Experiencing two worlds
Crest Baptist Church Family Camp
It is summer break in Australia and this is the time for the beach, holidays, Australia Day and camp. Our family was asked to come to a Family Camp for Crest Baptist Church. It is an Arabic church in the heart of Sydney. People from Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and other areas of the middle east. A loving and vibrant church that was getting away for the weekend. The camp was in the beautiful tip of the Southern Highlands.
I was asked to talk to the English speaking portion of the church throughout the weekend. Yet, most of the time it was an interesting mix of Arabic & Australian culture. Consistently I had to remind myself where we were and even though I did not speak the language of the majority of the people, the testimonies and enthusiasm for the Lord was contagious. It was a great reminder that Jesus & the Holy Spirit transcend cultures and languages.
Highlights: 1. I was speaking through Nehemiah, the church leaders asked for this series due to the building time in the church culture. The first night I brought a huge tub of Lego to encourage them to build something individually, a fun way to start the weekend. The following night I asked I asked them to take apart their individual creations and make something as one unit, for one purpose and for one name. Building something together, like the people of Jerusalem in the book of Nehemiah. It was late and the Legos just sat there until I went to bed at midnight. I woke up the next morning for a run and as I came into the main hall, there was a bit of a buzz. As I turned around to see what everyone was so excited about, I saw not just a wall but a city had been built! Pictures are on Facebook.
2. Ammon - on Friday night I got to meet Ammon. He is the same age as Joshua (our son). Quiet and friendly, but kept to himself. After my first talk on Saturday morning, I noticed one of the leaders actively engaged in a conversation with Ammon, who had just started coming to the church. Then I noticed that they went to go pray. After my second talk I had an opportunity to talk with the leader. Ammon had become a Christian that day! Nothing mores satisfying to hear.
3. Gus- after the Sunday morning talk, the music leader asked me to pray for a man who had just come to the camp after. An invitation during a church building project. Gus is a truck driver who was on medical leave from his job. Right after we prayed, Gus came walking up to us and began peppering us with questions about the church, the Bible and why these talks were so different than anything he had experienced in church. He was not ready to become a Christian at that time, but you can be praying for him.
4. The girls were not there! This may seem a bit negative, but it is a gift to us. We wanted to the Hope & Becca to be with us, but they were counseling at a camp on the Central Coast. It was a sacrifice to not have these incredible young ladies with us, but it was worth it. They were counseled at a camp for under-privileged children. It was their third year counseling. This year they had the incredible opportunity to lead 14 girls to the Lord! I know it is all of the Lord, but I am so proud of what the Lord is doing through our daughters. Praise His Name!
Prayer points: we would like to share a few prayer points for 2012
1. Exciting start to city ministry: panels, evangelism training, new fellowships in the city and evangelistic events inside corporations. Please pray for their start this year and for the Lord to sustain the ministry in 2012.
2. Glorious Hope Baptist Church: growth and direction for 2012
3.Hope and Becca's final year of high school : wow, are they growing up!
4. School year begins on 31 January: New uniforms, new teachers, new challenges
5. Finances: we would appreciate anyone willing to assist us with a new ministry vehicle
6. 20th anniversary: Cathy & I celebrate 20 years of marriage this year. We are looking to get away in March for a long weekend.
7. Wisdom in our decisions with ministry partners and direction for 2012
Thanks for your faithful support and prayers. The adventure continues, Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope, Joshua & Caroline