Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ
Our time in Atherton for the Annual JGLM Australia Conference in August was a wonderful time of fellowship and teaching and equipping. However we as the "attendees" could enjoy meeting like minded believers and be encouraged by their testimonies and their zeal for the Gospel and the work to done in our nation and beyond. I knew this trip to Ernabella, would be a completely different experience as we would have to work together, along side one another, in unity and selflessness to bring the change that was required in this remote Aboriginal community, thousands of miles from anywhere. And it excited me, but also made me incredibly nervous, to travel without my other half - my Husband, Cliff.
When I arrived in Alice Springs my heart leapt for joy as I was reunited with 'family'. My spirit instantly recognised the connection and oneness that we share.
And I was comforted by such a warm welcome by the rest of the team - Thomas and Dot from Alice Springs, Tony and Shelley from Melbourne, Adam, Rudi and Anthony from Queensland, and myself from Perth - Representing JGLM Australia.
After packing all the gear, we embarked on what would be the greatest 6 hours of fellowship, on the drive to Ernabella.
The car situation meant that I was to squeeze into the middle seat of a ute, between two people I barely knew.
The provision of God was already seen, as the weather was a cool 26 degrees and clouds protected us from the heat of the sun through the windscreen. Perfect weather for driving 450km through the Australian desert!
I had been warned that the ride would be quite bumpy when we turned on to the dirt road, due to the corrugated surface. I remember making a comment, declaring that we would hover over it by the grace of God and the ride would be smooth.
Well, did God show off! We ventured down the dirt road and discovered it has just been graded, all but a few kilometres from the town.
Thomas, Rudi and I shared our hearts with each other, and we all grew into a greater understanding of God's heart, and our part to fulfil His work.
The conversation was electrifying!
Upon arriving in Ernabella we were taken aback by the majesty and beauty of the surrounding mountains that embraced the small town. Rich red rock and fluorescent green shrubs - what a sight!
We were shown to our accommodation, which was the university classroom facility. The building was hexagonal, and had a small triangle room, a large room with a kitchenette, and a bathroom.
We set up camp and settled in. And we were all buzzing with excitement for what was to come.
We were invited to 'sing along' in the town centre that evening. The Christian people come together and worship God under the stars. They have a platform sheltered by half a shed, with music equipment - an electronic keyboard, speakers, mic and sound system. There are three metal gazebo-like shelters, for the people to sit under. We were told to have dinner, and then head down to be blessed by their songs.
After dinner however, we were advised that there was a power issue, and sing along was cancelled.
Shortly after, we had a visit from one of the young leaders of the church. Benny, was full of life and passion and excitement! He sat with us and shared the Gospel, praising God and revelling in His goodness. It was sensational!
Then a bunch of other locals popped in and we prayed for them and saw them healed and delivered.
We had been asked to meet at the church the next day at 3pm.
I'd read up on the history of Ernabella and was aware that when the missionaries came in the late 1930s the people would hold out door meetings under trees. In the 40s the community used spinifex and mud to build a small hut to be the church building.
Then in 1952 after a few years the church that stands there today, was constructed. The blocks were made onsite by the community from local materials. It is situated by the creek and is surrounded by large gum trees. Today, the creek is dry and has been for a number of years.
But the beauty and history of the building was breath-taking, and I am surprised just how impressed I was, since my focus is on the church as living stones which is the bride of Christ - not the building!
We spent two days ministering on the street in front of the local store before the church service began. We saw deaf ears open, blind eyes see, and the peace of God eradicating the torment of the enemy.
In the late afternoon Adam preached inside the church and taught on selflessness and loving one another, bringing to light the works of the enemy to bring division. A few of the elders listened, and were pleased. However, there seemed to be a blockage. There was a real feeling of resistance. And on the second evening the sing-along was cancelled again.
The morning of third day, we visited the Aged Care Facility. We prayed for the people and saw many healed instantly. Their faith was so encouraging as they put their trust in Jesus and expected their healing, standing and walking after many years of being wheel chair bound after a stroke. I was so encouraged by their determination and their strength in God.
In the afternoon Adam and Thomas met with the leaders of the community. The Aboriginal elders have been to bible school in Darwin or Adelaide, and studied their bibles studiously.
Adam was able to speak directly and with love and the Spirit of God lead him to bring the elders together in understanding on what must be changed in Ernabella to bring about unity and stop the fighting and division that was present amongst the leaders and the believers alike.
The enemy had been running rampant turning family members against each other, causing offence to be taken through selfish thinking, and driving a wedge between the leaders and elders of the community which filtered down to the people.
There was breakthrough as God opened their hearts when Adam spoke, and truth was ministered. Truth that brought freedom. And the leaders were on board!
Song-along was once again scheduled for the evening and WOW! What a blessing! We sat outside beneath a sky filled with a zillion stars, with the warmth of a fire under one of the huts, as the music played and the people worshipped God in their native tongue.
Adam shared, and ministered the Word of God, teaching on what our call is as sons of God, and walking according to His purpose. He broke the chains of religion, and spoke on freedom and love, that is found in Christ.
The following days showed a massive shift in the spirit and hearts of the people.
