Friday, April 15, 2016

New Prayer Update! :D

Quick update:
-Please pray for the Barunga Church. It's grown quite a bit in the last year+. It had about 6 people attending a bit over a year ago, and now Sundays it's about 40. :) Praise the Lord!

-God has given us a ministry at a local drug and alcohol rehabilitation center where we've been doing outreach for the past year...It will be one year this May! God opened the door for us to do church services in Kriol with the "clients" there. We have a new face almost each week, but then others leave. There are usually around 6-12 men and women who come to the service. Those men and women come from many different indigenous communities from all over the "Top End" of Australia. 
      As they leave and return to their families, pray they would continue in their walk with the Lord, and that there would be some kind of Bible based teaching and fellowship made available to them. Many go back to places where there is a church, but in some cases, there is no church in their community.

-Please pray for Cheri as she continues her study in midwifery. She's doing well, but still has a couple of years left before she's finished with the program and an official midwife.

-Please pray for me as I teach language literacy and numeracy at the very centre we are doing our outreach! God is good and opened that door for me to build relationships with folks in and out of church. :)

-Please pray for the ladies who come with me to Venndale that they would be an encouragement and encourage others at the Centre, and that we as a group would make an eternal impact.

-Our family is doing well, kids are all healthy and they are enjoying school! 

-Please pray for Cheri as she continues her study in midwifery. She's doing well, but still has a couple of years left before she's finished with the program and an official midwife.

I think that'll do for now! :) Thanks for praying for us! You know, I haven't sent out a prayer update in a long time. But we really need the prayers!  If you want to receive more frequent updates, please let me know through e-mail or Facebook!  Thanks again, folks!

God bless, Jared for the Mullets

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Quick Prayer Update From the Mullets

Thank you to everyone who has continued to pray for our family and for the ministry God has given us here in the Northern Territory, Australia.  Just a quick update for you so you can pray for us more specifically. :)

-Praise God the church has been growing A LOT.  Just a year ago we had our family, 2-4 ladies from Barunga sitting around a table praying, reading and studying the Bible together... This morning we had close to 50 people at church!  Cheri had 23 kids in Sunday School.

-The kids Bible club each week has been growing as well!  Two weeks ago they had 40 children attend the club.  Praise God for bringing in the kids and also their mums/dads.  It's a huge blessing. 

-Praise God for Pastor Patrick and his wife, Jen, who have done an excellent job connecting with the community and helping the church to reach out more!
-Our church outreach at the Venndale Rehab Centre has been going well, too.  Saturday we had close to 12 men attend the service, and our church works well with the staff out at Venndale.

Prayer requests:
-Please pray for continued growth in the church.  There are still 300+ people in the community who aren't attending, and we want to reach out to them as well.

-In a neighboring community, our church has been asked to take services at their church.  Pray for the people we need to be able to meet this need.  At this time, everyone feels "flat out" with what we're up to already! :)

-This Friday is the beginning of the teen group out in Barunga.  Pray the teens would come to know the Lord and make a decision to follow Christ with their lives.  Pray for Patrick and myself(Jared) as we lead the group.  Pray for continued strong relationships to be built with the youth and for the Bible to set roots deep in the students' hearts. 

 -Please pray for all the men and women out at Venndale, as they are separated from family, going through treatment, and "turning things around".  Pray for continued positive relationships and for men and women to grow in the Lord, as well as to turn to Him if they don't know Him yet!

-With all these awesome "ministry" opportunities, pray that our families would find a  balance and stay strong and healthy. 

If you want to pray more specifically, comment below, and I'll contact you.

Thanks for your prayers, yumob! (y'all in Kriol)  We'll keep you updated.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Song in His Heart

I continue to go out to Venndale Rehabilitation Centre (Drug and alcohol related) each Saturday with the church leaders to share the gospel with those clients.  I began with a question, "What is God like?  What do you think God is like?" and then, from their after sharing about my own assumptions of who I thought God was, I simply said, "Well, what does the Bible say?  What does God tell us about who He is?  Because that is the true measure of who He is, not just what we think he is like."  So we looked at Creation, what does that teach us about God?  What does that teach us about ourselves and our relationship to our Creator? 

With each week, we could have as many as 10-12 people come to the service, 15, but they were just "checking it out".  We've been doing the Venndale outreach now for 2+ months, and if ever we need to cancel it, there is always someone asking, "Are you coming again next Saturday?"  There is a regular group of about 5-8 who attend most Saturdays.  As you know, the services are conducted completely in Kriol, because that is the first language of many of the clients at Venndale, and a common link for many of the clients.

