Prayer & Praise - June 2012
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The River Project, Albury - Graeme van Brummelen (Pastor)
Through our Food Share we see many people who have come across hardship and require our assistance with food parcels. Recently, an Egyptian family placed in Albury, found it difficult to obtain work because their qualifications are not recognised. Being Orthodox Christians and fearing for their lives, they fled Egypt because of persecution.
They see what The River Project are doing as the work of God. As they settle into their new home (a family of 5 in a one bedroom flat) they are beginning to seek fellowship, and God for direction in their lives. Praise God that this family have been offered education at the local Lutheran School, and the mother has work as a kitchen hand.
Please pray …
· for more volunteers as the ministry is growing quickly
· that other church fellowships may partner with us
Disaster Recovery Chaplaincy - Richard Howarth (Chaplain)
Through a Federal Government initiative, several of our chaplains have been trained to assist victims at the sites of natural and man-made disasters. Recently, Richard Howarth and Wayne Jeffrey were called to the Riverina Flood Zone.
I must admit that nothing prepared me for the devastation I encountered when I attended the Riverina township of Yenda, just out from Griffith.
Because people had to evacuate their properties so quickly most of this 1000 strong community had been left badly damaged, with uninhabitable homes and most of their possessions destroyed. I witnessed street after street of bewildered people dumping their waterlogged possessions and materials (that once formed the structures of their homes) onto the front foot path for the Bush Fire volunteers and Council to take to the rubbish dump.
However community spirit and optimism were evident in many of the conversations we had with the flood victims despite experiencing the whole range of emotions associated with their grief. Many of the people we encountered wanted to tell us their story.
I am so thankful to God that His character and nature were clearly evident in the way that people came together as a community, putting the needs of their neighbours before their own.
Please pray ...
· that God will use the conversations we had (especially where opportunities arose to discuss faith issues) to open hearts to receive Him
· that just by our presence, representing our loving God, people will come to understand that He is deeply concerned with their loss.
ChainBreakers Recovery & Shed, Telopea - Paul Leary (Coordinator)
There are currently 7 blokes who attend regularly who have been referred by Drug Court. They are very proactive & enjoy the shed activities. Unfortunately the skills expertise provided by 2 local TAFE teachers may end in June, which means we may not be able to offer the accredited training which provides pathways to further education and employment.
We are extremely thankful for the faithful givers to this ministry, enabling us to purchase materials, pay utility bills and basically keep going. Recently we received a donation of a lathe, scroll saw and other assorted machinery and tools which will help us keep on track to becoming a social enterprise.
I feel that God is telling me to keep the faith and to persevere!
Please pray …
· for the continuation of our training program
· that our applications for funding will be successful
Picking Up the Pieces, Penrith - Bruce Brown (Coordinator)
We first met Kara and her family when they visited the Kingswood Park (KP) Trailer Ministry. Kara is passionate about her little community and is grateful for the support of groups who provide opportunities for residents to connect and build community.
When we began a monthly community festival there, Kara wanted to be part of the team. She is always one of the first to arrive (and last to leave), willing to serve in any way needed, and can always be counted on to anchor the tug-o-war, encouraging other residents to join in.
Kara’s children now come along to our after school kid’s club and Friday night youth group, and the family attends a new church that has started at her local school.
It is a great joy to see how Jesus is impacting the KP community through people like Kara. Slowly but surely, more KP residents are getting involved in helping and serving at the festivals. This is a wonderful breakthrough in a small community with many fractured relationships and neighbourhood disputes. May God continue to use us to be ‘salt and light’ in this pl
Please pray for …
· more volunteers as PUP’s ministry and area of influence expands
· a breakthrough in the lives of the working girls as they realise their true worth
· a successful grant application and continued favour with council to fund our mobile trailer and community festivals
Community Visitors Scheme, Pendle Hill - Lyn Spice (Coordinator)
The day to day running of the Community Visitors Scheme is going well with a constant stream of new visitors volunteering. I personally find it heart-warming to know that many lives are being enhanced by the friendships that are formed between visitors and lonely people residing in aged care facilities.
Here are some observations from staff regarding the difference community visitors have made ...
“Genevieve (the visitor) has turned Josie’s (the resident) life around. On the day of Genevieve’s visit Josie has a smile on her face like no other day. Josie is always so happy when Genevieve visits”.
“Lily’s mood is totally different when Mia has visited”.
Please pray …
· for new volunteers to meet the social needs of lonely residents
· that the CVS visitor will be blessed as they bless the person whom they visit
Mental Health Chaplain, Callala Bay - Dennis Tattam
I have been working with one man for about two years now. Initially he was admitted for his chronic depression and, having some very complicated legal issues, could not return to his own home. Over the last few months we have been able to find him a place to call home, and he has begun to take on life once more.
I have now become the mediator between him and his family, and am working towards reconciliation between them all. This is what ministry is about - bringing hope and encouragement, and ultimately reconciliation in people’s lives. God is moving in these places, restoring people, releasing people from their burdens and pain (and in some cases from their illnesses), and bringing people back into a relationship with Him.
Please pray for …
· God’s wisdom and guidance, in this challenging and demanding ministry
· safety in traveling, my family, and my well-being (physically, emotionally and spiritually) as I get tired and discouraged by the system at times
Telopea Family Support - Peta O'Flaherty (Coordinator)
I have been coming to TFR for over a year now having attended many places in the past -nothing equals to this place!
I have a mental illness and have spent 20 years hunting down someone I can relate to, and that has the patience and caring nature of the Family Worker I have been seeing here. He has helped me to become a better person, by his understanding and knowledge as a counsellor. I have attended groups with other women, which has been a saviour to me, they all are understanding and non-judgemental. My 9 year old child has been seeing a child play therapist (another wonderful person from this centre) and is making a lot of progress.
