Posts Tagged With: hope

Trip to Indulkana

Footy in the bush

When I was a little girl my family would go to a little community called Kyogle where some friends lived and we would stay and play. Travelling into Indulkana gave me a trip down memory lane. Not that the terrain looked the same. It was the set out of the town, but more it was the smiles on the children’s faces. They reminded me of my friends smiles, the little girl in me wanted to go and run and play with them.

Indulkana is a community in South Australia, a couple of hours south of the Northern Territory border. It is set on a hill with beautiful views into a valley and overlooking other hills. The first thing you notice when entering the town is the footy field. Not the lush green field that most of you would be used to seeing, but this beautiful red earth ground. When the fellas kick the ball the dust goes flying into the air with the ball. The community has a store in the centre, a school, and a small church with a large open-air space with 2 sails above the “stage area”.

I came on this trip with my mum, and friend Sarah who was from here and all her family were very happy to see her. Just over a month ago, Sarah’s aunty Angkuna, was in hospital and Sarah and Sarah’s brother and I went to visit her. She was quite sick and had just had her appendix out. I had the privilege of praying with Angkuna and brought her in a Pitjantjara Bible when I next visited. I did not get to see her again before she left for home, but a couple of weeks ago Sarah had said that Angkuna had asked if I would come down to Indulkana and see her. Sarah keen always to go for a trip home (she is in Alice Springs because she needs dialysis 3 times a week) said she would take me, so we made our plans. I had no idea what awaited me.

When I arrived it was footy time and just like the Barossa, the whole town turns out to the game and everyone parks around the footy field and (because the wind was so cold) most people sat in their cars and tooted when their team got a goal whilst the little kids mucked around on the sidelines. And at quarter the fellas walk

  in to the huddle to hear what the coach has to say whilst the little kids get a quick kick on the field…. the similarities were amusing to me- football is a culture all of its own and has the same language no matter where you are it seems…

Sarah had bought some fizzy drink and chips for the grandkids so we found them and delivered them and were able to give some beanies and jumpers that some lovely ladies in Tasmania had made. It was lovely to meet Sarah’s son and daughter. And one of the grandchildren is what I imagine Sarah would have looked like when she was younger. Cute locks. Beautiful smile. Cheeky eyes.

We then went in search of Angkuna.

When Angkuna saw me she moved quickly at me and gave me a huge hug. I didn’t know how she would respond to me whether it would be a shy smile or shake my hand or a look of who are you? so when I was grabbed into a big hug and then she was holding my hand and smiling at me I was overwhelmed. It was lovely to feel loved and remembered. We went and she showed us the old church platform that she said was built a long time ago and said she used to sing and read from there.

Having a chat in the car out of the cold

  She was sad that they no longer met there. I was so frustrated that I didn’t know the language well. She was talking to us in language and English so I was picking up what I could. Thank God that I had learnt some words from Sam who has been teaching our family Pitjantjara and he also loaned me a dictionary so I have been working through their Bible learning words. This helped, but I felt so inadequate, but Sarah was a good help to me. We prayed together.

Suddenly as quickly as it started, somehow without any conversation, it was done. Angkuna went. Sarah said we were finished. Mum and my original plan was to only go Saturday, sit with them, share and then head back  in the morning on Sunday, but they had thought differently. That was enough for today. Sarah said as we were driving to Marla that we were expected back tomorrow. So we went to Marla for the night. (this is a town 1/2 hr down the road where we were staying). Sarah came with us and so we had a good night playing cards, her laughing at me trying to speak Pitjantjara, watching TV and drooling over cooking shows and hearing some stories from Sarah of her younger wilder days as well as her worries of her family.

The next morning after we had breakfast we headed back to Indulkana where Angkuna was waiting for us with her family around a

 campfire. When I got there I was handed a little boy whom I wasn’t told his name until later ( because when a person dies that you are named after the family do not like to mention their name for a time and the little boy was named after his father who had just died recently.) He was a cute little kid and was pointing out all the dogs to me. We then headed over to a visiting evangelist, Binyi and his wife from Ernabella. They shared in song and then he preached a word that we are to stand firm in the faith and be strong in the Lord. It was wonderful to worship with brothers and sisters in the Lord and meet some other people I hadn’t met but felt they knew me because when Angkuna arrived home she gave the Bible I gave to her in hospital to another lady. She too hugged me and sat me down next to her. I was once again given the baby and the young kids who were playing soccer in the middle of the service (my sort of church service 🙂 came over and would sit with me and smile and touch my hair and hug me and then go and play again. Ladies were also talking with my mum and holding her hand and singing with her. We really enjoyed the service. I knew it was getting late, and with no phone service i was unable to tell Ben I was ok and he was expecting me home before dark, so I tried to leave, but I was told that first we needed to go to the cemetery.

