On the 20th March we waved goodbye to our oldest son Jacob (who stayed in Derby to look after our home and continue working) and took off down the highway towards Perth and Albany.
We have now been away for over one month and even though it has been a long trip, we have been connecting with a lot of people, both old and new friends, sharing about the needs in the Kimberley, it’s people and our ministry there. The impetus for this trip initially was an invitation to attend the Growing Families Australia Key Leader’s Conference in Sydney.
GFA key leaders are those who are very familiar with the GFA parenting courses, practice the biblical parenting principles of GFA in their own families as well as regularly hold classes in their area. This conference was held at Stanwell Tops campsite an hour’s drive South of Sydney from the 9-12th April. We were blessed to be able to fly from Perth to Sydney with our two youngest boys. One of the highlights was having our special friend from the Kimberley, Rowena, come along also.
At the conference we were given a morning to share with the wider body of committed GFA leaders. Greg & I, Rowena and Joan Grosser used a powerpoint presentation to explain the great spiritual need of the Kimberley, the constant tragedies and grief suffered by so many there, the background history which explains a lot of the pain and the hope we have to offer in Christ and through the biblical parenting materials of GFA, which we are working on using as the basis of the Families God’s Way material. The presentation was well received and moved people to pray for us and of course the Kimberley. The need to pray for the men (fathers) of the Kimberley was highlighted and as a result, a list of men is being compiled along with some basic information and a photo so that people can choose one man and pray especially for him and his family. It has also been suggested that some GFA key leaders might regularly contact their chosen Kimberley man and encourage and/or mentor him.
As well as the more serious side of the conference, which included meetings to discuss how GFA can be more effective in reaching wider Australia, there was a lot of fun and games. The children and teens that came along enjoyed daily sessions of Bible teaching and activities, including giant swing rides, abseiling, pedal carts and archery. Our two boys really enjoyed this time of playing outside without getting hot, making new friends, and taking part in activities that they wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to do. Their were also regular times of whole family fun, including a bushdance, team challenges (held in family groups) and lots of loud chatter over meals.