Sydney Newspaper writes of our Summer mission

The Sydney Morning Herald wrote an article about the Beach Mission activity that we will take part in this Summer! Read on…

Sun and salvation make a divine holiday for fun-seeking souls

SANDCASTLES and surf lessons might seem unlikely places to find the good news of Jesus Christ thousands of children on family holidays along the NSW coast this summer will find the Lord’s word hard to avoid.

Combining biblical messages with holiday activities

Scripture Union Family Mission has set up camp in almost 50 caravan parks to take Jesus Christ from the church to the beach.

The Bible’s religious teachings are woven into sandcastle-building, surfing and cooking lessons, craft classes and the mission’s park carnivals.

Kelly Carlisle, of Pymble, is one of 99 Christians camped at Lake Tabourie on the south coast this year to share her faith with summer holidaymakers.

”The idea is that we come along to caravan parks and run activities for all age groups, from babies through to mums, to have fun with them, create friendships and share our faith,” she said.

A director of the annual Lake Tabourie beach mission, she knows intimately the impact holiday proselytising can have.

She camped at the park, south of Ulladulla, with her family every summer throughout her childhood. On New Year’s Eve in 1996, when she was 18, she became a Christian.

”I went to [the mission] right through my childhood years, so I knew all the stories about Jesus, but I never understood how he was relevant to me,” she said.

Ruby May Thompson, 11, is so enamoured of the Lake Tabourie mission’s ”disaster chef” and Jenga games, she and her parents travelled to the caravan park especially to attend.

”One I like best [is] disaster chef,” Ruby said. ”It’s a game that you play, sometimes at night, and you go and you just throw stuff [ingredients] in and then it might turn our good, it might turn out bad.

”They might have some things about Jesus, but not all the time.”

Ruby’s father, Christopher, describes himself as a non-practising Christian and said the Bible’s moral and behavioural lessons were good for his children.

He first encountered the mission when the group offered free babysitting some years ago.

”They offered to look after my children for a few hours, which is fantastic,” he said.

”They make it quite interesting and exciting for them. We’re not even at that caravan park but my eldest daughter wanted to go.”

The Lake Tabourie beach mission has been running for more than half a century. Volunteers from a variety of Christian denominations, who work 15 hours a day, pay $400 each to cover the cost of camping, food, equipment and activities.

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/sun-and-salvation-make-a-divine-holiday-for-funseeking-souls-20101231-19bzu.html

[SGM Lifewords are supplying the Bible resources for SU’s beach mission. Over 6000 Bible booklets will be distributed to holiday makers during the 4-week mission period]

30,000 Muslims need a church

Bumi Village, Tangerang

In a village of over 30,000 Muslims, not one Christian church exists – until now.

At the Moriah Theological Seminary, over 160 young students are training to be missionaries and Church planters. In their 3rd year of study, they are trained with SGM Lifewords‘ evangelism tool, The Visible Story. Then, they are sent for a year of practical ministry in a local church or rural village. It was during this year when Nucris was changed from a shy college student, to a passionate, church-planting evangelist…

Nucris was born in a very poor village of Kupang, Timor. His parents passed away when he was very young and as a teenager, he struggled with his health and nutrition leading to a stroke. Doctors say he should have died. In desperation, he turned to the church to help him. His local church suggested that he might try Bible College as his education was quite good despite his health difficulties. He applied at 3 different Bible Colleges, but each time he was turned away. Finally, Moriah invited him to join them and he was overjoyed.The Visible Story - Nucris

As Nucris approached his practical year of ministry, he was nervous and worried about how to preach and do the practical parts of ministry. He had little confidence and didn’t know how he would talk to non-Christians. Only a few days before leaving the college campus, Nucris attended The Visible Story (TVS) training.

“It was like God answered my prayers. TVS gave me some practical tools and helped me learn to tell parables and stories with others. I grew in confidence and it was especially helpful the first time I shared with a group in the village. It is so great for us!”

