Posts Tagged With: fun

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

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

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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Some more pics of our Glen Helen stay

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Glen Helen

After a busy few months we were blessed by some wonderful people who sent us away for a night to Glen Helen Resort. It was lovely to be out of mobile range and just enjoy some family time. Our boys enjoyed the much needed time to explore and have their parents to themselves. We had a fantastic time, played monopoly, cards and explored and enjoyed the terrain. I thought I would share some photos of our trip. Probably one of the greatest things I am missing about the terrain is being within easy access to a beach, so I suppose this was the next best thing. Sitting on the sand, closing my eyes, in the warmth of the sun I could (almost)🙂 feel a gentle sea breeze… and the boys got to splash in the biggest body of water we had seen in a few months… We also explored Ormiston Gorge where we got to experience a dingo up closer than Josiah would like. The cave that the boys found went a lot deeper than we first thought. Josiah wanted to live there 🙂 it was nice and warm.

Look close and you can see the cave the boys climbed up to and in

Elijah and Josiah in the cave entrance

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First day back at school. Marble run.

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Did someone say we just had holidays?? I must have missed the memo. The month has been sooo full and we have felt like central station a lot of times… So maybe things will settle down now school is back 🙂 should I have said that??

We started the morning slow as we have had someone staying in our school room and haven’t been able to get into full swing… so we played dress ups of vikings and pirates and other interesting things and then we began a study on gravity (well that’s what a marble run teaches them isn’t it?? 🙂 ).

 

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school fun

more affectionately known as Elijah

looking mean huh 🙂

Today our house was very cold indeed so I decided that baking was definitely on the agenda (don’t you love the organisational skills oozing out of me. So whilst we preheated the oven (for a good half hour:-) we did our maths and English at the dining room table as that was closest to the oven and therefore the warmest.
The boys were doing great at their work and we made cupcakes with the littlest mess I have seen in a long time… nice. While the cupcakes cooked Elijah had a plan (as he always does) we could do face painting… so our day has now consisted of cooking and imagining and now they are playing together pretending to be the super heroes and villians they created and got me to make their faces like… aaah it’s been a great morning. Trying to remember this and savour these moments.

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The Gruffalo

Reading a great book at the moment with the children.

Fun. Clever. Colourful.

So decided to make a craft lesson out of it….

this is what we came up with…

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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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Elijah

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 http://superelijah5.wordpress.com

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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