Wedding bells - Wangkatjungka

Wedding_2018.jpeg

Wedding bells rang out at Wangkatjunka when Tony and Audrey decided to marry after coming  back to the Lord at a recent Christian convention.

“They wanted to bring their lives into line with God’s word in all sorts of ways,” said Broome Minister-in-Charge Michael Baines, who had the joy of helping them tie the knot.

“They desired to get married because this is what God wants for men and women who want to live together. Tony was happy for his community to see him being affectionate to his bride because he wants to be a good example of how to love your wife.”

The joyful occasion brought together the whole community of about 280 people who live some nine hours’ drive east of Broome.  

Michael explains that Broome Anglican parish has two services, a morning gathering and an evening indigenous service called the Broome People’s Church. The parish enjoys a growing partnership with the brothers and sisters at Wangkatjunka People’s Church.

“Tony assists in leading this church and it’s our privilege to help equip and support him with ministry resources provided by CMS Missionary Chris Webb, who leads the Broome People’s Church.”

Members from Broome have also helped repair the remote church building to make it suitable for meetings. 

NW ministry training program

19Hurley family - January.jpg
My heart’s desire is to clearly share the gospel with youth and young families, in the hope that God would save many.
— Brendan & Laura Hurley

The first candidate in our Training for North West Ministry program has been ordained in Geraldton for gospel ministry in remote WA.

Brendan Hurley is working alongside Paul Spackman at St George’s Bluff Point for four years as he prepares for the challenges of leading a church in this isolated region.

The North West Diocese recently launched the program which provides on-the-ground training to secure a pipeline of future gospel workers willing and equipped to serve.

Bishop Gary Nelson said the Diocese had concluded it was the only way to guarantee shepherds to lead God’s people.   

“We regularly have parishes without ministers and Mission to Seafarer Centres without chaplains. I travel all over Australia, speaking with many men in a bid to persuade them to consider ministry here.

“For example, Karratha is a big vibrant city and we’ve approached more than 40 people but sadly the post has been vacant for a year now.

“Yes, it’s isolated, the weather can be extreme and there is a high turnover of residents. However, there is great joy in proclaiming Christ and helping raise disciples in this part of God’s creation.”

In Geraldton, Brendan’s focus is on bringing the gospel to the next generation which means he will also work in partnership with the Cathedral parish.

“I became a Christian at 15 and since then I have just wanted to tell as many people as possible about what Jesus has done for them.

“My heart’s desire is to clearly share the gospel with youth and young families, in the hope that God would save many,” he said.

Brendan grew up in Sydney and worked as a banker but felt convicted that he should help grow God’s kingdom instead of growing customer bank accounts.

Finding freedom in gaol

Prison_01.jpg
I often speak about 2 Corinthians 5:17, that if anyone is in Christ they are a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come.
— Prison Chaplain David Hilton

Prison Chaplain David Hilton is helping inmates at Greenough Regional Prison break free of their past as they hear about Jesus, study the Bible and worship God.

Thanks to a partnership with the Bible Society, David has Bibles to give away and lend.

“A man came to faith in Christ while in prison and requested a Bible to take with him on release. He spoke about how beneficial his prison time had been, and how his new faith had given him a fresh perspective on life. He was an avid reader of the scriptures and was very happy to do this with his own Bible.

“Another prisoner asked me for a Bible in Arabic. Literature is strictly regulated in prison and I had no idea how to source one from an acceptable non-English supplier.

“I found it impossible until a Bible Society grant enabled me to get a prison-approved copy within one week!

“It was very significant for this man, because he has almost no functional English and is facing a very substantial prison term. He was overjoyed to receive the scriptures in his native language.”

David’s workday is full of difficult experiences. He may be talking with a parent who has murdered their own child, meeting with a prisoner who has killed their partner or singing hymns with violent criminals.

However, he’s had the privilege of baptising a prisoner (after he was released) and encouraging others – generally up to 12 men - who have chosen to enrol in correspondence bible study units run by Crossroads Prison Ministries.

David believes in ‘Christianity with sleeves rolled up’.

“Jesus went to the outcasts and if you want to meet outcasts you go to prison. It’s full of people whose circumstances and lifestyle has led them into a tragic place,” he said.

“However, being in prison doesn’t mean your soul is imprisoned. You can have freedom when you meet Jesus in prison.

“I often speak about 2 Corinthians 5:17, that if anyone is in Christ they are a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come.

“This is a powerful message for prisoners because they are often full of self- loathing and self-hatred. They struggle to define themselves beyond what they have done. Even their clothing – prison garb – tells them they are a sinner. Knowing they can break free from the past is important.”

David warns that working in prison is stressful and difficult. This requires you be ‘gentle as a dove and wise as a serpent’, quick to listen and slow to speak.

“The human heart is not naturally directed to do good and a lot of people are quite happy in their sinfulness. You need wisdom to know how to talk to people and to be appropriate in what you say.”

Please pray that prisoners would find the true freedom that comes from accepting Jesus’ forgiveness

Kids hear of God's salvation plan

Nicols xmas18.jpg

In Exmouth almost every child from Kindergarten to Year 4 has heard the good news about Jesus and God’s plan of salvation, during Anglican Church minister Frank Nicol’s school visits.

 It was a wonderful answer to prayer for Frank, and his wife Jo, who had been praying fervently for such an opportunity following a conversation with a school parent.   

 Jo explains: "A school mum told me she wanted her children to know the story about Christmas but didn't like to deceive them, especially because they were intuitive boys. To my shock, she was talking about Santa — not Jesus, and I realised how far the true meaning of Christmas was from her radar,” Jo said.

 "How terrible it is that people don't know Christmas is about Jesus!"

