In May, I travelled to Central Australia as part of a group of volunteer board members that support the work of Finke River Mission.
As I am a relative newbie, this was an invaluable opportunity to visit and learn more about the work of Finke River Mission.
A highlight of the whirlwind tour was Sunday morning worship with the Areyonga community, about 220 kilometres west of Alice Springs. Even though the service was conducted mainly in the local language, Pitjantjatjara, the message was quite clear. The experience was made even more special with the amazing singing and a baptism.
I was also delighted to visit Yirara College, where I gained an appreciation of the challenges of education when most students come from very remote Indigenous communities. I witnessed the many benefits the school provides, including the teaching and spreading of the Christian message.
At the Mission Block in Alice Springs, we met with some passionate, dedicated people who are working to ensure the archives are preserved and that the history of Lutheran mission workers in the region is accurately recorded.
A visit later that day to Hermannsburg and the Historical Precinct added further relevance to what we are contributing towards. It was fascinating to learn more about the history of the area and the important role of the early Lutheran missionaries in spreading the word while preserving language and culture.
The trip provided great insight into the work of FRM, including the commitment and energy of the dedicated pastors, support workers, other staff and volunteers who support the many people in the remote areas of Australia. The visit highlighted how crucial this work is and the immediate opportunity to provide additional pastoral resources to assist with spreading God’s word.
Nigel Grivell is a member of the Lutheran Mission Development Fund Board.