Day 9 on Mission in Port Hedland

Today is Sunday at it really is our last day in Port Hedland. I actually woke up feeling pretty sad about this. I have really loved the work that we have been able to do this week and kinda feel like I've been more effective in one week in Port Hedland for the Gospel than nearly 2 years in Doncaster.

Today involves church. Our final church service with the people of Port Hedland. It was a great service. Matt preached up a storm and Jonty, Ellisa, Matt, Ainslee and I helped out with the music. Ellisa and Helen ran the Sunday school this week and Matt, Jonty and I went out to do a re-jigged version of our puppet show for the kids (most of them had seen it before, so we had to change it!) Then the kids did some colouring in of treasure boxes.

Treasure has kinda been the theme of the week. Our puppet shows were all about how the greatest treasure in the world is peace with God and it's available through trusting in Jesus. We have been using Jesus' parable of the Hidden Treasure in Matthew 13:44 as an illustration of how much better finding Jesus is than anything else this world has to offer. That was the message we spoke in church today.

After church we had some final goodbyes with some people, I'm glad heaven exists and I will get to see some of these lovely Christian people again one day in heaven if not before. I took great comfort in that!

Following church Ellisa and I went our separate ways to hang out with our billets one last time. This was good and Phillip (my billet) was installing Logos Bible Software onto his computer which I got to have a play with. Very cool... pretty sure I'm gonna get me some of that soon! After having lunch with my billets we headed over to a place called Pretty Pool (which is where the Bloke BBQ was on Monday night) for a final gathering and a swim. Ellisa and I couldn't swim however because we were leaving at 7pm that night.

At about 5:30-6pm, it was time for Ellisa and I to leave. We said goodbye to our mission team friends, our billets and the other people from the church who were hanging out with us at Pretty Pool. Ellisa's billet Sara drove us to the airport where we boarded our flight to Perth. We arrived in Perth at about 9:30pm and had to wait for our Perth to Melbourne flight which left at 12:30am. That was actually 2:30am Melbourne time and we landing in Melbourne at about 6am. When we arrived in Melbourne it was about 7 degrees and raining. What a contrast to Port Hedland which hadn't gotten below 25 overnight and had been hovering in the high 30's most of the week during the day.

We made our way home and I went to bed and Ellisa went to Uni. We were no longer on Mission in Port Hedland, but I think our hearts are still there. It is a great place! I'm sure that the Port Hedland Mission trip will help Ellisa and I gain more clarity about our future ministry life together. Many thanks to you for supporting us either financially, through prayer or simply by reading these posts. We're very grateful for that.

Just so you know, more pictures and things will come in the coming days. I will also tidy up some of these diary posts to make them more complete too.

God bless Port Hedland

Day 8 on Mission in Port Hedland

Today is our last full day in Port Hedland. We arrived a only a week ago, but it feels a lot longer than that. So much has happened. As I wake up this morning I'm excited about they day ahead, but feel sad knowing it's my last full day in town. Despite the ridiculously hot weather, there is just something about this place. The people seem much more open to the Gospel than in Melbourne.

We start today by running the Rainbow Club. This is a program run in the South Hedland Shopping Centre by the church. It's for kids and involves a whole bunch of different activities like making jewelry, playing with playdough, colouring in, making cards, and today... a puppet show! This was really an awesome thing to do. We were able to meet parents, talk to kids and do our puppet presentation in the middle of the shopping centre on a Saturday morning. We had a captive audience of about 50 people as our puppet show and Matt's talk clearly proclaimed everyone's need for Jesus. Man, it was awesome. I wish we could do stuff like that in Westfield back in Doncaster!

The rainbow club went for about 3 hours and after this it was back to Port Hedland Church to watch the Grand Final! Saints v Cats. Unfortunately the Cats were victorious. But we soon forgot about this. Ellisa and I went back to my billets place after this and hung out with them and played the game GREED with them (which was my gift to them for letting me stay with them all week). This was good fun. We then had dinner together and headed back to the Church for the Quiz Night. Unfortunately, the night only had 3 teams, but all there had fun, and there were a couple of non-Christians who got to here Ellisa give an awesome testimony about how Jesus is her Lord and Saviour. A second awesome thing about the quiz night was our table won! Woo hoo!

