor and undernourished and neglected. It does not take much to befriend the lonely, the unloved, the weak. But it does take some pride swallowing, and some soul-searching. We need more people who are willing to lay down their lives to share Jesus and instil a hope for the future right here in Australia.

 See we can try to fill a physical need, but unless we couple that with the hope for the future and an assurance of better things to come then it is like sticking a band aid on a festering wound. It will only do a temporary fix. I do know this is where some of you will tune out and say Rebekah is on her soap box again. aah, did I ever get off it? 🙂 I have seen many feel good, self-healing, fix-the-world things happening, and they are good… but I have seen nothing that transforms a person’s life, like one that has been touched by their Creator’s hand.

The power of the blood of Jesus is alive and well. It heals the sick. It brings emotional healing. It can restore families. I know that this is just the beginning of things to come. I would love to see whole families transformed, and I tell you they are BIG families here. God is not interested in lording it over people… He just wants people to be in relationship with him and experience freedom. He said in John 10:10 “I came that they may have life and have it to the full“.

Categories: My journey | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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.

Categories: My journey | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments

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