Part I by Erin
There is a lady in church named Ivy who is passionate about ministering to minority people groups in Gunnedah. So yesterday she took Dan and David to the Chinese restaurant across the road from the mining company that is owned by a Chinese incorporation and brings its workers across from China. No one showed up but they did get a good takeaway Chinese meal. Round two happened today. Five guys turned up and one was from the same province that Dan spent a year living in, so they had a lot to talk about. The big boss of the company was there and he was joking with Dan about racing bikes and Chinese jokes that don’t really translate so I won’t try in this forum. Eventually, Dan got around to asking them to the men’s meat outreach tonight; they had already seen the ad that David had translated and left on the counter. Some looked interested to come, but apparently it would be difficult to come if the boss didn’t give them permission. Whether they come tonight or not, Dan hopes to meet up with them once more on Friday.
Ivy also took Gladwin to the Indian restaurant where he got to talk to the owner/chef who had been in Australia since 1968. Sounds like Gladwin had a really good conversation in Hindi with him. From this, he scored a chili chicken dish that Ivy said was too hot for her but he was pretty happy about.
Last night, there was a men’s meat night at Bogabri where they cut a lamb up and interviewed Scott before he spoke on Ephesians 1-5 in what all the guys who went said was a great night. Dave got really passionate actually, talking about eating meat with men. Personally, I think he would get a much bigger portion if he ate meat with women although perhaps less macho-orientated-conversation.
This morning, after we had caught up on everyone’s ministries of the day before, Scott, the senior minister talked to us about his 17 years experience working in parishes and the tips that he would pass on to us. Dan read out his daily Dorothea Mackellar poem and we parted ways for the day.
Wednesday morning the church runs a traditional Anglican service for those who either cannot make Sunday or who chose to attend mid-week services for other reasons. It was very similar to the 8am Sunday service except this time Chris spoke. For such a humble and soft-spoken man, he gave a hard-hitting gospel message that made me wish that my loved ones who are not walking with the Lord could hear and be convicted by God’s truth.
Trivia was held after the service for the seniors. Ros had come up with the questions that were pre-1970’s in different categories. Alan, the nominated ‘Trivia-master’ only knew one answer himself, but was very kind in dropping hints and initials all over the hall. Yesterday, I had witnessed the ladies of the church painstakingly put together beautiful floral arrangements for this event. Today, they were constantly on the go; pouring tea, topping up biscuits on the tables, serving lunch and cleaning up. Ros gave her testimony, which was really encouraging to hear.
Colin was asked to give a talk that was not a gospel talk at this event. So he talked about the work that he had done studying WW1 history. The first slide was a photo of his great-uncle who had died in the great war and sparked Colin’s interest in this study. He went on to show many headstones and speak of how they reflected the ways in which those left behind had coped with such a great loss. Each story was heart-breaking down to the thousands of unmarked graves. Two in particular stuck with me. One picture was of two headstones alongside each other. Two brothers who had died within five days of each other whose family, with no other children, would have received two telegrams within days that shattered their world. Another was the grave of a fiancé whose mother did not allow the girl to marry her fiancé before he left for war as he would surely be killed. It turns out that she never did marry, but always wore her engagement ring and kept his picture in a place of honor in her home. Colin ended by challenging us all what we would want written on our headstones. Whether we would trust as whole-heartedly in the cross as some of the families who, despite their personal heartbreak, could write inscriptions such as ‘The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.’.
Part II by Michelle
We took a visit to one of Gunnedah’s retirement homes this afternoon, our second for the mission trip. This hostel was a low care facility, meaning that residents are usually more mobile and conversational. It was a pleasure to see many of the team go out amongst the residents to join them for their afternoon tea and a chat. We joined them for their weekly chapel service in the facility of which Gunnedah Anglican run the service. An old keyboard partnered the voices of many as we sang hymns and were reminded of the goodness of God – there is something about hymns that do that! It was amazing that, although frail, these men and women knew the songs and weren’t afraid to sing along. David, from Moore, encouraged the listeners to find their hope in Jesus, the only sure hope we have, He will never disappoint. It was a pleasure sitting and speaking with these residents as they recited the creed straight from memory. Pray that believers there would finish strong. Also pray that those who do not know Him would come to faith before their time comes.
We had the chance to have a delicious home cooked meal at the home of Jeanette, a lovely lady from the church. She and her husband were hosting 4 of the team at her house. Country hospitality was very evident in Jeanette; she opened up her house, welcomed us, put on a great spread, and we have some great conversations about coming to faith, Christians in the community, and evangelism. It was a great chance to experience fellowship amongst fellow believers in the country with much experience in the faithfulness of God behind them.
Erin and Mich signing out
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