Things to pray for:
  • For the Rainbow club and that it would be able to continue and preach the Gospel clearly
  • For the volunteers who run it
  • For the people who heard our talk in the shopping centre, that they would be convicted of their need for God and turn to Him
  • For the non-Christians at the quiz night, that Ellisa's testimony will make them think about who is in control of their life and what it might look like if Jesus were

Day 7 on Mission in Port Hedland

Today is Friday and the week is coming to an end. We started our day by going on a tour of the BHP site in Port Hedland. This is where all the Iron Ore is taken from the various mines (usually by massive trains) to be shipped off to various locations around the world, usually China. The tour had the potential to be massively interesting but our tour guide was hopeless. She read off a sheet and half the time I had no idea what I was supposed to be looking at. She also made unfunny jokes all the time... Oh well, it was still good to have a look around the site.

After this tour we had a bit of free time before lunch. Following lunch Ellisa and I fell asleep due to being so wrecked from the week's activities. We woke up in time to go and collect Matt and Vaughan who were coming with us to play basketball at the YIC Centre. YIC is like a Government funded secular youth program which is meant to keep youth off the streets. In Port Hedland it mainly attracts Indigenous Youth. In fact it was exclusively indigenous when we went there today. When we turned up we had a look around their facilities. They were pretty cool. Playstation, computers, couches, pool table, basketball courts, BBQ... I was wishing it was my Youth Ministry room!

Anyway, it took a while for many kids to show up but eventually there were probably about 20-30 kids there. Many of them were primary aged and recognised us from the primary school shows we had done earlier in the week. That was cool, because even though we weren't able to do any sort of presentation, the kids still knew who we were and what we were on about. We ended up playing a 30-40 min game of basketball kids on adults. This was loads of fun and a great way to show these kids we cared about them more than just coming to do a show in Port Hedland at their school.

We left YIC at about 5:50pm to make our way back over to Port Hedland for dinner with the rest of the team and billets at the Port Hedland Yacht club. This was beautifully positioned and were got there just in time to see the sun set over the water. Following this, Ellisa and I hung out with her billet, playing board games. It was a good night, and Ellisa and her billet (Sara) seem to have become good friends over the week. Encouraging each other lots in their faith.

So Friday wasn't a particularly busy day, but it was still good. Playing basketball was one of the highlights of the trip, and it was great to spend more time with some of the kids we'd performed for in the primary schools earlier in the week.

Things to pray:
  • For the YIC centre and its staff
  • Give thanks to God for his provision of people for us to stay with during our time in Port Hedland
  • Give thanks that many of us have become great friends with our billets and have been encouraged by them

Day 6 on Mission in Port Hedland

It's Thursday, and today is hole digging day!

We started at 6:30am at the local South Hedland Shopping Centre. The YIC (Youth in Crisis) Centre is making a community garden in one of the spaces in front of the shopping centre. Our job was to help these guys level a medium to large sized area of dirt. We worked at this for about 3-4hrs and unfortunately, it was not as level as we would have liked by the end of our time there. Much of our time was wasted due to not having enough tools for us all to work with!

However, despite the task of levelling the ground being basically a failure, the 3-4hrs were definitely a success. During that time we were able to connect with the people at the YIC Centre and scored ourselves an invite to go and play basketball at their drop-in centre tomorrow at 4:30pm. This has made me pretty excited because I was hoping to get to do some sort of Youth Ministry while I was up here, so I'm hoping that this goes well. Matt and Vaughan were also able to have some good conversations with some locals who wondered who we were and what we had done to end up working in the heat shovelling dirt.

