Babies, High School, a Dinosaur, Cars and a High tea
What do they all have in common?
Not much, except that this is what the team at Oak Flats got up to on an eventful Tuesday
Our days on mission always commence with reading the Bible together, prayer and some logistics on the activities for the day. On Tuesday, Lionel shared Romans 10:8-14 with us, which many of us realised (perhaps all too late) that the first words from Romans 10:8 is a reference from our Deuteronomy 30:14 Hebrew exegetical! More importantly, we were shown that Gospel words communicate the Gospel for salvation. With this encouragement, we were sent into the day.
TOTS play group
First on the list of activities was the TOTS playgroup; a toddlers and babies playgroup held at Oak Flats Anglican for anyone in the community. This draws many from community, normally not involved with the church. Interestingly, there were a lot of grandparents present, unlike most of the churches’ playgroups that I have been involved in that are normally full of young parents. Jemima (1st year) and Kathryn (2nd year) ran story time and performed a live drawing about an unexpected hero of the Bible, Moses. They told the story of Moses who rescues God’s people from slavery in Egypt, just like a greater hero, Jesus who rescues us from the slavery of sin.
At this group I also met a really smiley baby called *Linda and met her dad *Barry. Barry was from the local community who had just recently had returned to the playgroup. He moved away into the Oak Flats community because the house prices in Sydney were becoming too expensive and Sydney was getting too busy. So he moved into Oak Flats. Barry was welcomed back to the playgroup with great affection by other parents and helpers from the TOTS club. Through conversation, we learned Barry hadn’t gone to church in a while, and after a good chat, we were able to invite him on Sunday for the “Back to Church Sunday”.
High School assembly
Around lunch time, the team split up, with most of them going into the local high schools to run their Scripture assemblies. The assembly was named, “How good is good enough?” with the team communicating if any of these celebrities would be good enough before God?
David Simmons (2nd year – and apparently studying to be a priest according to Wikipedia – Ed: never trust Wikipedia for everything), helped out with the assemblies and gave his testimony. This is what Dave had to say about the experience, that after the high schoolers tried to take the rugby ball off Him (which of course they were unable to do), Dave was able to illustrate that Salvation from God cannot be taken or earned, but has to be received from Him.
Primary school assembly
At Balarang Primary School, the O2 team gave an assembly for their Christian RE classes. We presented a skit who had lost his cross. Once finding it, he didn’t know what his cross meant; did it mean the place where you find treasure like on a treasure map? Or that you are wrong like on a test paper? Or does it mean “I love you” like on a love letter? Or that you want someone to be your leader like on a voting slip? In the skit Kathryn (2nd year) was able to explain that Jesus’ cross actually means all this for Christians; God loves us that Jesus died for our rejection of Him so that we can have the treasure of forgiveness and heaven, and therefore we should make Him our leader.
Dorothy the Dinosaur, owned by the church, made an appearance at this school assembly. No unit at college had prepared me for being a dinosaur in amongst a crowd of overly excited primary school kids. Urgh.
Door knocking has also been underway throughout the week. Half the team has the responsibility for engaging as much of the Oak Flats community as they can. John Khana (2nd year) and I knocked on some doors just on the road of the church. John said that the doors that were opened to us were a mixture of warm and cold responses. It was surprising, John said, just how long some of the people we met were willing to have long conversations about very personal issues. It was disheartening to hear from some of their previous experiences with established religion and churches in the past. That being said, we had a handful of conversations who positively received invites for “Back to Church Sunday”.
The other half of the team are responsible for knocking on every door in the Valley of Jamberoo. Rob (1st year) had an opportunity to talk to a home schooler who didn’t believe in God, and his education didn’t include anything about God and so they could tell him about it to look into it himself. Saw a girl who had a church background and she was interested in the “back to church” Sunday and her mother came back home and she was also really interested in what the church was doing.
A Ladies Dinner was held at Oak Flats Anglican where they regularly invite friends from the community. With the church looking very shtick, I was pushed out the door before the event started, given I was a guy going to the “cars and Christianity” night. So given my absence at the event, Michelle Polly (1st year) told me what happened. Daisy (1st year – see pictured) and Alison Blake (team leader) were interviewed by Mandy McNeil. Daisy came from a non-Christian family and her friends invited her to church. Her parents banned from going to church, but she rebelled against her parents (Ed: that’s a big thing for an Asian family) and through it she realised that she was also a rebel from God. Kate Henderson (4th year) gave the talk from Hebrews 11 on faith. God Himself invites us to see His faithfulness in the past. Just like the people in the Old Testament who looked forward to God’s promises, we look forward to heaven while looking on what God has done in Jesus.
Men’s Car and Christians night
One of the real interests of the older folk at Oak Flats church is their vintage cars. John, the host of the event, had a 1928 Standard that he is in the process of remaking. Another bought their porche 9285 to show as well to the crowd. Throughout the night of looking at cars and gaining an explanation of how long they are taking to re-furbish their cars, Brian and Paul were able to give their testimonies. Ok, so perhaps two young asians didn’t exactly fit the cultural context of the crowd. But testimonies of turning to God away from other ways of approval always can connect with any age. A great thing to see was Jodie in action, he had as much enthusiasm about learning about their cars as he does when he talks about Oak Flats Anglican. And when you know how excited (and energetic of course!) Jodie is talking about Oak Flats and Jamberoo Anglican – that really means something. We thought it was a real mark of a genuine heart.