At Tuesday’s morning team meeting, Rachelle and James told us about their visit the night before. They were nominated to go and visit a newly wed couple as they were the only married people on our team with both partners here. Rachelle and James said that even their three year old was offering them a cup of tea they were so hospitable. They got to read the bible and pray with them. Ben, the assistant minister shared about his and his wife’s experience of ministering in a country town. Dan read out a Dorothea Mackellar poem as she is a big deal that came out of Gunnedah.
Dave talked in Lundie nursing home, on Romans 5:1-5 security in Christ. Together, the team and residents sang old songs like ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’, ‘A bicycle built for two’ and hymns like ‘When I Survey’ to which Paul didn’t recognise the original tune. The residents gave minimal response but as they were quite high care, this was kind of expected. Dave is also talking at a lower level care nursing home tomorrow.
A group of us ran the preschool out the front of Gunnadeh church this morning. Scott helped his little, green, furry friend Vern assist Alan with the story telling. The kids went crazy and absolutely loved them in both that role, then in playing duck-duck-goose and what’s-the-time-Mr.Wolf with them. Laura and Rachelle led some children’s songs. The majority of mums there were not church mums and some great conversations were had. I spoke to a young mum from Pakistan who was wearing a hijab and told me that she had been sent back to Pakistan while she was expecting her little boy due to visa issues. Her husband stayed here and didn’t see their little boy until he was almost two years old and they were able to come back. Ivy, the lady who is interested in international communications in the church, went and found Gladwin to speak to her husband when he picked them up. They were out the front of the church having a yarn when the man told Gladwin that he was both a Christian and a Muslim. Gladwin asked him about reading the bible and when he responded by challenging Gladwin to read the Qu-ran, Gladwin was able to say that he had. He also gave this couple his number and may do a follow up visit this week.
Joel and James went to a seniors bible study group whilst we were still playing with the small children. They were given a great morning tea then looked at Psalm 22 together. James said that they were able to have a great chat about David’s suffering, how this was fulfilled in Christ and how as Christians the way of suffering if meaningful for the Christian life as God’s people. Keith led the bible study and apparently did a great job!
Various people teamed up to go visiting this afternoon. Michelle and Peter visited a lady from the church who apparently talked non-stop for an hour and a half. Tom and I visited another lady from church who talked to us about the war, her time on a cattle farm when she was raising three boys and the need for country ministers. In fact, by the end of our visit, she was determined to see Tom ordained and heading to a country mission. We attempted to get out the door about three times after reading the bible and praying with her but she kept telling Tom that she didn’t know how else to tell him how necessary this mission was. Tom assured her that he had understood exactly what she was saying and ducked out by promising we would see her at the Wednesday mid-week church service tomorrow.
The other visit I did this evening was with Alan to a couple who had recently had their eight month old baby boy baptized in the Anglican church. We drove out optimistically to their property until we got a little disorientated. It was dark. We were in the country. An axe murderer could have been hiding behind any of the trees. But we made it in the end! And it was so worth it! I’m typing this up at quarter to ten at night, having only just got home as they were so lovely and we chatted for so long that I was worried we would overstay our welcome. Their baby boy was so chubby and delightful and their two little girls snuck out of bed to see the visitors so I got to read ‘Duck on a Bike’ to them while Alan talked to the adults. We plugged the men’s meat meeting tomorrow night and Alan might be bike riding with the guy on Friday. I hope that the lady can make the Friday woman’s Mad Hatter’s Night but as her little girl had a temperature today, this will depend on whether all the kids are well.
Mich’s Breeza blurb
A half hour out of Gunnedah holds a very small town; Breeza, of which we were able to join the small group of youths there. The group was initiated by a couple faithful in the Lord who wanted to see their community and it’s youth know Jesus and come to faith. We were so encouraged see their love for the Lord and also their neighbors in a community that is said to be a difficult context (low socio-economic status, low literacy rates, and unsympathetic to God and Christianity).
We were fortunate enough to join the team from Gunnedah Anglican, that meet with the youth once a month, tonight. We started the night with some games and Ben (Associate Minister at Gunnedah Anglican) told the story of God sending plagues into Egypt and saving His people from the Egyptians. We moved into question time which aimed to be very broad and hinging on objective opinion which would be more inviting for these kids (who have very little, to no, Biblical knowledge and church experience) to answer. In amongst the half-joking and jiggle-filled questions, there were some questions that really showed how God is working in the lives of these kids. One of the little boys there asked “Where was Jesus in the story? He usually is in all the stories. He’s usually the hero.” It really encouraged me as I saw how they had small grasps of the truth about Jesus and how God may be preparing them to receive the gospel of salvation.
It can be a tough and unrewarding ministry for the church, a ministry where it can be easy to feel burdened and feel discouraged by the apparent unfruitfulness. But I truly see God at work in these kids. Their response may be a very small and slow growth, and their words that may bring us joyful hearts for them may be far and few between, but the Lord is doing wondrous things in Breeza through His faithfulness and the faithful few. Please pray for Breeza and its people.
“…if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” – Romans 10:9
*For those of you wanting to read a really good blog, check out Laura Graham’s take on our preschool group;