Posts Tagged With: heaven

Part 2. Mysteries, Emotional Rollercoasters and Flickers of Hope

(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. ūüôā

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’.

One of the things she had written in her journal

One of the things she had written in her journal

Bronnie, me and our friend

Bronnie, me and our friend

My friend and I

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My friend Mrs Bennett

(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 √Ĺellow’ 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 ūüôā She couldn’t believe how much he liked to talk.

Mrs Bennett and Maku

Mrs Bennett and Maku

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

Singing in choir with Mrs Bennett and others
Singing in choir with Mrs Bennett and others

t our Jesus came to give us, life and that to the full! 

One of the baskets she made

One of the baskets she made

zion

Zion’s painting of Mrs and Bennett and him and the disco ball for dancing ūüôā

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God’s ways are higher

The grief we witness here on a regular basis is at times overwhelming, but on the other hand,¬†having the people of Central Australia as a part of our lives, and the way we have been embraced, and the stories we have been told, which we otherwise would never have known have far outweighed the sorrow. Our opportunities to share of God’s love with their families are wonderful,¬†but¬†when people share with us their journey of faith and their wisdom we are bestowed treasures.

What I wouldn’t give to see these wonderful ladies and men healed so they could return to their families and their homes, and we pray and believe for that to happen.¬†But God’s ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts.

I hear a lot about the latest catch cry ‘on earth as in heaven’ and what people think that means like bringing our idea of perfection here and all people are healed etc… well I think it is possibly deeper than that. Healings are great yes, prosperity is comfortable yes… but gold comes through the fire and is refined… and is lasting… perhaps on earth as it is in heaven is more about our will bending to¬†His, our ambitions being set¬†aside¬†for His, and our ways, not taking¬†precedence¬†of His…Things will not be perfect this side of heaven and God is not interested in us taking glory for ourselves and becoming a big name, he is interested in matters of the heart… persecution came on the early church because they needed to spread the word… perhaps sometimes our earthly suffering is sometimes the same…God giving opportunity for us to expand our reach…I know I would maybe have never met these people if they were not here in town… and I see that even in the midst of sickness and suffering, that they are making an impact on the lives of others… on my life… by being here… I am by no means saying that God is a sadistic god who uses our suffering for his gain‚Ķ I‚Äôm just thinking on how God utilises these things in our lives to bring about his purposes…all this to say… I am thankful for my richer life and the different perspectives I am seeing because of the life of the people I have met…

I do get glimpses of ‘on earth as it is in heaven’ but not usually how one would expect: it’s by looking in people’s eyes and hearing their heartbeat.alice-springs-pictures-3

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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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