We open the service with prayer and song, and then after singing, I share from the Bible or one of  the church leaders will share.  It has been such an amazing blessing to have those ladies coming with me on a regular basis.  Each week, at least 3 of us go to Venndale together, we are allowed to be a group of four, but not more. 

After many weeks, I began to wonder if God was really working in their hearts, and if I was preaching what He wanted me to preach.  After dropping the church leaders off in Barunga, as I drove back to Katherine I just asked God, "Please give us a break through!  I want to see something happening in these men and women's lives.  Please, Lord!"  As they say, "Aibin geda shok" at how quickly God answered my prayer.

The following Monday (two days later) I was out at Venndale teaching Language, Literacy and Numeracy.  One of the men who would frequent the service on Saturday, but was very quiet and sat in the back with his sunnies on, and cap backwards,  approached me before class and said, "I wrote a song."  Inside, I was like, "WHAT?!" 

But on the outside, I said, "Oh, wow!  That's excellent!  What is it about?" 

The man said, "I wrote it when I was in prison.  It's your song now.  I'm giving it to you.  God gave it to me."  He borrowed a guitar from another client, and then began to play the song God gave him.  I asked if he could write it down, and he said, "It would be faster if you did."  So, I typed it up.  I asked him if I could share the song with others, and he told me that would be good, and that is why he gave it to me. 

The following Saturday, we had the service as usual, and at the end, asked him if he wouldn't mind sharing his song.  He agreed and played and sang beautifully.  It went so well the church leaders asked if they would be allowed to translate it into Kriol.  Praise God!  The lyrics to his song are as follows:

"Jesus, you're our Savior
Our King from heaven
And we will praise your name forevermore our Lord
'cause you have died on the cross for us, on Calvary.
Oh my Lord I wanna be with you on a paradise.

And let your light let it shine on us to follow you our King.
We believe in you our King, we believe in you. (x2)

And we have seen the light on us, we will carry on. 
'Cause you have shed your blood for us on Calvary.
And we will pray to you our Lord, to wash away our sins.

I believe in you my King, I believe in you.
Oh my Savior, my Lord, my King.      "

Praise God for His faithfulness and his kindness to us, I am so thankful that he kindly let me see Him working in the Venndale Saturday services, and I'm so glad our church is blessed with this opportunity.  Please continue to pray for us and for the Venndale folks as well.  Thanks, yumob! (y'all in Kriol)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

God's Perfect Plan (That I often don't see!)

Throughout my life, I have been blessed to be part of things that God is doing because He has been kind to me and allowed me and my family to join in!  Sometimes I don't see how God is working in different situations, but at other times, I catch small, "Oh!  Wow!"  moments.  I don't know what is going to happen in the future, but I know God does, and everything works together for the good of those who love Him.

Something He has placed in my lap is the opportunity to reach out through the Barunga Church to the Venndale Rehabilitation Centre.  I am currently working for Mission Australia as a teacher of English language, literacy, numeracy.  I was teaching the Skills for Education and Employment course in Katherine, and really enjoying it.

One Sunday, a lady from our church expressed interest in reaching out beyond Barunga, with a Kriol service out at a local alcohol and drug rehabilitation centre.  I spoke to the manager as well as the main person in charge at Venndale, and they were very encouraging.  After several weeks of chats, getting things organized and making things "official" we were blessed to do our first Saturday evening service out at Venndale.  That first service was myself, my pastor, and two of the olgamen (elder ladies) from the Barunga church--including the lady who wanted to start the outreach. :)  Praise the LORD!  

The Monday following our first Saturday service, my boss at Mission Australia called me and another teacher into the conference room, and we were told I would be sent out to Venndale to carry out the SEE Program there instead of in Katherine!  Praise the Lord!

Through my teaching at Venndale, I have been able to build some relationships with the people there, including the staff at Venndale.  On average we have had around 6-10 people attending the services, with many of the attenders being, "repeats".  This is an excellent opportunity to share Christ with people who are eager to listen.  Please pray for the gospel to take root, DEEP root, in their hearts, and for them to come to know the Lord or be brought closer to Him through this outreach that God has so kindly blessed us with. :) 

As the folks leave Venndale, they may return to Katherine, or back to their community (Barunga, Beswick, Manyalaluk, Weemol/Bulman or even Alice Springs).  Over 90% of the clients at Venndale are indigenous, and our church wants to effectively minister to them and help them to grow closer to the Lord.  We covet your prayers for the men and women at Venndale, both the staff and the clients, and for our church as we reach out to them. 