The people at TFR are warm, caring, very good at their jobs and take their jobs seriously. They have helped my family stay together through our tough times, and I’m forever grateful to my worker and this wonderful centre.
I recommend this place to anyone having troubles coping with life and who needs a caring person to lean on.
Please pray …
· that we help our families effectively in accessing the help they need - especially housing, financial and education. There is so much need and so little help available!
· for our parenting courses and home visits. These have led to positive changes and healthy connections, and an opportunity to talk about our faith
· for training and focus for the staff as it is often difficult in the face of distressing need. We need sensitivity to respond in ways which will encourage a client’s potential
Rhythms Op Shop, Seven Hills - Adrian Jackson (Pastor)
Rhythms has changed management and has recently taken on the prodigiously talented Petia Egarchos as our new Enterprise Manager. Petia has an extensive background as a successful designer with years of retail experience. Over the last few months she has absolutely transformed the shop both in terms of appearance and performance. Business and buy-in is up. There is a marked increase in people wanting to be involved in what we are doing.
The ministry front is proving equally fulfilling. Relationships and contacts that have been built up over time are now moving to a new level and faith is now on the agenda for a number of people. It's slow, hard work but as the Lord promises, if we persist in doing good we will reap a harvest at the right time.
We are quite excited about the possibilities and potential for the immediate future. Right now we are considering which new initiatives we can launch to better serve our community, and are currently looking at how we can diversify our faith community into more groups in different places and times. This is unchartered territory for us as we are continually asking ourselves what church looks like for us in this place.
Please pray for…
· more workers for the harvest. We can always use more shop and pastoral volunteers.
· God to open the hearts of those with whom we work so they will meet Jesus
· God’s vision and wisdom as we look to the future and for more ways to be the good news to our community
Bathurst Reen Centre - Mike Schultz (Pastor)
In January we took a group from the Centre on a week-long camp to Tea Gardens. It was a great camp where we saw lives impacted deeply.
Since camp, an enthusiastic group armed with questions, meets faithfully on a Friday for Bible Study; a dozen or so gather Sunday afternoon to gain cooking and sewing skills; and at Sunday night Teen Church they are reluctant to stop singing worship songs to break for a meal.
The love of God shed abroad in hearts is the most powerful thing in this world – of that I have no doubt. Our motto has become – “When the love we give isn’t enough, love some more”.
Please pray …
· for the 4 young people who recently gave their lives to Christ
· for our Sunday evening cooking & lifestyle classes followed by Teen Church
· that the teenagers we meet will open their hearts to God
East Nowra Shed - Lee Dobson (Pastor)
Each week we seem to have a different group of people coming along, and I love the mixed crew we have! A single mum with a boy in Yr 6, 2 high school guys working on a bike ramp, a young visually impaired man planning a computer desk, father and son finishing a picture frame, a young couple supporting their nephews (one with autism) and 2 guys on disability pensions - keen as and helping out in a big way!
There’s a real family atmosphere where people are more important than the ‘project’.
All of this has been made SO much more manageable now that we have double the room!
A local company, Manildra have given us a shipping container (yes given!) so we have completely re-arranged and re-energized our facility, transforming how we do things. As the days get shorter and darkness lands quicker it has been great for everyone to be able to spread out indoors and work on their projects in comfort.
Please pray …
· that the shed continues to be about belonging to a family that is loving unconditionally
· for a growing connection between the Shed and our Community Church Outreach, Sundays @ Clipper Rd. That people who feel comfortable at the Shed will also feel comfortable at the monthly BBQs
Common Groundz Community Cafe, Lalor Park - Nathan Marshall (Pastor)
Common Groundz was referred to as the 'heart of Lalor Park' this week! What a compliment!
This little mustard seed that was planted in the ground is now like a tree where the birds of the air take shelter.
When Leon came in for a coffee a few weeks ago, I was hit by the smell of methylated spirits that came from his breath. We had not met before but he said to me, "I've heard of this place and I really need your help." After spending an hour with Leon, God provided a friend from AA to also chat with him, as well as two other friends – intercessors, who lay hands on Leon and prayed for him.
After a couple of weeks of AA meetings, many coffees and conversations, we were able to encourage Leon to go into hospital and detox. It was the best outcome for Leon, and we were relieved for our friend who was in a bad way.
We encounter many stories like this, which is why we continue to ask you for your prayers and support.
Please pray for …
· our friend Leon, and his health
· our journey with Kurt who is lonely and binge drinking
· the Lalor Park Community Garden we are supporting, and the work with local kids in our 'Garden and Arts' project
Lifegate Care, Padstow - Sam Nielsen (Coordinator)
From The Torch (Bankstown-Canterbury) 28 March, 2012
Inspired after seeing elderly competitors in the Australian Ironman Triathlon … Colin Seckold made the bold decision that he too would have a go for charity despite not even being able to swim. But Colin did not let that stop him, urging his brother to teach him how and putting in hours of training.
This year Colin is signing up again for the Triathlon to be held in Port Macquarie, and is hard at work training for the intense physical and mental event which is a 3.8km swim, 180km bike ride and a 42.2km run.
Having raised funds previously, this year Colin has set his sights on the Lifegate Care project. “They run a lot of wonderful programs, like ‘Lifegate Does Breakfast’, where they operate a free BBQ every Sunday morning and a free, home-cooked meal for members of the community from 6.30pm every Wednesday.
They also produce care packs containing life’s essentials such as soap, blankets, toothpaste and socks etc. to allow them to engage face to face with people in need and find out how they can assist further.”
Please pray …
· for additional volunteers, particularly from neighbouring churches
· that we will continue to share about Jesus with the people we meet through our programs, and that they will then connect into the wider church
· that we have a positive and lasting influence on our community