Through teaching and sharing we all had the opportunity to speak to the people and help raise them up into the image of Christ. We offered our support and ensured that we would not 'blow in and blow out' like other groups have done in the past. We were not there for us. We were there for God. That His people might walk in His ways, according to the call on their lives, in the Grace of God, and in the fullness of understanding of their identity in Christ.
Each day people would come to us for prayer, and we visited those who could not leave their homes.
We made a few visits to the Aged Care Facility and the sick we recovering.
One of the ladies, Nora, had been admitted the first day we visited and was quite delirious and in discomfort. A few of us ministered to her, and spoke life to her body, though we were not fully aware of her condition.
At sing-along that night I noticed a young lady crying down the front, with her arms raised. I wrapped my arms around her and asked her what was wrong. Her name was Anne and she explained that her Mum had a massive tumour and was going to die. I prayed with her for her Mum, and comforted her with scriptures of faith and healing and shared on the goodness of God. I told her I'd visit her mum at the Aged Care Facility the next day. When I arrived there, Anne took me to her Mum - it was Nora, the same lady we'd prayed for the previous day. She was sleeping, and looked peaceful. I ministered to her once again, and encouraged Anne to stand strong and confident in our Heavenly Father and the works of Jesus for healing and restoration.
I spent the rest of the morning with the other elderly people in the day room, praying for them. One lady, Dolly, had had a stroke many years ago, and after prayer we had her up walking. Tony and Thomas assisted her, but she did most of the work herself. She walked a lap of the room, and my Spirit felt to not put her back in her wheelchair. I asked Dolly where she would like to sit for a rest, and she pointed to a very comfy looking leather recliner. We walked her over and she sat down with a massive smile on her beautiful face.
I prayed for another lady who had knee pain which stopped her from walking. She was instantly healed and walked unassisted. She asked me to pray for her sister in law who suffered with back pain. She was instantly healed and stood up and we danced and laughed together.
The room was filled with the joy of the Lord as His goodness was poured out. I sat with them a little while and they shared their stories. 3 of the women there had been to Berlin when the wall divided East from West. They had seen the soldiers standing with their guns at the gates, and prayed that they could pass. In that moment, the gate opened and they freely crossed through to the other side. The walked up and down declaring freedom and thanking God. When they arrived back in Australia, they heard on the news that the wall came down!
While I prayed for another lady, I heard laughter and rejoicing, and I looked up to find Dolly had grabbed a walking stick stood up from the recliner and was walking around by herself!! The entire room was clapping and praising God.
I went back the next day and saw Nora being wheeled out side in her bed for some fresh air - and I was astounded at her countenance. Her eyes were beautiful and bright, and she looked full of LIFE! HALLELUJAH! What a transformation. Anne was there, and she was overjoyed and praising God.
In our time in Ernabella we met some amazing people. People with a heart for Truth. People who love God, and have placed their trust in Jesus. Ladies who were so strong. Who know that it is God who sustains them.
I spent time with a couple of the ladies and encouraged them. They were so kind and warm. I truly experienced the love of the brethren.
Each evening the Word of God was shared after sing- along, and we watched the community grow and change. On the last night we saw them pray for one another. YES!!!!! This is what we came for. To see the children of God walking hand in hand with Jesus, fulfilling their call, being the light of the world, and taking care of each other. Freedom was in this place, and it was here to stay!!
Just as Paul had done in his day, the church was edified, equipped and strengthened.
The time came to pack our things and head back to Alice Springs.
A mixture of emotions flooded my heart - I was overjoyed at what God had done, through our visit to Ernabella, I was encouraged by the faith of the people there, I was excited for the future of the community and the work they will do in surrounding areas, I was thankful to be able to apart of this amazing work, I was in awe of the majesty and natural beauty of the landscape, I was in love with the beautiful people, and I was sad to leave them. A little piece of my heart will remain amongst the red dirt, the the gum trees, the rocky mountains, the donkeys, and the gorgeous people in Ernabella.
On reflection, I had know idea what would take place as we ventured into the middle of nowhere. I could never have imagined that I was venturing into the hearts of God's people. And I am blown away by the knowledge and understanding of God's Word that people - believers and leaders, possessed. They read their bibles - of which they have their own Pitjantjatjara translation. One gentleman even shared a scripture and then went on to explain that Holy Spirit taught him to read English, through reading the bible!
I am so thankful to God, for His unending love, for His empowering Grace, His supernatural peace, and His provision to bring me to Ernabella, and place me alongside some of the most amazing people in my life, who I have the privilege of calling my bothers and sisters, and my friends. I have learnt so much about the Father's heart, and about unity, and about the call on my life. The growth in me is indescribable, and I will be forever thankful for this opportunity.
I had a vision that I shared one afternoon in Ernabella - I saw a giant ripple of water in the desert of Central Australia, as if a stone had been dropped in a pond. Ernabella was at the centre and the circular ripples of the water dispersed outwards.
May the work that took place in Ernabella multiply through out our nation. May the surrounding communities be blessed by the message of Truth, and may the "cooee" of Christ be heard across this great land.