Over the past few months I have been involved in a missional discipleship training program called OnEarth which is a Churches of Christ Global Mission Partners initiative. There are three components to the program , an action reflection study program based on Acts, a mini mission trip over a weekend and a two week cross cultural mission experience.
The 12 week course we spread over 12 fortnights which has given us time to embark on some missional experiments. We have been attempting to put into action the things that we have learnt from our reading of Acts. This has resulted in some really cool experiences. My group of girls decided to provide a helping hand to people that lived in our neighbourhood, raking leaves and doing other yard work. We've been able to make connections with a range of people. Another group has spent time at a local nursing home, reading, playing games and simply keeping the residents company of a little bit of time each week. A third group has spent some very early mornings at the lake, a popular place for runners, handing out water, hot chocolate and oranges- This group was then invited to play an official role for the Target10 fundraising event.
On the weekend 12 of us went on the mini mission trip to Dareton, a small town in NSW just passed Mildura. We went prepared to serve the community however we could. In the end we didn't do any manual labour as we had anticipated, instead what the community wanted was for us to provide some entertainment and activities to the children in the area. And so we did. On the Saturday morning we went out into the town to invite families to come to the church building in the afternoon for kids activities, music and a barbecue. We were also privileged enough to be allowed to visit the Aboriginal mission that is located outside of the town and again we invited the children and families to join us in the afternoon.
It was a fun afternoon. As soon as we had put the first table outside to set up for some craft activities, little faces appeared to check out was going on. Before long word got around and we had a bunch of kids playing sport, games, creating plasticine models and making friendship bracelets, having their face painted and basically having a lot of fun. They had a lot of energy and they kept us on our toes. We would love to return and perhaps establish a holiday program or something similar to provide something for these kids to do in school holidays, instead of getting up to mischief.
On the Sunday we ran a church service in Dareton and a second service in a neighbouring town. Everyone on the team was challenged and found themselves doing things out of their comfort zone. Our teenagers on the team did a great job the whole weekend and it has provided us with some good preparation for our two weeks in the Kimberleys in September which we are all looking forward to.
It was a hugely rewarding weekend for the team, we learnt a lot and were stretched in all sorts of ways. I hope that the kids had a good time and that we were able to be an encouragement to the local community.