‘My name is Rita Okai. I come from the Mutitjulu Community and I speak Pitjantjatjara. I have studied the Bible since I was a teenager at Yirara College, and have been working in the Lutheran church leading activities like singing, teaching Sunday school, confirmation and baptism classes with young people and old. I have also helped the pastors lead worship in the past, but have decided to take a break for the last few years to study at Nungalinya College and raise my daughter, Georgia.’
‘Studying theology has helped me grow in my faith and I have learnt so much about the deeper meaning of Bible verses. Studying pastoral care has helped me to help others who are struggling in their lives. I want to spread the Word of God so that they can have a better life. May God bless us all!’
When Rita Okai graduated from her Certificate III course in Christian Ministry and Theology in 2017, she was quite possibly the first Indigenous Lutheran in central Australia to have ever graduated with a tertiary theological qualification in the 140-year history of the FRM. God willing, another three women and one man will also graduate in the same three-year course at the end of 2018.
A total of 61 Lutheran men and women from central Australia have enrolled in courses at Nungalinya in Darwin this year. However spaces are limited, so only about 50% of these people will actually be able to attend. All travel, accommodation and course costs are covered by the Federal government and Nungalinya College, which is jointly managed and funded by the Roman Catholic, Anglican and Uniting Church of Australia.