Frank, who is also part-time school chaplain, approached the Exmouth District High School principal in the lead up to Christmas. He was thrilled to be invited into classrooms to tell children about the first Christmas. 

Using the Bible Society resource pack The Really Good News of Christmas - for Me!, Frank explained God's big plan to 11 classes in junior primary. He was supported by Jo and a friend from the Exmouth Christian Fellowship. Parents were given the choice to opt out and a handful of children didn’t attend the lessons. 

Later at the town’s annual Community Christmas Carols, some 150 children joined in to perform the song they had learnt - On that very first Christmas - and receive a free gift of the book. 

Meanwhile, in Dongara there is a waiting list of children for the one-day kids’ club run by David and Traci Mitchell at Easter and Christmas time.

“Hardly any children are involved regularly with any church in town, so we have been running holiday clubs to engage more with primary school students,” David says.

Many of the kids from David’s scripture in school class also choose to come along.

“It has been very encouraging to see our church members prepared to serve God with their different gifts and so now we can pretty much run the clubs without relying on outside volunteers.

“For each club we use resources generously donated by Sydney supporters — a wonderful partnership in the gospel which enables us to grow ministry here and equip members of our church for ministry.”

Please pray for children and their families to know the Living Lord

Words of life save Ric's life

Ric MTS.jpg

Young Philippino seafarer Ric says his visit to the Geraldton Mission to Seafarers Centre — a ministry of the North West Anglican Diocese — literally saved his life.

During shore leave, Ric visited the Centre which is often the only onshore hospitality seafarers receive, and where our chaplains provide practical care and support.

Chaplain Wayne Sutton gave Ric a cadet pack which included Christian literature. Miraculously, the good news of Jesus shone a light into Ric’s hopelessness.

A few days after leaving port Wayne received an email thanking him for “a simple act of kindness which means everything.”

“The gift you gave me has done a lot for me,” Ric wrote. “The contents were very much appreciated – but the Luke’s Gospel was very special. It saved my life. Though I did not tell you this, I was feeling very lonely away from my family and thought nobody cared for seafarers.

“At times when I was alone I was considering disappearing at sea. Your gift showed me that someone cares about me. I have been reading the Gospel about Jesus and find it a good companion when alone in my cabin.”

Wayne says he shed tears of joy that God had saved Ric and provided ongoing comfort for him through the Lord Jesus.

“I really do appreciate what seafarers do,” Wayne says. “They have a difficult life with up to nine months at sea at a time, long shifts and sometimes shipping companies that treat seafarers as an expendable commodity. 

“It’s especially hard for cadets who are still adjusting to this tough life.” 

The North West Diocese reaches out to 6500 seafarers a month through Mission to Seafarer Centres at Port Hedland, Dampier and Geraldton and with our ship visiting program.

 “It’s a great privilege to serve seafarers with practical care and support. We give out Bibles and Christian literature in a range of languages and I pray for all the men I have met,” Wayne said.

 

From homeless to a home in heaven

port_hedland.JPG

Chris was living in his car when he turned up at St Matthew’s church in Port Hedland last year.

I think he was a bit embarrassed by his situation.

But he accepted our invitation to use church kitchen and bathroom facilities while he looked for work to get back on his feet. 

Since then Chris has met Jesus and his life has been transformed. He says: "I don’t know where I would be if it wasn’t for the people at St Matthew’s giving me a helping hand.  

“Without Jesus keeping me and protecting me I would be lost. He is my Saviour and Lord and I know that when I die I will go to be with him because he died on the cross for my sins."

Chris has experienced the love of Jesus through practical love and care from many church members. He has learned about the gospel as we have studied the word together each week and he has experienced God’s great power and comfort through prayer.

Eventually Chris obtained some casual work and was able to rent a flat with help from church members. Life was looking up, when suddenly, he had a massive heart attack and was airlifted to Perth for open heart surgery.      

Yet, during this time he was not alone. Chris talked a lot to God in hospital, thanking God for keeping him alive.

He came home to a fridge and pantry full of food from Christian friends. We visited him daily, took him shopping and to medical appointments.

Chris is a wonderful encouragement for our congregation. He is always thankful. He is generous with his time and is always up to helping anyone who needs it.

Each week Chris joins us for dinner followed by the Bible study group at our home. He has become part of our family, both spiritually and physically. I feel privileged that he is part of St Matthew’s and I praise God that he is our brother in Christ.

 
Cover_capture.PNG

Read more gospel news in North West Network December edition.

 

Discipleship rocks

 
Discipleship rocks.jpg
 

The discipleship program at Geraldton has helped teens grow in their faith and overcome challenges including Year 12 exams, death of a loved one and family upheaval.

Geraldton Cathedral Children and Youth Minister Rev Eion Simmons and a group of servant-hearted young adults help nurture the teens’ faith through ‘Regenerate’—a weekly Bible study, and Friday youth group.

“We don’t have shining lights, pumping music or huge numbers. But we prayerfully trust God’s word to do God’s work by God’s Spirit. And in God’s kindness we’re seeing our youth grow,” Eion says.

Year 10 student Justin de Vries has been built up by the fellowship, the challenging discussions as they study the scriptures together, and the trustworthy leaders.

“The studies have made me more motivated to read my Bible and study in my own time because I wanted to learn more.” Justin gained support from these Christian friends when his muchloved Nanna passed away suddenly.

“I feel like the leaders are people I can really trust so if I ever have anything going on in my life, I can really talk to them.”

Tom Grice says the fellowship and constant hope of God’s love helped him focus on the workload preparing for final year 12 exams. Anneka Spackman has relied upon the fellowship to help see her through change as her parents began ministering in a new church and she moved both home and school.