Posts Tagged With: outreach

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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Tribute to Marlene

Marlene and her niece Marlene

Marlene and her niece Marlene

Marlene ready for her birthday trip to the Pizza house

Marlene ready for her birthday trip to the Pizza house

A few weeks back a lady shared with me a vision she had. I knew then, that her time was short here on earth, but that she was going to a far better place… A few of you might have read a part of this on Facebook, but let me recap:

Was just talking with a lady this evening who was on her death bed and she said she saw a large angel standing in the doorway and she was picked up by a man she recognised as Jesus. She was taken during this vision, to ICU where she saw her body lying on the bed. All around her were people singing praises. Next thing she knew she was back in her body and looking up at the doctor and nurse and said she wanted to go back to her home. She said ‘you know my heart’s no good, my kidney they no good either, and my leg and my arm, but one day it’ll be alright. I love Him, that Jesus and he love me proper good one’. I don’t think it’s long til she goes for good to see her Friend Jesus and be reunited with loved ones, I see no more fear in her… though, she could suprise us and live another 10 years… just nice Jesus gave her that glimpse of no more pain, and no more sorrow.

On the 25th December, Christmas Day, she had her last day on this earth. She had a lovely day. She was surrounded by family, her absolute delight. She had children around her (she called the sound of children ‘music’:-) ) then in the afternoon she asked to be wheeled down into the Todd River bed (dry of course) and she had a massive heart attack and passed away.

I had seen her two days before, and she was the happiest and most peaceful I had seen her in a while. She was busy practising a song to sing at church. Well she can sing it with an awful big choir now!

Marlene made a huge impact on our family’s life. She was the one that gave my youngest boy the name Maku which means white edible grub(witchetty grub)- because of his pale skin. She loved him and he adored her. He would pray for her every night “please heal Marlene’s leg”. One day when she was in hospital our second boy went in to visit her and taught her how to play the card game ‘fish’, she loved it. I think she wouldn’t have cared what he taught her, just that he was showing her special attention and laughing with her.

We took her out on her birthday and went to a restaurant and had pizza. She was so delighted. She thought everyone had forgotten her birthday.

Another family and ours went to the hostel where she spent her last days and sung Christmas Carols with her and her mother. I felt like it was one of the most important “concerts” we have ever been a part of, even if it was our smallest audience. I felt the presence of God around and renewed my sense, that this is what it’s all about- the ones, not the crowds.

She always said that my mum and I were like beautiful roses, always make her heart feel joy.

She was firey as anything and sometimes when I would come to visit it would take a while for her to calm down, but as I listened she would quieten, and then when she was finished she would ask me to put some worship music on for her. A highlight for her was when some of the Stirling team came up to meet her and sung acapella for her when she was in hospital, she sung in return to them in language.

I loved Marlene. She was a treasured friend, and she called us her family. “You mob are my family now”. I will miss her greatly, but as Zion said when we told him, “well now she will have both her legs and she will be able to run”!

Marlene loved Jesus. She had pictures up of Him all over her place, and now she gets to be with Him, all day, everyday.

Marlene knew at least five languages, had spent some of her life in Haas Bluff, Ntaria, Papunya and Alice Springs as well as other places. She had many brothers and sisters but a few of them she hasn’t seen since they were taken away when she was young she’d say “you know, they were the light skin ones hey”. Her first husband passed away in Hermansburg and then she lived in Papunya. She loved shopping and was hoping we were going to take a trip to Adelaide to shop 🙂 my sort of lady! She loved to be outside, and loved music. She would sing up the front at church sometimes.

Tonight was her memorial service. We sung At Home with Thee in Pitjantjara and Ngaanytjara. It was so moving.

She will be missed. Please pray for her niece who was her carer as she is taking it quite hard. She has cared for her for a long time, was brought up by her and is her namesake.

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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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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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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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