Stretched Vision: From one to the many Leave a Comment
Image: Hazara Village Meeting (Nasim Fekrat; Flickr.com; Creative Commons)
In the past year, I’ve become very close friends with an Afghan lady (she is from the “Hazara” people group). It has been a privilege and an honour to get to know this wonderful lady. Through our times of general conversation, there have been several opportunities to talk about faith, read some bible stories together and for me to pray for her (eg. last week when she had to have emergency surgery and I visited her in hospital). In January I was invited to one of her family gatherings at her restaurant- I shared with her and her relatives about an answer to prayer that happened on on my holidays in Fiji. My friend, *Susie, translated for her relatives and then said, “that’s a good story” (all of the Afghan people who I know totally love stories).
I’ve been reaching out and ministering to muslim women for 4.5 years and in the past few months, I’ve felt God nudging my heart more and more about the Hazara people group- this group of people seem to be on my mind now most of the time… I may even dream about them ! 😀 I sense God stretching my vision as He says, “…you know Tanya, how you’ve advocated for individuals in the past? What about advocating for an entire people group?” and “… you know how in the past you’ve been focusing your prayers on individuals in Melbourne? What about praying for the Hazara people?”
So, in response, I’m now praying for the Hazara people group as a whole- for workers, pray-ers, discovery groups and faith communities.
Person of Peace- the one God has prepared in advance! Leave a Comment
We love this story of a Person of Peace. We have been learning this year about the importance of finding the Person of Peace in Disciple-making Movements. This person has been prepared by God in advance to act as an open door to communities. They are people who are spiritually hungry and open. They will often find us! But also, they share. They are people who will go back to their networks, households and communities and will share what they are learning and their journey of spirituality. Read on to hear about this Person of Peace that God has prepared in advance, before the workers had ever met him!
Dave came to visit us in Brisbane and we were able to get him onboard a ship stopping in the Port of Brisbane. The crew of the ship is all Filipino. I had been on this particular ship a number of times looking for a person of peace; someone who is spiritually hungry, open and who shares with their community.
One of my previous visits was with Ron, a few months prior and we had met the outgoing Captain. At the time, nothing of significance happened except that we both felt that there was no spiritual openness amongst any of the crew. So when I took Dave onto the ship, I was expecting a similar atmosphere. We met the new Captain, a man named Alberto. We had some general conversations with Alberto and some of the other crew members whilst in the mess room. After a time, all the other crew members left the room and Alberto changed the conversation to one of a more personal and spiritual nature. He explained that he had started to gather any of the crew who were interested, once each week, to pray and read the bible together, but admitted he was not much of a pastor. We were really excited to hear what God was up to on this ship! I was able to share with Alberto about the DBS process and we wondered if he would be interested in trying this with his crew. He was so happy to hear about Discovery groups. With tears in his eyes, he talked about his desire to see the crew be given help to genuinely follow Jesus.
We exchanged details and since then have been in regular contact as I coach Alberto in facilitating a discovery group. It has been a joy to hear of what God is doing on that ship and of more men coming to the group (around 12 regulars now). In our latest chat, Alberto said “we do continue on with our fellowship on board and God is really good. We have new members joining us on our weekly fellowship. Our (next) Brisbane call is cancelled. We do not have news when we will be back in Brisbane. Hope we will. Please continue to pray that more members to be added in our discovery group. God bless bro.”
Please pray for Alberto and the guys on this ship!
Discovery bible with non-believers 1 Comment
We were asked to do a DBS with a non-believer as part of our homework for MyWorld (DMM training). I prayed that God would open up an opportunity and give me the privilege to do it. For my job, I teach ESL and throughout the term I had felt particularly drawn to three of my students, a married Chinese couple and a Vietnamese lady and had spent time praying for them. At the end of the term, the students organised a lunch to celebrate. I turned up first and then these three students arrived next and sat near to me. As we were sitting there, I overheard the students talking, “How good would our English be if we could see teacher once a week”. I responded, “Well…”. One of the students quickly replied, “Do you have an idea teacher?” So I shared, “Well, actually my husband and I love to tell people about Jesus and read the bible together”. One student, the Chinese man got very excited and said “yes, yes, we would like that teacher”. The other, a Vietnamese lady, looked a little worried and said “But I am a Buddhist”. I said, “that is ok, it doesn’t matter”. She repeated after me “ok, it doesn’t matter”. We made plans to meet at the Chinese couple’s place in St Kilda. The following week we met up and read through the story of the Prodigal Son as a DBS. They all committed to obedience steps and one in particular felt led to forgive someone who had hurt him. For homework, I asked them to share the story with someone and ask what they thought about the Father in the story. We then enthusiastically agreed to meet up again in a fortnight and do another study (July 31st). We left praising God!!! Please pray for this new small group that they would encounter Jesus as they read the bible together.
The new Aussie Style Church? Leave a Comment
Andrew from West Sydney met ‘Johnny’ at footy training about a year ago. Johnny had a court case coming up and Andrew asked if he could pray for it. This led to more spiritual conversations during and after training at the pub and Johnny shared how he sometimes visits his Mum’s spiritualist church. Andrew had already started a ‘footy boys church’ that met in the pub and so Johnny came along to this and loved it. After a couple of weeks of Johnny meeting in the pub to do simple church, he asked if he could host the same thing at his home so his friend, Billy could come and feel comfortable. And so the footy church multiplied into two groups, one that met in the pub, just for the footy boys and one that met in Johnny’s home for his friends from his neighbourhood. Billy loved church at Johnny’s house and he now joins in regularly.
On Easter Sunday, Johnny visited a simple church gathering in Andrew’s suburb of Mt Druitt and decided to spontaneously get water baptised in obedience to Jesus. It was a ‘true blue’ Aussie baptism in the back of a ute which was filled with water!
Andrew is learning from Johnny what the new Aussie church can look like: meeting at footy training, meeting in the pub for church and jumping into a ute to get baptised.
Easter in new wine skins! Leave a Comment
Easter is a time of reflection and remembering what Jesus did for us. Scott and Sarah from the West Suburbs of Melbourne are doing this as a simple church gathering in their home. On Good Friday, they are opening up their house for those people who are actively engaging in discipleship, for some this will be their first Easter experience. They are going to fast in the days leading up to it and then break the fast on Good Friday with a meal followed by reading the bible, praying and watching “The Passion”. On Sunday, they are going to host a larger gathering for disciples as well as those they know that are seeking spiritual things. They are going to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection with a feast, fellowship and a Discovery Bible Study of the resurrection. To quote Scott “Jesus’ death and resurrection is the most brain-explodingly, game-changingly awesome thing that has ever happened – why wouldn’t we celebrate it?!?!? “ We agree Scott!