In the 1990s, my family and I lived in Alice Springs where I was a motor mechanic for eight years. There I was first challenged by God to go to Australian Lutheran College after hearing amazing stories about the mission workers who first came to Hermannsburg, giving their lives to serve the Aboriginal people.
“Why would someone be prepared to die for the sake of the gospel?” This question challenged me. “If Christ died for me, why wouldn’t I also be willing to give up everything for the gospel?” I believe God put these questions on my heart and they ultimately led me to pray, “Here I am Lord, send me.”
Now here I am, in Alice Springs, sent back to where I came from, but with a different purpose. Not to service cars, but to serve the students and staff of Yirara College with God’s word. Our time at Yirara has already been packed full of experiences that you only get in central Australia. Some of our students come from places so remote, I didn’t even know they existed. The joys and challenges of cross-cultural ministry excite and yet sometimes overwhelm me. On reflection, I am reminded of 2 Cor. 12:9, “…my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Relationships are important for Aboriginal students, so besides regular duties, principal Roger Ashcroft has encouraged me to adopt a relational-centred ministry, spending time with students in boarding houses, on sports fields, counselling students in the Rukara centre, as well as teaching a mechanics class (well, not everything has changed).
I have been truly blessed by the support of our Indigenous pastor, Simon Dixon. He has enlightened me about cultural sensitivities, and taught me some basic language to help me converse with the students. Yirara is a safe place for students to come and learn and hear the good news of Jesus.
Godaku wangka palyalingku! (God’s word is very good!)