The Finke River Mission (FRM) bush course took place from 14 to 17 April. It was held at Areyonga next to a dry riverbed in an area frequented by horses, donkeys, flies, black cockatoos and the occasional aeroplane (it was close to the local airstrip).
Sixteen people attended, including three women. Dr Andrew Pfeiffer from Australian Lutheran College led the teaching. He spoke on God’s gift of families, how they are to function, and how the gospel fits in when they don’t function as they should. Dr Pfeiffer is nowadays a bit of a dab hand at dealing with the somewhat unusual FRM course setting, having spoken at these courses several times before.
Every morning one of the support workers gave a devotional talk on parts of John chapters 18 and 19, in preparation for Good Friday. Michael Jacobsen spoke on Peter’s denial of Jesus, Paul Traeger on Jesus before Pilate, and Neville Doecke on Jesus’ crucifixion.
Unexpected highlights were a couple of role plays which were both interesting and enjoyable. Listeners appreciated Dr Pfeiffer’s willingness to adjust the teaching content in order to better address their concerns. They also appreciated his explanation of God-given duties and his linking of individual and family Bible reading with confession, worship and prayer.
The teaching was ably supported by the catering of ‘cookies’ Steve Radke (a former support worker), Trevor Braun and newcomer Martin Chapman.
Numbers were down a bit on previous bush courses, as several church leaders felt they needed to be involved in preparations for Good Friday and Easter. The dates for the course had been set many months previously before it was realised just how big the Easter weekend celebrations were going to be. In the Pintupi–Luritja language area the numbers involved in the worship events from 18 to 22 April were certainly the highest they have been in years. Eight babies were baptised and twenty-seven people were confirmed at Papunya on Easter Sunday, while around a hundred people attended the singalongs at Haasts Bluff for five nights in a row from Maundy Thursday onward. Virtually all the organising of these events was done by the local Aboriginal people themselves.
Paul Traeger is the Ministry Support Worker for the Pintupi–Luritja language area.
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