After levelling the ground, we headed over to Macca's for a drink with the YIC people and further good conversations were had. Although sadly their Thickshake machine was broken! :(

After this we headed on back to the Port Hedland church for another fantastic lunch, this time it was spaghetti and meatballs. Sooo tasty! This was followed by a team meeting where it was decided Ellisa and I would head out to another dialogue dinner (like the one I went to on Tuesday night) with some of the locals. Needless to say, after Tuesday's dinner, I was pretty excited about this!

The afternoon involved relaxing and plumbing... a toilet got blocked and it somehow became my job to unblock it. Thankfully after getting some bushmans advice, I was successful in this task!

Before our dialogue dinner, we headed over to the Seafarers Centre for a couple of hours. Needless to say Port Hedland is a busy port! This Mission to Seafarers runs these centres in a number of ports world wide which provide a place for the guys sailing on the ships to get on the Internet, call their families back home (which was Russia for one guy I spoke to, I don't think I'd ever met a Russian person before so it felt like something out of James Bond!) The Centre also provides a place for the sailors to have a beer, buy some Australian souvenirs, including kangaroo scrotum key rings and bottle openers (I was tempted), and to relax with a game of pool or air hockey. They also have Bibles there in many different languages and tracts in many different languages. This looked like a great ministry not only of meeting a need, but of being able to share the Gospel with people who can take it back with them around the world. I was converted to the worthwhileness of the Mission to Seafarers while here. My job while I was here was to sell stuff. This involved selling things in Australian Dollars but being paid in American dollars and then working out the exchange rate from a piece of paper! That was hard, but fun!

Ellisa and I left the Seafarers at about 7:20 for our 7:30pm dinner down the road. This was a good night getting to know some of the Christians in the town a little better. There were no non-believers at this dinner until about 9pm when a friend of one of the guests arrived. Eventually he figured out that Ellisa and I were young and getting married which proceeded to a great conversation about marriage. Unfortunately we didn't get to the Gospel before we had to leave, but I'm sure has become the spark for many follow up conversations between that guy and his friend.

And that was day 6 on mission. Nothing was really as successful as it could have been, but it was still a good day. Seeds were sown and relationships were grown between the local Anglican Church and the community.

Things to pray for:
  • Pray for the guy at our dialogue dinner who was not a Christian
  • Pray that his friend will be able to talk more with him about Jesus
  • Pray for the Mission to Seafarers. They are looking to appoint a new chaplain next year, so pray that they will find a gospel man for that job. Pray also that the mission would be able to cope with the expanding Port of Port Hedland (going from 4 berths to over 20 in the next year or two!!)
  • Thank God for the relationships built with the YIC centre, pray that the church will continue to be able to use them
  • Thank God for our continued safety while on Mission.

Photos of the Mission

You can see some photos of the mission so far here

Day 5 on Mission in Port Hedland

Day 5 is called our 'day off'...

... It's certainly not as busy as yesterday but we still did our last perform ace for the trip. This time it was in Marble Bar primary. Marble Bar is called the hottest town in Australia. It is about 200-250kms inland from Port Hedland.

We left Port Hedland at about 8am and made the two(ish) hour drive to Marble Bar from Port Hedland on a 20 seater bus. Arriving in Marble Bar we had a look around the town. There are about 400 residents and most are Indigenous people who come and go from the town and live out on stations or in the bush or somewhere like that.

Marble Bar gets it's name from a deposit of rock that looks a bit like Marble in the nearby creek. We visited this and it was amazing. I really loved this spot. I took lots of photos which I'll post in due time.

After that we went to the Marble Bar Pub. It is about the only thing in the town. We had lunch here before heading to the school. Here we did our performance in front of the whole school, which today was about 30 kids (they have 70 people enrolled but most of them are indigenous and so they don't come that often because they are off doing other things in other places). The kids seemed to really enjoy the presentation and we were able to leave them all with some tracts explaining the Gospel. Hopefully these will be seen by some parents too.

