Posts Tagged With: women

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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Jesus healing

On Wednesday we have a bible study for some new Christians in our church, this particular week for different reasons we only had one lady show up, and so rather than do the formal study we asked if there was anything she would like to know about. She said that she wanted to know more about the story from the kid’s talk on Sunday which was on the theme ‘i want more’. We discussed the passage about the woman who came to Jesus persisting he listen to her. From there we talked of her family and how God had been moving in their lives and she told us of her brother-in-law’s sister who was staying with them at the moment. This lady has been bedridden. She has so much pain in her back she even eats lying down. She had tried everything from doctors to witch doctors and other healing methods, but she hadn’t encountered Jesus. So we shared the story from Acts 19 where Paul prayed over some handkerchiefs and aprons and the people got healed.

We asked her if she wanted us to do this for this lady, she was keen but had nothing of hers with her. so, we prayed over a tissue and believed that as our friend took it home the lady would be healed.

And she was… Our wonderful Jesus, showed up.

She is now sitting up and eating, and the pain is gone! Others in the family wanted to touch the tissue to get a touch, but we know there’s nothing special about a tissue… it’s the power of Jesus, alive and real today, working through his people, who are asking and open to his touch. And then that faith being transferred to others because they see a powerful God at work, who is intimately involved with our everyday lives and struggles.

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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

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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!!”

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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 ūüôā 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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Her story

Met a lady yesterday who had to tell me her story. She couldn’t help it. I was sitting in the bus waiting for some young fellas I pick up for our youth bible study. People know our buses. They’re not very ‘cool’ looking, but they get people’s attention. She decided I would want to hear her story. She was walking past and waved and smiled. Then stopped and then came over to the bus and shook my hand. And then she began.

The best thing about her story was that most of it was in Luritja. Which I don’t understand. There were some English words thrown in, that helped. But what I needed to understand, I did. She made sure of it. She would repeat it unless I said to her what she had said to me. ūüôā

She had been walking through a carpark near some shops and had been hit by a car. She had been taken to the hospital, where they said her leg was badly damaged and that she would be a cripple, BUT their Pastor had come and prayed for her. She had a vision of Jesus. She was healed. She wanted me to know. Jesus healed her. She prayed. Her family prayed. Her pastor prayed. HE listened.

When she said the name JESUS her eyes were shining and she was telling me about the God who is near. She has met him.

God is at work today. He loves us. He desires to meet us where we are at.¬†Some of us think that he saves those special healings for overseas missions, but I see God at work very much in the town¬†of Alice and its surrounds. In the short 9 months that we¬†have been here we have seen¬†God touch hearts, heal bodies and calm minds.¬†He is wanting to do it wherever we’re at.

The lady was so excited she had to share her story. I want to be so excited I just have to share my story. It says in the Bible that we should always have an answer for when people ask us of the hope we have in us. In the good times and the bad. In the miraculous and in the dark hours, we have good news, and people need to hear about it.

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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.

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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 ūüôā 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 ūüôā ).

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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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