This week we were asked by a supporting church, “What are the daily challenges and struggles you face, both big and small, along with the blessings of serving the Lord where you are?”.
Struggles and challenges:
- The heat. For 2/3 of the year it feels like a perpetual heat wave, with no cool change in sight. In Summer (December to February), the average maximum temperature is 36°C with an average minimum temperature of 25°C. In Winter (June to August), the average maximum temperature is 32°C with an average minimum temperature of 18°C. For us, this means a lot of time inside, living in expensive air conditioning, trying to avoid the heat. We are very thankful for the local swimming pool! When we do go out, often the car feels like an oven by the time we’ve finished our business. This week’s forecast is for a maximum of 41 C & minimum of 27 C. This sort of constant heat gets draining.
- Isolation from family. As our parents get older and sometimes their health is not good, it is very hard to be so far away from them. Also, not being able to be there for our two older kids, Hayley and Jacob, in the different cities they have moved to is a bit hard at times. The cost of the average air fare to SA (where Linda’s family live) is around $1000 return (per person) and to Perth (where Hayley lives & is the city we’d fly to if we were going to visit Greg’s family in Albany) is around $500 return (per person). At the end of February we will no longer be able to fly from Derby but will have to drive 2 hours to Broome to catch a plane. Derby is over 4000 km from Adelaide & 2750 km from Albany.
Living in a town/area with high rates of drug and alcohol addiction and social problems such as domestic violence and suicide. This affects us indirectly and sometimes directly as we try and help/be a friend/support those affected. Dropping into Woolworths late on a (payday) Thursday afternoon often means seeing lots of people lining up to buy alcohol for a drinking binge.
- Constant tragedies occurring in a small town. This means funeral after funeral and sadness among the people we are ministering to. There are always funeral notices up on the local noticeboards.
- Isolation from like minded families. We have home educated our children since 2006. This was a bit easier in Kununurra where we were part of a strong co-op of home educators, but in Derby, we have been the only home educators for quite some time. Because of our faith and desire to give our children a Christian world view plus the struggles of the schools in town, we still think this is the best option for our family.
- Spiritual Apathy. We see the big spiritual need in this area, but people don’t always respond to the opportunities offered to them. Getting people to commit to a 6 week parenting course is difficult and numbers always fluctuate.
God’s Provision. We’re very thankful for all that God has provided for us through His people to keep us here and for blessing us with a large house which is really useful for living and ministry.
Relationships with Aboriginal People. The local people we have got to know are generally spiritually open and soft hearted. They have a great sense of humour and are very relational. (It is not unusual to be laughing so hard we have tears in our eyes during ladies Bible study.)
Flexible lifestyle. In order to last long term in the Kimberley it is important to be flexible and available. This is a challenge at times, but also can be a blessing because it means that we are able to home educate our children and be available at the same time for relationships.
Having a purpose. It is a privilege to be supported by so many people who give to us and pray for us constantly in order that we may serve God and share His Word here. Our relationship with God and His Holy Spirit strengthen us with joy to keep on keeping on. “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” Galatians 6:9