Basketball in Derby
Having lived in Derby for the past six months, we have just begun our relationship with the Aboriginal culture, and still have a lot to learn. Often, when visitors pass through a town like Derby, they are confronted with things they don’t like, such as drunkenness, public fighting, dirtiness, neglected children. But I am noticing that this is not the overall picture. I am glad that we have the privilege of getting to mix with and befriend Aboriginal people, both here in Derby and out on the more remote communities. There are some things that I have observed which I really like or are just different from the way we do things. For instance, having two young sons (6 & 8), I’ve had the opportunity to take them along to local sports. They’ve had a short go at footy and now are getting into basketball. They way they run sports here is so different to the way its done in the city. Its more casual, more regular, and a lot less regulated. I am pretty much the only parent who brings my children, and stays to watch. The kids mostly find their own way to the footy field or rec center. They don’t have to pay, or sign any forms. They just turn up whenever they like and go when they like. They come because they want to be there, and they have a lot of fun. If someone gets hurt, they look after each other, but don’t dote. Once the tears are wiped away, the kid is usually straight back into it. They mostly have bare feet. But the thing that has impressed me the most is the inclusive spirit. Kids of all ages, from little ones up, are encouraged to join in. Our boys have never played basketball before, but both the adult leaders and the kids have encouraged them and are willing to teach them as they go along. The players that are recognised are the ones who pass the ball to the little kids and tell them how to play. And boy, can some of those younger kids play. You should see them shoot the goals from way back at the three point line!
Aaron takes a shot.
Another thing I observe is the strong link with nature that the Aboriginal people have. They prefer to sit outside to be together, rather than inside. If you run out of things to talk about, just get them started on fishing or talking about the plants or animals in the area. There is a lot we can learn from them. When it rains in Derby, you won’t see Aboriginal people with umbrellas. If they are walking around town when the sky opens up, they’ll just keep walking.
Yes, I am looking forward to learning more from my Indigenous neighbors.
One Arm Point
I was shocked when she said that she was 41. “That’s younger than me! You’ve got many years ahead of you if you stop drinking.” Greg and I were on a walk around the neighbourhood at dusk when we came across a couple in the park who were drunk. The woman was distressed and called out to us to help her. As we got closer we saw she had blood running down her chin. She was upset because her husband had hit her. When Greg asked him if this was true, he offered up his lame excuse, “She’s my wife. She didn’t wake me up when I was sleeping.” She asked us to ring the police, so we did. While we were waiting, I comforted and prayed with Veronica and after a while they both started chatting. “When we get our house we’ll stop drinking,” was the drift of their talk. Some people say its futile to try and witness to a drunk person, and maybe it is, but sometimes they are more open and can take it straight when you tell them they have to stop drinking and call out to God to help them in Jesus’ name. She did that in front of us. Then showed us a photo of her adult son in her wallet, and they told us they were artists, and she does really good dot paintings. “I told her that that is a gift that God has given her and that is what she should do. She needs to get rid of the grog and put Jesus in its place.” Then the police came and said, “Thanks. We’ve got this.” And we walked home.
Please pray with us for these people who God has created in His image and has planned so much more for them than the life they are living.
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
On Monday the 7th November I was privileged to begin regular visits to the One Arm Point Aboriginal Community, as part of a Kingdom Aviation & 4 The Family initiative to encourage biblical parenting. Pastor Paul White (of the Derby Baptist Church) who has had close connections to this community for many years, flew me out and introduced me to some of the locals there. We started out hoping for and expecting contact with the community chair person, an Indigenous Christian lady, but unfortunately, she was busy dealing with a community issue all day. Not to worry, we headed over to the community hall, where we found some of the local women doing art and craft. This was a relaxed setting in which to chat and get to know the ladies, and introduce the concept of running a Terrific Toddlers course. This is the result of a request for biblical parenting teaching made two years ago by the women of the community after Bill & Joan Grosser, (parenting counsellors) came and ran sessions called “Will My Child Be Okay?”. Those sessions were well received and the people involved expressed the real need for this sort of teaching in their community, where some of the children are left to themselves or are forced to endure an environment of fighting, drinking and neglect. Our hope is to work with those parents that are wanting to be responsible and encourage them to become good models for others to witness. Although the numbers of women were few yesterday, we hope to return each Monday until the end of term and try and encourage the mothers with small children to come and watch the Terrific Toddlers DVD (one small session at a time), and discuss the principles involved. This is a small and fledgling work, but we pray that it will be used in the hands of God to bring about positive and lasting change where its needed.
One Arm Point has a history of Christianity, largely due to dedicated missionaries who lived and ministered in the area for many years, but have now left and not been replaced. The local people, especially those who are older, are very positive in their talk about these missionaries and the legacy they left.
After spending the morning chatting with the ladies, Pastor Paul & I walked over to the school grounds and ran games and a talk with approx. 8 – 10 of the junior high students. This weeks theme is rope games, including skipping, lassoing & tug of war. The talk was all about trusting in God, who loves us and sets us free from feeling trapped and ashamed. Most of the kids sat and listened well to this talk.
Then, it was onto the Bible study at the local church, which is an open shelter with wooden slat seats and shade cloth in place of walls. Pastor Paul led a simple study on Mary & Elizabeth’s greeting and being filled with the Spirit. This was received well by the four people who came. It was encouraging to hear the testimony of one woman (about my age) who shared with me on the walk back through town how the power of prayer changed her from an angry, hurting woman to a woman with peace.
Back in the plane at 4.25 pm, we prepared for take off and enjoyed the beautiful blue sea views on the way home.