The ‘crawl’ stage 5 … Miles & Chinchilla

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For this stage we made our base camp in Chinchilla, hosted by David and Di Knott. However, our first official duties were at Miles Presbyterian, with an interview during the service leading to some great conversations over morning tea. Once again, we keep meeting folk with a real heart for this ministry. There is a long history of sending and supporting missions from the Darling Downs churches.

The drive from Miles to Chinchilla is nothing like I remember from years past. Industry has come to the region in the form of gas suppliers and power stations, with trucks dominating the highway traffic. The towns are changing too, and spending time with the locals confirms that the impact is seen in many ways. There are new estates, and ‘work camps’ outside town; FIFO (fly in fly out) workers fill the pubs every night; and Chinchilla now has a McDonalds!

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The Sunday evening service in Chinchilla was given to the Campbells, for a message from 1 Kings 17 and a presentation which included some interactive cultural challenges. We enjoyed the format, and it provided a foundation for building relationships further over lunches and coffees in the following days.

Cactoblastis Hall
Cactoblastis Hall

Overall, the week was a slower pace for us, but spiritually refreshing. We found some real gems in God’s kingdom! [and we got to see the only Australian memorial building named in honour of an insect!]  God is good at providing what we need at just the right time.

God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.   2 Corinthians 9:8

An ex-tractor fan?
An ex-tractor fan?

Prayer points

– Pray for the believers doing their utmost to serve in the region, that they would find strength and encouragement daily.

– Pray that churches may be able to respond to the change in the community, both in caring for existing members and reaching out to the newcomers. Miles PC has been able to establish a bible study in the nearby ‘work camp’.

– Remember our older saints, as illness and frailty take their toll. May they know grace and hope in their later years.

Next week … Bell, Kingaroy and Toowoomba  

The ‘crawl’ stage 4 … Roma

ImageAfter settling in with Bruce and Alison Clarke Saturday evening, we worshiped with Roma Presbyterian on Sunday morning. Keith spoke from Philippians 2, looking at spiritual service, and we were able to give a detailed presentation following morning tea. The conversations continued afterwards, with a number of requests for ongoing prayer contact.Much of the next four days involved putting the theory of service into practice! In response to our offer to be put to use, Alison arranged for us to visit two dear women in need of some help with a few odd jobs. The ability to serve, and to build relationships in the process, was a great blessing to us. The Clarkes also had to move house due to the sale of their rented property, and the Lord’s provision in us being there to help at the right time was clear to all concerned.

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We had several opportunities to be involved in events within the church community, and the town in general. A prayer morning with a few pastors, a chaplaincy breakfast club, and singing with a group at the Westhaven aged home, all added to the connection with the Roma churches. During the Thursday night Christmas street party and a choral performance on Friday hosted by the Uniting Church, the way in which many folk greeted us as friends confirmed that the approach to getting involved in the life of the community was the best way for us to convey the message of partnership in ministry.

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Many thanks go to the Church of Christ community for the gracious provision of a campsite behind their church building. We praise God for the way in which he enabled us to serve, and moved others to serve us in such a practical way.

Therefore, my dear friends, … continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose.   Philippians 2:12-13

Prayer points

Pray for unity amongst the Roma churches, and for the effectiveness of joint outreach events in presenting Christ to the community.

Pray for much needed rain in the surrounding region. [The choir performances included “I’m dreaming of a wet Christmas”] The storms we experienced in Biloela largely passed them by!

Uphold the Clarkes as they enjoy a much needed break with family, then return to set up home again in January.                                                                Next week… Chinchilla & Miles.

The ‘crawl’ stage 1 … Mackay

   
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Four-and-a-bit hours south, and we hit the coastal city of Mackay, home to over 70,000 people and the very hospitable brothers and sisters of Mackay Presbyterian Church.After speaking at the morning service at North Mackay, we headed to the Northern Beaches, and established some good connections in both congregations.

Through the week, Elspeth shared with a group of Northern Beaches ladies, and Keith joined some of the men for a bible study. We’ve been fed, licked (not sure if we were puppy-sitting or the other way around), and prayed for. A highlight was meeting some folks at a PresCare morning tea, and enjoying a few hands of euchre (a card game combining skill with a degree of bravado). It would be great to be that lively at 70 plus!

Prayer points

Praise God for opportunities to really get to know pe

ople. We don’t want the six week tour to be totally focussed on us, but hope to develop relationships and to be able to pray for folk in a meaningful way.

Pray for the Northern Beaches church plant, that they would continue to reach into the community with the gospel.

Mackay has been impacted by the economic slowdown in the mining sector, and this is felt in the city generally, and in the church community. Pray that God may sustain folk through uncertain times.

Next stop… Rockhampton & Yeppoon. Keep praying that God leads us into conversations and relationships to His glory.

 

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Coming to a town near you!

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In a few days time, we head off on our six week “church crawl”, seeking partnership with congregations and individuals along the journey. With 1800 kilometres of driving, and ten congregations in the schedule, we expect to be kept occupied.   It won’t be all work and no play – there is some amazing countryside along the way. We hope to be blogging each week up to Christmas, so keep checking for photos. We’ll soon see if the ‘smart phone’ lives up to its title. Expect snaps of church groups, generous hosts, lots of trees, and some relaxing campsites.

Prayer points

Safety… we take nothing for granted when travelling. Between the road surfaces, other drivers, and the odd kangaroo, there are plenty of potential hazards.

Stamina, physically and spiritually… we have planned to spend up to a week at each stop, but it is still a lengthy journey. Time away from routine can be a challenge. Pray that we be ready to serve each congregation in whatever way God leads.

Prepared hearts… that God will lead us to connections with folk who will take us into their hearts, their homes, and commit to partnering with us in His service.

Hitting ‘the suburbs’

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The remaining weeks of October saw us in the Burdekin area, fellowshipping at Home Hill and Ayr. There is certainly a degree of intimacy in smaller congregations, and the warmth of the welcome was a blessing. Elspeth has been invited back to a meeting with church women – though one of the Home Hill elders suggested he may happen to turn up – in the home of a dear couple who hosted her during a teaching placement in 2007.

As mentioned in the September blog, it is wonderful to pick up friendships from years past, and to enjoy an instant connection. You sense the Spirit at work in those moments, drawing us together into relationship with God. [John 17:20-23]

Further reunions followed, meeting up with Andrew and Simone Richardson, who have joined the team ministering to the church in Cairns. Some of our ‘blog followers’ will remember their time in Townsville in the late nineties… though they now have three sons.

What an amazing church! We walked in as the Bhutanese service was closing, and the English speaking morning service was followed by Cook Islanders, Samoan, and Korean / Japanese services. If ever there was an effective earthly picture of “every nation, tribe, people and language” worshipping in Revelation 7, you’ll find it in Cairns Presbyterian. A number of folk took Partnership cards, and many showed interest in what we had to share.

Now to prepare for ‘the big tour’…