Our team had the opportunity to partner with Mt Barker Baptist Church during mission week. We prepared ourselves as best we could leave Perth on Saturday morning. We were involved in activities such as Children’s ministry, Sunday service, men’s and women’s Bible study and young adults’ gatherings. It was a pretty full schedule with a few extra opportunities to visit families as well.
By God’s grace, we met the only Chinese family in town. The mother and son are regulars of the church and have been involved in church services, however, the father, named LiWen, doesn’t understand English well and hasn’t been going to church for few months. However on the day of our visit, he did, and we had team members who can speak his language!
God opened the door and Pastor Jono was able to bring us to LiWen’s home. It became evident that LiWen is not sure of the gospel and was thinking that he needs to do more good to earn God’s favour and eternal life. We shared the gospel with him, how Jesus is the only way for our salvation and that we can never be good enough for God by our own work.
LiWen was able to understand; he asked questions and Pastor Jono answered them from the scripture. We all definitely saw the change on his face. He was willing to pray and confirmed his faith in Jesus on that day. Pastor Jono led the prayer, I translated it and LiWen repeated and later on his wife also commented that LiWen has really grown in his faith after that day. Praise the Lord!
Cranbrook Young Adults
Trinity student Kim Chin led a bible study with the Cranbrook Young Adult gathering, looking at 1 Cor 12:12-31 and exploring what makes a good church. We looked at the problems within the church in Corinth and discussed whether we see the same issues now and what the bible has to say about that. Afterwards, we spent time in prayer and fellowship over snacks and chats.
They were a close-knit bunch who welcomed us warmly to be part of their evening meeting. I was encouraged to hear the young people engage with the discussion openly and thoughtfully. They considered what the Bible says about the church as the body of Christ made up of different parts and how that would change the way they are a part of and serve their church.
What We Learned
We learned that country ministry is quite different from being the church in the city. Members of the church all live far apart from each other; it could take up to 40 minutes to visit one family, but their neighbours or extended family might come and join them. The town is geographically big but with a small population, and everyone seems to know everyone. It challenges all Christians in the church to walk the talk and be good witnesses.
You can jump into a tractor with a person while he is working and have a long chat about anything. The Sunday sermon could actually be a topic of conversation in the following week with your neighbours! It takes a longer time to build a relationship but it will be a long-lasting one. During our visit, the coronavirus outbreak happened and Church services were cancelled. In the country, some houses do not have stable internet connection which could make it hard for them to join a service online.
Why it’s Important to go on Mission
I think that through this exposure, our student team learned that it is important to be part of other people’s lives. Studying in college can be comfortable, and concentrating on assignments can increase our head knowledge, but we cannot forget that our real target is to serve people. We need to build a relationship in order to have real impact and earn our privilege to share gospel with them. Mission week forced us to get out of our comfort zone and apply the knowledge we have learned, whether it is theology, pastoral care or evangelism. Also, being out of our comfort zone means we rely on God more and realise that we can do all the preparation, but it is God who leads and works and calls people back to Him.