Sarah wanted to visit the grave of one of her brothers, but also the community was holding an unveiling ceremony, which I suppose is like a memorial service in our culture. Those family that were unable to make the funeral were able to pay their tributes and evangelist Binyi was able to share a very encouraging message that in our Father’s house are many rooms, and that Jesus goes to prepare a place for us. I was so moved by the way that we were invited to take part and that they included us in this special event. The wife of the man who had died (also her young daughter 7 years old) had died in an accident, she came and led me to their grave and stood holding my hand. They all shake hands with one another as a sign of being with them in their grief. It was a sad but beautiful event I felt honoured to witness and in a small way be a part of.

I got to talk with the minister there (who also  teaches the young people footy:-) ). He said that about 8 years ago, the community were in a special spot spiritually and within a matter of a month I think he said that they wrote 120 songs! I have one of the double CD’s of that time and they are beautiful and anointed songs.

All in all it was a great experience. I enjoyed getting to know new people. I got to experience things I had never experienced even some food that’ll I’ll need to ask what the name of it is. But most of all I got to see God at work.

As we were leaving the town, two ladies flagged me down and one was the lady that had received the Bible from Angkuna. She said “Palya malpa wiru” which means see you good friend. And I really felt like I had met a good friend. We traveled on, and a reminder that we were out bush saw a family of wild pigs. I stopped to get  a photo but then they started coming at the car so I only got a photo whilst driving away :-).
I have other things that happened, but this is the gist. The other things are to be told in person. I’m looking forward to my next trip there.

Wild Pigs

My prayer is that we were a light and an encouragement, and that I will have opportunities again to learn as much as I did on this trip and see my new friends again.

I apologise there are not many photos of the gatherings, I didn’t feel like it would have been appropriate except for the one’s where I was able to ask like with Sarah and Angkuna, so you will have to use your imagination (just think lots of red dirt 🙂 ).

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Wanted to share this community development plan that a friend of mine is doing… and also like his challenge (as always 🙂 ) as to what systems we have in place to quench the spiritual fire that we keep asking for… hmmm food for thought

Markpedder's Weblog

Here’s a Community Development Plan we have had for a while, time to get on with it.

In a densely populated slum like Baseco, one of the worst things that can happen is FIRE. So many homes do not have running water, the materials people built from are so flammable, especially in the summer months, so many people are either cooking or lighting their homes with some sort of an open flame. People get drunk, fights happen, people fall asleep and accidents happen, a child is careless…whatever the reason, FIRES HAPPEN. It’s not a matter of IF, just a matter of WHEN. We can never stop all fires from happening, we can lessen the likelihood of a fire and we can be ready for when they do happen, so let’s get ready.

A slum across the other side of the Pasig, Parola, just recently had a large fire, more than…

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Mother’s Day- beauty and sadness

Mother’s Day is a beautiful day for me. My boys treat me so special and draw me wonderful pictures and give me lots of cuddles and extra long smiles…

Spending time with my mum is also special, and we had a lovely time at the Botanical gardens basking in the sun and having lattes.

Our church service was lovely too. We had two wonderful items from the children and they had made cards for the ladies there.

A couple of the ladies had also made some scrumptious damper and scones to share after the service and the ladies that I dropped home in the bus were so thankful.

It was these things that made my heart sing.

But then, at the same time there was a sadness. One young girl who comes to our church was crying because she hadn’t seen her Mum in a long time, and I watched on as she was comforted by a lovely lady from our church who tried to soothe the pain and give her hope for the future. And then the conversations with the older ladies that had not seen their families, they don’t come to visit and this day was just another reminder of that. Then there are the people I have met who are longing for children and haven’t been able to have them. There is a longing, a sadness that we can’t fix.

THe double emotions I feel here sometimes is a bit overwhelming. There is so much to be thankful for and rejoice over, but there is just as much to be devastated by, to cry over, to get overwhelmed by. The needs are so great and at times there seems no way through, nothing that’ll be lasting help.

Mother’s Day reminded me of the people in my life I am thankful for. It also became a day of reflection.

It is only when I remember to cling to Father God and the hope we have in Him and His ability to heal broken hearts, bind up wounds and restore families that I see a bright future for here.

Please continue to pray and reach out for the lonely, the broken-hearted and the sick and poor: this is what Jesus calls us to do.

 

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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.

 

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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“.

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Just like Cathy… ;-)

Well, you know a “long-time” friend of mine recently posted her Catchphrase… (see hers, well one of her many 🙂 here http://toomanyflowers.wordpress.com/ ) and so it got me thinking about mine…  I think I’d better go with this slip of paper that I have been keeping on my fridge forever (even in amongst about 4 or 5 moves) it is one of the first things unpacked… It too is a quote from Mother Teresa.

I know that you think you should make a trip to Calcutta, but I strongly advise you to save your airfare and spend it on the poor in your own country. It’s easy to love people far away. It’s not always easy to love those who live right next to us. There are thousands of people dying for a bit of bread, but there are thousands more dying for a bit of love or a bit of acknowledgement.

The truth is that the worst disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis; it’s being unwanted, it’s being left out, it’s being forgotten.- Mother Teresa

 Hmm, food for thought huh? Alice Springs keeps this quote in the forefront of my mind, but where ever you are, God calls us to love… even when it’s tough.

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