(Photos by David Jolly, 2007, [single])
It was strange not teaching or supervising at a Bible Club for a change.
Our first day at Yamba, I spent most of the time cleaning the kitchen of the facilities at the Aboriginal Hall. My assigned job was "Kitchen" which involved keeping watch over the leaders' personal belongings and handing leaders their group's snacks when they needed them. I was a bit disappointed before we left to find that I would not be working with an age group. But upon reflexion I asked mike not to have it remedied. God knew what He was doing. I would stick with my kitchen job.
The kitchen was gross. It took all I had not to gag when we walked in ... the smell ... the bits of food stuff all over the floor and cabinets and ceiling. I immediately set to work cleaning every surface. Mike thought I was wasting my time, it would just go back to being filthy when I left. But I asked him to indulge me ... at least I felt like I was making a difference. After I did that I sat down to think of how I could organize distribution of supplies and snacks easier. And then I determined that should any child prove difficult and need to be removed from their groups they could be sent to me. I'd assign them a cleaning job to do (still plenty to be done).
Then I sat at the window of the kitchen to observe all the groups at work. It was good to overlook everything to get a broader perspective.
Because of that I was able to pick up on things and encourage the group leaders during our group time in the morning and after we left the club each day. I encouraged them to have a sense of urgency. We'd only be there a week. Loving on the children and being nice wasn't going to save them. I repeatedly emphasized that the Gospel needed to be on our lips at every possible opportunity ... at snack time ... at crafts, etc. How will they believe unless they hear?
Many of the leaders were only in their teens and I could tell that they themselves didn't quite have a grasp on how to communicate the Gospel ... how to explain it. I was sympathetic because I, myself, didn't quite know how to clearly communicate it to unbelievers, not to mention CHILDREN, till this past summer when Mike sent me a copy of Two Ways to Live (which REALLY helped shape the way I share the Gospel with others. I used it with the teens and kids throughout the summer in Washington and Oregon.)
A number of the leaders came from Charismatic churches while a handful were Baptists and most were Reformed. I was greatly encouraged by the work ethic and passion of my Charo brothers and sisters. The repeatedly urged the others to pray and were enthusiastic about the Lord. "How good's the Lord!" Their apparent love for the children was unmistakable. In many ways they put their more theologically sound partners in the Gospel to shame.
Mike and I may be moving to Yamba/Maclean when Mike is through with Bible College (and after one/two years of ministry apprenticeship). That has been his plan for years and I'm willing to go, as well.