On Tuesday morning we helped Jo, one of the stalwarts of Newman Anglican Church in sorting through bags and bags of donations for the op-shop in preparation for the big sale on Saturday. We also helped sort through $2400 of silver coins which had been donated to the church by a man who had been saving it for 28 years! While it is easy to think that these were just little insignificant acts, having the extra hands meant that what would have been a few days of work ended up only being a few hours of work, a huge blessing for a small church. These tasks also helped us to appreciate the generosity of the community and the significant role the church plays in providing services in a small and remote town.
Wednesday morning saw us doing a tour of Whaleback Mine, the world’s largest single-pit, open-cut iron-ore mine. Mining is the lifeblood of Newman and the reason the town exists, and so it was helpful to get a greater insight into the work environment of the majority of the people living in Newman. The scale of the mining operations in Newman is absolutely mind-blowing. After the tour we went to the local Aboriginal art gallery, Martumilli where we saw artworks painted by Amy whom we had met at church on Sunday. Amy was at the gallery while we were there, and she was able to talk to us about some of the symbolism in her artwork. In the afternoon we helped out with the kid’s club which is run by the church. It was so encouraging to see that kids from church had invited their friends from school to come along. There isn’t any scripture in the schools in Newman so this kids club gives non-church kids an opportunity to hear the good news of Jesus.
On Thursday, Sarah and Bethany had the opportunity to attend a Martu playgroup run by World Vision. The playgroup co-ordinator, Rachel, is a member of Newman Anglican Church and so it was a good opportunity to see the work that she is doing in the community. A large number of the church congregation work for either the social services providers in town, and it is these jobs that have brought them out to Newman. Most of these organisations are aimed at providing services to the Martu people, the traditional owners of the lands around Newman. The poverty of the Aboriginal people is quite confronting, but it is encouraging to see that Christians are seeking to love and care for some of the most vulnerable and marginalised people in Australia. In the afternoon Jane and Laurie cooked up a storm to feed the kids who attend a local sports afternoon run by the Police. We all went out after they had finished playing footy (AFL not rugby league) and served them up a feed. That night the men had a fellowship dinner together at the Newman Hotel. It was encouraging to see the men from the church having some good conversations and being keen to see the gospel go out into the community.
- That members of Newman Anglican Church would be able to continue to build relationships in different parts in the community, creating opportunities to share the gospel.
- That God would use His people in the various workplaces throughout Newman and that they would be able to be a good witness to their colleagues and others that they work with.
- For continued energy for the team as we head into the final days of mission.