Students sharing The Visible Story

With three of his fellow students, they found a place to live and started ministering in a village community where there was no church and only two other known Christians. With mid-week education classes for kids, a sports afternoon for teens and a start-up worship service, they began to reach and connect with locals. Now over 60 children attend the children’s church and many parents are starting to connect with God’s Word through the ministry of Moriah and it’s students. And Nucris is a new man, gaining physical strength everyday and powering on as a spiritual warrior.

God’s Word in Prison

Matthew 25:39-40 (NIV) “Lord, when did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

If anyone needs the love, hope and restoration of Jesus, it’s those in our Juvenile Justice prisons. There are hundreds who have grown up in environments of anger, abuse and instability and at some point, they have turned to crime for one reason or another. Many finish their sentence only to recommit, highlighting their need for deep restoration and hope.

In NSW, Juvenile Justice Chaplains do a fantastic work of bringing hope, forgiveness and restoration to young lives. They use skills as counsellors and teachers to help teens, and most importantly, they want to give God’s life-changing word. At their recent conference, Dan Hardie presented the range of SGM Lifewords material available and each chaplain was over-the-moon to have relevant Bible portions available to give to teens in need.

Rev. Lynn Pickersgill said, “This material is just perfect for what we are doing. Thanks so much for making it available”. The most requested item has been Little Book of Help, and the matching pair of “You Matter” and “Forgiveness Matters” is so relevant in those environments.

Please pray for Lynn and our other chaplains as they work in prisons, and continue to support Lifewords as we give God’s Word where it is needed.

The Visible Story in use in a village

Watch The Visible Story in operation in Indonesia


The Visible Story is a resource to help evangelists and mission workers share the gospel in Indonesia. Created for urban slums and rural villages, where levels of poverty and illiteracy are high, The Visible Story opens the Bible’s message in a fresh and natural way. Working through our partners, Bible students are trained in ‘engaged storytelling’ and equipped to start faith conversations. A colourful flipchart depicts four of Jesus’ parables that have been selected carefully for their resonance with Indonesian culture and everyday life. In the hands of Bible students trained in its use, and with a burning heart to reach their home communities, The Visible Story is a simple yet profound resource to share the Bible with local communities.

19yr old Muslim girl receives freedom in Christ!

Pavement project is working in India

A great testimony was received from Serah, our PP coordinator in Asia. It was written by one of our Pavement Project workers trained in 2010. It read:

“Good news! The 19 years old Muslim girl I have been counseling for the past few weeks has received Jesus. I first spoke to her 2 days before Christmas. That was the first time I met her. She spoke to me for almost an hour and end of it I asked her whether I could pray for her to Jesus. She cried a lot while I prayed for her. She told me when I met her later that something happened withing her when I prayed with her. But it was a big spiritual warfare for me. I was extremely drained out for almost 2-3 days.

She asked me for a Bible after that and she was given a Bible.

Yesterday I used the green bag with her and I was in tears when I heard  her pray.
She asked Jesus to come into her life and guide her into her future. She was just praising Jesus for who is to her. Even I was surprised the way she was praising Jesus, calling him ‘Great’, and a’Friend’ to her etc. She picked up the ‘light’ Pocket card and told that “I’ve received a new light, after I started praying to Jesus”.

I have used the bag just once with her. I usually interact with them at least 2-3 times before I use the green bag. She still needs prayer. There are few things that she still needs to break free. But she said she’s able to think differently now.”

Youth reading Little Book of Help

Little Book of Help – impacting teens

This month, Youth Alive in Victoria (Australia) will hand out 1000 copies of Little Book of Help to teenagers who respond to Christ at their mega-youth rally. We all know that people respond to a message for all different reasons and they are at different stages of the faith journey. But if we can put the Word of God in their hands and help them take first steps, then they are sure to grow and move closer the God.

The Little Book of Help was perfect for this, and our prayers are that these teenagers are impacted by the life-changing word of God.

Rodrigo now

Stories from the streets – Rodrigo

Rodrigo* seemed to go from one crisis to another. He had lived on the streets for a long time before coming to the project, and his own mother had plied him with alcohol, which had caused serious neurological problems. He was sent to me because he was unable to control his anger. He’d have fits of rage where he broke things in the home, and was disobedient to his foster mother. He walked in hanging his head, ready for a telling-off. I calmly reached for the green bag.

