We are currently wrapping up our 16th week. We have moved out of our lecture phase and into the outreach phase. It has been an incredible journey up and to this point. We have been broken down, built up, and prepared to enter a spiritual battle for the lives of believers and unbelievers.
If you have been unable to follow along with us on our blog (akingdomripple.weebly.com) we have been undergoing an intense 12 week learning process to soften our hearts toward God. It is hard to serve God when unbelief exists in your heart. The classes we have experienced are "the Nature and Character of God," "the Lordship of Christ," "Repentance and Forgiveness," "Worship and Intercession," "the Fear of the Lord," the Father heart of God," “Evangelism,” “Leadership and Team Unity,” “Missions,” “Faith and Provision,” “Relationship and Submission,” and beginning Monday “Spiritual Warfare.” Each class has brought a new moment of personal and spiritual revelation, which continues to soften our hearts even more to the Lord.
The training process (lecture phase) in Perth was incredible. It has practically prepared us in a deeper fashion to live out our faith and relationship with God. It has given us a greater understanding of the nature and character of God in order to prepare us to reveal to all those who are in need of the transformational love, forgiveness, and grace of God. The key words here are practical understanding. Often time’s knowledge leads us, but is not lived out practically. A question to think about is whether the knowledge you have of the nature and character of God is acted upon practically every day, or does the knowledge and understanding of God remain within you only? This journey for us has and is continuing to force us to experience God in ways that is unlocking what we have known but yet not experienced or acted upon fully and practically.
Our class of 17 adults and 15 children will be heading to three location. Team 1 will head to the
Philippines and then to Kolkata, India. Team 2 will begin serving the Kimberley's in Northern Australia, and will join Team 1 in India. We have committed to join Team 2.
The location is set; however, the details of the type of ministry we are doing are coming to us day by day. The Kimberley's are home to a small population of Aboriginals. The Aboriginals here in Australia mirror the experience and treatment of our Native Americans. There are roughly 40,000 people living in the Kimberley’s. The majority of the people are Aboriginal. The Kimberley’s is estimated to be the size of California. It is extremely hot and known to be a difficult place to live given the extreme environment. Despite the extreme environment it is a beautiful area, similar to the North Western part of the U.S. The area in which we are going has an incredibly high rate of suicide, especially amongst the males.
The ministry that we have experienced to date in the Kimberley’s can be described as grass roots ministry. Missionaries have been traveling, living, and sharing the gospel since the early 50’s. YWAM has sent groups in to this area for the last couple of years. This year began a new ministry to establish a YWAM presents in hope to support and be a resource for the local churches, as well as one day provided a Discipleship Training School experience for the Aboriginal people. The Aboriginal people are an incredibly spiritual people group, which makes sharing the gospel very difficult. They are a close knit community with a culture that runs very deep.
Our time here primarily has been to be a resource for the local church in order to empower ministry leaders, and to simply be servants in order to foster relationships. Ministry is slow and intentional here. We have spent much of our time serving 5 local churches and ministering in a local park. This park is the gathering area for many families, and primarily Aboriginal people. Overall we have been able to support a church conference that pulled together all the Peoples Churches across the Kimberley’s. We have shared testimonies in the church, as well as in men and women’s small groups. We have lead worship, preached, prayer walked, and put on a children’s ministry conference. Our time in Gum Tree Park was spent serving food, playing “footy” with kids, and generally fellowshipping with the people in order to gain their trust so we may be able to share the gospel in the days to come. We have also been able to serve local families by providing services to help them in their homes given a variety of circumstances. As I said, the ministry here is truly grass roots. It is all about going where the people are, gaining their trust, and praying that doors will be opened to share the gospel.
.In just over two weeks we will be heading to Kolkata, India. What we know to date is that we will be working with churches for the purpose of empowering them to disciple people, and to bring the gospel into the surrounding slums. We will be doing street evangelism, as well as a bit of medical mission work. Kolkata itself has roughly 9.5 million people. 30% of the population lives in the slums. That is about 2.7 million people.
One fact that we cannot deny is that we have now been away from home for four months. We have been on outreach for 2 weeks, and have done a lot. It is amazing how quick and slow the time has gone. We wake up most days in disbelief that we are still waking up in Australia. We are also overwhelmed and excited as we finished the first leg of our journey, and have embarked on the next. Overall, the weeks typically go quick due to the pace of life; however the time is slow because we do long for home a bit. It is easy to say "home is where your family is," when you are living in a comfortable and familiar place. We are learning how to redefine what home is, as well as what life should look like if everything truly belongs to God.
The time in Perth had been intense, but fun as well. We have taken moments to explore the area. Now that we have moved out of Perth to the Kimberley’s (Northern Australia) we feel a bit like Louis and Clark as we journey to different parts of the country. While in Perth we were able to go on adventures and make new stories with new friends from around the world. With intense learning and spiritual growth has also come a time to recover and enjoy God and life. For the past three weeks we have been in the Kimberley’s. Our adventurous outings focused on ministry opportunities, which has been incredible as we have gotten to experience and learn how God is at work in this community.
As a family we are doing well. The journey from Perth to the town Kununurra (Northern Territory)took five days by bus. Keep in mind this bus was not a coach bus. It was a bus that has been well used and began its life in the early 80’s. The kids did wonderful. We are longing for home, but know we are right where we are supposed to be. Obedience to God does not always give you the answers you want; however it does force you to grow in trust for Him. The kids are adjusting fairly well to the changes they have faced. God has been very kind in this area. Charlotte is gaining a greater understanding and identity in God. Lilly is gaining the heart of God as her compassion grows and her eyes are open. Ture is learning self-control and finding voice . Griffy is learning to share and revealing a heart of service. Tessa is becoming nimble like a chubby cat as she is motoring around everywhere as she crawls like an awkward elephant (on all fours). Carolyn and I are learning how to trust God, let go of control, and grow in our understanding of his nature and character.