*Before you launch into reading this blog, let me justify the length slightly by saying that our Gunnedah team actually went to church services in three different locations today. So I have tried to cover our collective Sunday experiences below.
Boggabri Church Service
The car that set off from Gunnedah was driven by Joel, owned by Laura and although it began its journey with Briony and James as its only passengers, along the way it acquired a hitch-hiker skilled in martial arts. The story goes that Joel took pity on the hitch-hiker and the boys arranged for Briony to sit in the front seat so that the hitch hiker could sit in back. Laura has a small car. Briony said that they had some good conversations with him. He works as a concreter, is trained in martial arts and told all the Sydney siders the best places to go to spot koalas. The Moore college reps got to explain what missions week was and why it brought them so far from Newtown and the hitch-hiker got to explain how to harvest cotton.
James Gowing spoke at Boggabri on the passage in Mark 4 where Jesus calms the storm. Joel and Briony did the kids talk. They were well fed with both morning tea and then lunch with two families, including the minister’s family. The loveliest thing that I overheard Briony say to Ros Thomas was that she felt like the people at Boggabri had welcomed her into their church family and she felt right at home there.
Gunnedah Church Services
It was a bright and early start in the Gunnedah church today, with the sun streaming through the stained glass windows bathing the traditional Anglican service in a glowing light. Traditional hymns and prayer book readings were adhered to, including praying for Elizabeth our queen. Not many young people were in the church service, but we did our best to carry a tune along with the organ accompaniment. Cameron gave his testimony then Colin Bale spoke. Colin began by reading John 15:13 Greater love has no man than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. He talked about how this was a common text that family would have inscribed on the memorials of WW1 victims, then went on to talk about how this greatest act of sacrificial love was shown through Jesus and how we can accept this in our lives.
A scrumptious morning tea followed the service. Cups of tea, home made cakes and conversations with people such as the lady who told Michelle that she had been attending church services all her life but only became a Christian when she was seventy.
There were many more families and children in the 10am service. This meant that the singing had a bit more, shall we say, power behind it? The guitars and violin helped too. Scott, Laura and Alan put on a skit with a puppet for the children out the front that was delightfully engaging and included both Tim Tams and Jesus. Tom gave his testimony and Gladwin Joseph spoke. Gladwin spoke on how we wrestle with the subject of death; how can we live if we are unsure about the end? He used the example of the thieves on the cross in Luke 23:29-43.
Following this service was a welcome lunch for the Moore mission team. The people of Gunnedah sure do know how to put on a good spread! People from both the church and Moore were interviewed in-between lunch and sweets. The man from Gunnedah, as he was reminiscing about past Moore college students, said that the girls were much better shots (as in rifles) than the boys! The Minister felt the need to clarify that this was not during the door knocking outreach.
3pm Touch Footy
When I asked Scott who won, he said, “The game won.” I don’t know what this means. But maybe if you’re a boy and you’re reading this, you do. It was good weather, a good show of kids and apparently both the minister and the assistant minister were good players. It was all good.
The 6pm Youth Service was at the opposite end of the Anglican spectrum to the 8am. It was held in the hall. There was a guitar and singers up the front. Shoes were optional. A pretty decent crowd showed up, which some of the girls told me was standard. I gave my testimony. Dave spoke on the passage of the sinner woman washing Jesus’ feet in Luke 7. He challenged us whether we loved Jesus like a VIP or like someone who meant the world to us.
Milo and chocolate biscuits were had after the service to the delight of all. We are all seriously going to come home 10kg heavier than when we left, so watch out families!!!
Every time I tried to hunt down Chris after the 6pm service to tell me about the Mullaley church experience, he was deep in conversation with a young person. So I blame him, in his godliness, for not having any information about this service other than to say that he went and came back in one piece and I am sure that the church were blessed to have such a champion among them for a morning.
P.S It is raining!!! Which might not mean much to Sydney readers, but out here, where they have been struggling on the farms and praying for rain for months, it is a real answer to prayer. Praise God!
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