Rodrigo now

Little by little, as I began to tell him stories, he began to share his. He told me how, in the orphanage where he lived before coming to our project, the children had been tied to their beds while fire was held to their feet. He could not forget the screams of his friends, locked up in their rooms, and his feeling of powerlessness because there was nothing he could do to help them. When Rodrigo left, having told his story, he was very calm, and relieved. He asked me to pray for his behaviour to change.

Slowly but surely, it did. But one day I arrived at the project to find him being physically held down by four people. He seemed like an animal trying to escape captivity. I asked them to let him go, but as soon as he was let loose, he ran out to the street. I knew I had to deal with the situation, but I had no idea what might happen. As I searched for him, I begged God to keep him safe. I felt very discouraged that Pavement Project had not helped him enough, and that he was suffering so much again.

At last I spotted him, arms outstretched, hanging onto the bars of the gate of a house, as if he were glued in place. I went to him and hugged him. I noticed that there were welts on his arms and neck. He seemed to be having a rage attack. Gently, I began to speak to him, reminding him of the lost lamb in the story I had told him. I reminded him that Jesus would always go looking for him, and that no matter what he did, he would always be loved and cared for. I assured him that the horrible things he had endured need not happen ever again. Rodrigo let go of the bars, turned to me and hugged me, and cried for a long time.

The bond created in a counselling relationship is unique. Pavement Project is not a quick fix solution to a child’s problems, and where follow-up is needed, the trust that builds between worker and child means that they can receive ongoing support, and as many counselling sessions as are necessary.

“Through Pavement Project, they have discovered in Jesus a friend who is always available and willing to carry their heavy load.”

*Rodrigo’s name has been changed according to our SGM Lifewords‘ child protection policy

Stories from the street – Vanessa

Fourteen-year-old Vanessa* was rescued from the streets aged just nine, and had been living in a foster home ever since. But despite receiving love and care from the workers there, Vanessa’s self-esteem was at rock bottom. She despised herself, refused to study, and found it impossible to form healthy relationships with other children or with staff.

Two girls smilingVanessa’s encounter with Pavement Project was to change all that. During a counselling session, she told her story for the very first time, sharing a secret which she had never felt able to reveal before. When she was just five years old, her mother had left her alone at home to care for her baby brother. He fell from his stroller and was killed, and Vanessa had been carrying the guilt with her ever since. Pavement Project allowed her to break the silence and to receive the comfort, support and reassurance she so badly needed.

“Vanessa had been carrying the guilt with her … Pavement Project allowed her to break the silence.”

I was overjoyed when this previously withdrawn teenage girl sought me out at church, beaming with pleasure, to show me that she was wearing a dress for the very first time, and was going to have her hair done. Small but significant outward signs of inner transformation, as Vanessa’s encounter with God began to change the course of her life in a beautiful way.

*Vanessa’s name was changed in line with SGM Lifewords’ child protection policy

Christmas

A Little Story About Something BigEvery year, we have a great opportunity to bless people with a Biblical picture of Christmas. We have all seen the Christmas message get watered down and lost among the craziness of Santa, shopping, holidays, presents, and feasts.

What if we could remind family and friends of the real meaning of Christmas? What if they opened their card on Christmas morning to find A Little Story About Something Big, and the penny dropped that this year, Christmas is about Christ who was born to us this day..?! Or your congregation each got a Christmas booklet that they could give to their family and friends?

A Little Story About Something Big is a fun and creative booklet about the real story of Christmas. It’s now available in Australia and can be ordered in bulk through our distributor, HSM Resources. Ask them for a bulk order discount and you could get them for as little as 80c each!

The Visible Story – in the field

In 2008, we trained 15 Bible College Graduates to use The Visible Story in their unique context.

  • Amon uses it as an evangelistic resource in his home village in Kalimantan;
  • Midun is a pastor to 13 small rural congregations in West Java;
  • Paulus works with children in the outskirts of Tangerang