Pastor Rodney and I visited for Pepa (devotions) only late yesterday, but the lady asked, ‘Can you come again tomorrow afternoon?’
I agreed. (People asking for more of God’s word … that’s great!)
Heather and I sat on our stools on the veranda. The daughter wheeled out Grandma to join us, while four younger mums gathered their little ones – like nine little chickens around them on the mattress – none of them yet off to school. A number of them sat up straight with folded hands.
I handed around blue Arrarnta hymnals. After opening in God’s holy name, I planned to read Psalm 105:1–5 in English and get someone to read in Arrarnta. A few shy looks showed a lack of confidence in Arrarnta, so I decided on only one verse – I could even try that! ‘Ingkarta-urna ingkarrirrai, era ekarlta nama, thakerrai ekuralela kuterritjika!’ (‘Seek the Lord and the strength he gives. Always seek him.’)
But with a big group of little ones, I thought it best to speak very simply to them, telling them that God is someone who really loves them. He is so strong he can even make people – babies, little ones like them!
Then we sang. One of the mums said the children liked singing ‘Ingkaarta pitjai’ (‘Kum ba yah’). So we sang all four verses – and then another favourite, ‘Jesua nuka kangkama’ (‘Jesus loves me’).
I heard singing, from a mobile phone: ‘O how I love Jesus’. Praise God! This mum was exposing her little ones to YouTube Christian songs!
Then it was time to ask Grandma Ethel for her favourites. With her hearing and eyesight not so good but with a wonderful memory for the words, we sang ‘Parta thinta ngampintjai’ (‘Rock of ages’). One of the ladies offered to pray in language, and then I followed, thanking God for family that gathers to hear his word and to praise him and praying for a safe sleep for all.
Grandma had been on choir tours in earlier years and soon many stories started flowing from her usually quiet character. Then there was lots of chatting with Heather, and as it got dark we left, thanking God for opening our eyes to opportunities like this to encourage families in their journey of life together with God.
On our next visit, we’ll read from a colourful Bible storybook to all those kids!
Pastor Neville Doecke is the Ministry Support Worker for Hermannsburg in the Western Arrarnta language area.