Rodney was born in Alice Springs in 1965, a son of faithful missionaries working in Neutral Junction, just north of the infamous Barrow Creek pub. His father was Pastor Colin Malbunka. Kaytetye is Rodney’s first language but he also speaks Arrarnta, Pitjantjatjara, Luritja and English. Rodney is married to Fay; they have five children and many grandchildren.
In 1970 the Malbunkas moved to Hermannsburg where Rodney has been ever since. Rodney’s parents encouraged him to consider the ordained ministry from an early age.
Since his father’s death in 1977 Rodney has been learning and testing his calling as a pastor. He went to his first Bush Course (training camp for Aboriginal pastors) in the seventies at Docker River. He went with Pastor Nahasson Ungkwanaka. Pastors Paul Albrecht and John Pfitzner were the teachers. Rodney is a hard worker and has always been employed.
He has worked in the building industry alongside FRM/Hermannsburg legendary builders such as: Glen Auricht, Colin Jericho, Colin Schwarz, and Eric Schmidt. Rodney is a competent welder and painter. Presently, he is employed at the Finke River Mission Store as the chief baker.
Rodney came to a crossroad in his life when he was involved in a serious car accident. He was involved in a rollover and was pinned under the car. Nothing could be done to move the car. Rodney prayed and was ‘pulled out by Jesus’. Since that moment he has earnestly wanted to be a pastor.
Alcohol abuse was the cause of the accident and many other bad situations. Rodney lost his licence for a record ten years for consistently driving under the influence. In May this year he gets his licence back after proving he has not drunk a drop of alcohol for seven years. Rodney acknowledges God’s hand in his recovery from alcohol abuse.
This year Rodney attended a reading course at Nungalinya College in Darwin. Rodney soon learned that there is still a lot of work to be done in translating the entire Bible into Arrarnta. FRM also sent two ladies from Areyonga as well. All enjoyed the chance to study and be a part of the worship and study regime.
Rodney enjoys his family and loves spending time at the Malbunka family outstation at Gilbert Springs. He is also passionate about preparing for worship. Rodney knows all the readings, ‘off by heart’, at least a week in advance. He is able to prepare sermons with many original insights which come from his faithful preparation. Rodney believes that ‘all Ingkaartas should know the sermon text off by heart’.
God willing, Rodney will be ready for ordination later this year. He will have completed two certificate courses at Nungalinya, and all the FRM academic requirements very successfully. His dream is to be ordained and serve the small outstation communities around Hermannsburg.