After going to the school we went to the Anglican Church. This was a pretty amazing building. It was in an old BHP demountable. Very small. Church meets there once a month. Every Saturday however they have what they call 'Sabbath School' where a local Christian teaches kids about Jesus, up to 20 kids come to this. Which is pretty amazing!

Following that we started the long drive back to Port Hedland. We got home at about 5 and we had to wash the bus with a hose (very novel for us Melbournians who can't use a hose at all thanks to the drought!). Ellisa and I then hung out and had dinner together and ate down by the beach and got to talk about some of our thoughts and reflections on the mission so far. This was very good for us to do to support each other on the trip.

Then I came home and caught up on all this journalling.

Tomorrow we are digging a hole with some council people for some community service. Should be good we start at 7:30am. Should be good.

Things to pray for:
  • Pray that we would continue to have energy
  • Pray that Marble Bar would be a town know for being hot for Jesus not just having really hot weather
  • Pray that the kids who heard the message in Marble Bar today might respond to Jesus with faith
  • Pray that God would continue to keep the whole team in good health.
  • Pray opportunities to share the Gospel while digging a hole tomorrow

Day 4 on Mission in Port Hedland

Day 4 is Tuesday and we are in for a very busy day! The day started at 8am again at a different local primary school where we did the our puppet show twice. These went really well again, and the kids seemed to be very engaged. Following these two performances, we had to head straight over to another school to give the performance again. Another 2 shows! These were also really good. Also probably our biggest crowd! We finished the performances (which go for about 40-45mins each) by about midday and then headed over to the Port Hedland Anglican Church for another great lunch and team meeting.

Following these meetings I hung out with Ellisa at her billet's house for a bit. She has a cold and so has been pretty tired and sick so I looked after her as she rested. At about 4:30pm Wayne came and picked me up and we drove over to South Hedland to do some door knocking in the rough area of town. I was pretty nervous about this, but the local Christian guys assured me it would be fine, and after praying I felt pretty confident. Wayne and I were partnered up and we didn't have much luck at first. However we ended up meeting and blind Indigenous man, who was wandering down the street, named Moses. He said he was a Christian and was in Port Hedland for a funeral and we had a good chat about who Jesus was and what that meant for him. This was encouraging as despite his disabilities, he had a real faith. We prayed for him and then continued on our way.

We made our way into this block of semi-detached units that looked more like a rubbish tip than a place where people should live. One of the unit had burnt down about a while back and it seemed like all bar one of them were abandoned. We met a couple of Indigenous guys in this house (they were living with their family and as far as we could tell there were at least 8 people living in this 2 or 3 bedroom unit!). There had just recently been a death in their family so they were pretty upset. We talked with them for a while and prayed for them. Soon after this we ran into some boys who recognised us from our school performances earlier that day. What a great testimony that we were serious that we were here to tell people about Jesus, they see us in school and then on their streets! Funnily enough, they were adopting a pet joey (baby kangaroo) because their neighbour had shot the mum... only in Port Augusta I guess!

The day did not end with the door knocking (which we finished at around 6pm). From that It was back to my billet's house (my billet is Phillip who is the Senior Minister of the church) for what is called a 'dialogue dinner'. Before we arrived Phillip had invited a couple of non-Christian people who had some sort of connection with the church to his place for dinner to meet and talk with me and one of the other guys on the team (Matt). We had some great conversations with these guys about why even if our lives seem good we still need to put our faith in Jesus, and why we trust in Him.

Finally we went to bed! A busy but amazing day!

Things to pray for:
  • Pray for all the people who heard the gospel proclaimed today, through the schools performances, the door knocking and conversations over dinner.
  • Pray that many of these people would put their trust in Jesus
  • Pray that Christians would be able to figure out ways to help people stuck in serious poverty and cycles of poverty and unemployment
  • Give thanks for a great bunch of Christian people who care for the people of this community and are actively taking the Gospel out to the people who need it most.
  • Pray for Ellisa, that she would get better soon
  • Pray for me that I would lose my cough soon
  • Pray that all the team would have lots of energy!
Day 4 will be a 'day off'...