I’ve just returned from 11 days of Ministry, Adventure, Discovery and Safari where a group of 10 traveled from Darwin to Melbourne, stopping at various towns along the way. I’ve been blessed to have shared the experience with a group of people who exuded the love of God from the inside out.
I began the journey to Darwin without much knowledge of what to expect other than the possibility of not having any facilities to shower (BUT we were blessed with camping sites that had them. Phew.). When I signed up for this trip, I wanted to experience travelling through the Aussie outback – a true camping experience complete with lots of star gazing. I wanted a revival, an opportunity to serve God, a sense of purpose again and God answered those desires and more.
At the start of the trip, we were challenged to consider the fact that here and now is the only time we have to test our faith – and tested it was, both directly and indirectly. I was challenged to see more of the world through God’s perspective, to make more sense of the world as seen through His Word. The fire in my soul had to be stoked and I had to learn to allow God to throw the coals to allow the flame to burn brighter for Him.
We visited many missionaries and bible translators who shared their testimonies about how God had called them to be where they were. Although I struggled to make sense of it in the beginning, I soon began to realise that there were many things I could glean from them: their obedience, courage, perseverance, faithfulness and great dependence on God to provide and meet them where they were at. I was grateful for their honesty in sharing some of the struggles that they faced but also the joy that comes from serving Him. Based on what was shared, some ways in which we, collectively as His church, can support them is by:
- Prayer. We were constantly reminded of the fact that this was a spiritual battle.
- Encouragement. Whether it be through letters, phone calls, visits or messages.
- Support. It was important that they knew that they weren’t alone in this walk.
- Funds. The work that they presently do is already a huge burden to carry.
- Love. When missionaries return or when they are away, they need to know that the church is continually walking alongside them through their journey. This has personally challenged me to remember the fact that we belong to His family.
Pictured above is our general set up when we stopped. I loved waking up to this. It was especially great seeing how the tents that were pitched together reflected the great sense of unity that we shared as a group.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17
Each of us brought with us many gifts and talents, some more than others, and these were freely exercised in the communities that we ministered in. I personally struggled to find my fit but through the encouragement of the rest of the team, I found it! I was humbled by our diversity and enthusiasm to serve. Every single one of them had edified the fruit of the Spirit and had challenged me to exercise more of it in my life. We had bonded through worship, prayer and our service together. I have not felt such great joy as this in a while – because our love for each other was overwhelming! If anything, our time together revealed to me a group of people who loved God and who were carrying great crosses for the sake of His glory!
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.‘.”
– Matthew 28:37-39
I had also learnt a lot about the Aboriginal community of Australia. I came in desiring to understand a misunderstood people and God blew me away. For some of them, the cost of carrying the cross is great and for others, the purpose of life was still a great mystery. The way of life that they know is being challenged because it did not appear to be the ‘right way’ and many are left wandering. Even so, there were beautiful moments that some chose to share with us. The importance of community, of family and how everyone belonged. We sat around fires, we sang together, we prayed together, we heard and witnessed their art, language and culture. Even though we were different, I believe that we all learnt to communicate through God’s love language and this became a bridge that we could all cross to get to the other side.
At the end of the trip, I was challenged to consider what my life mission was, bearing in mind the two things that are eternal: the souls of men and God’s Word. What’s yours?
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” – Hebrews 12:1-3