Praise God for this opportunity to share the hope of the gospel, and to see Him work in amazing ways!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A 7-Day Refresher

Dear Friends and Family,
   The Lord provided both of us a time to get away from the small town life of Katherine. We needed this. A break from work and ministry and children.  Jesus is the reminder to us all that we need to take times away in order to be useful in the work.... He often went alone to pray to the Father, to escape the many people who "needed" him.  We need to get with Him on a daily basis, but He was kind enough to us to let us escape and go somewhere else :). We chose to go to Brisbane, because that is where we were provided completely free accommodation, as well as a beautiful prayer retreat to end our trip with, in order to "get alone" with the Father. We count it a blessing that friends we trust were able to care for our children while we were away for 7 days! That is quite a lot to ask of friends... but it was such a blessing to know that our kids were safe and well-cared for while we were away. I hope and pray that God provides for them in their needs as well. Here is a daily run-down of our trip:

Day 1: We ventured out to Ipswich, QLD, where our lovely unit was waiting for us... took some time to rest from our midnight flight, and then walked on a path (in the rain :) !) to scout our some pizza for lost, but made it anyway! 
Day 2:  Had a relaxing morning...then took the train to Brisbane... saw the "Wheel of Brisbane," an art gallery, and the city botanic gardens. We finished our day at a local Korean BBQ where we felt like we had left Australia and gone to Korea! EVERYONE in that restaurant was Korean, except for us. What does that tell you about the food? It was excellent! We cooked it ourselves, right on the table!

Day 3: Whale Watching Day!  Lots of travel just to get there... including a long walk, as the bus didn't go near the pick-up spot. (we walked a lot on this trip :) ) But it was most definitely worth it, just to get up and close to God's beautiful creation of whales, and see them in their natural environment. Amazing. This was also the day that a U.S. aircraft carrier was pulling into the Brisbane port to drop off American military boys for the weekend... the local newspaper said,  America's invading Brisbane! Oh no! :) But we saw the invasion up close and personal as well, as it delayed our travel out to the island for a bit...

Day 4: Our last full day before heading to the prayer retreat, so we decided to take it easy and stay in Ipswich, instead of heading into Brisbane again. We took a relaxed morning, went out for coffee (again) :)... and then decided to catch a matinee of "Inside Out." I wasn't sure what to expect with this movie, but it beat my expectations to say the least. We approve...not that you need our approval! :) Just a nice, relaxing day... we ended it with a short walk again.

Day 5: Early morning service at 8:30 am at a local church... rush, rush, get to the bus... miss the bus! Miss the train!  Can't make it to the prayer retreat on time! ... Call our friends who live in Brisbane area... get invited over for lunch (American hot dogs, which Jared was thrilled about!)... have a nice visit with them... catch the last train to Gympie! Arrive at the prayer retreat at 8:30 pm.

Day 6: A beautiful location, for focused time in prayer with our heavenly Father. No distractions. Had a good day in quietness with the Lord, both separately, and together. Invited over to the hosts' place for dinner... which turned out to be a Bible study at their house and lots of people we didn't know! Good times though. Partook of communion as a group... sang a hymn... prayer... and looked at the Lord's prayer in Matthew. Various denominations represented. It was a very nice way to conclude our day there.

Day 7: We spent the morning at Eaglemount Prayer Retreat... then hopped on the train to get back to the Brisbane airport and head home!  Arrived in Darwin at 12:30 am the next morning... drove straight home and got to our house around 5 am.  Needless to say, we were tired. Picked up the children that morning... great to be back with them again.  Thank you friends who watched them! We really had a nice time away.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Christmas Mango

I was at work today, trying to stay focused on the write-ups I needed to finish for the pre-training assessments before the Christmas break, thinking of lessons, school, and it was a bit seems everyone at the office is in the "just hang in we're almost there" stage of work.  We know there is a break coming, and there will be rest then.  But right now, it's "I need to get this done!"  It's really easy to get caught up in the monotony of everyday tasks that call for our attention, sometimes yell at us, especially near the end of the year.

In the middle of my dash to get things finished this morning, I was interupted by a co-worker who stopped at my desk and asked, "Do you know a Tom*?  He's out in the foyer waiting for you."  I hadn't spoken to Tom in months.  I hadn't even seen him around.  He had been over to our house some for a cuppa and a chat when I worked at the motel, and when I first started at Mission Australia.  He always called me, "Churchy" and has a grip of steel.  When we moved to our new house, Tom and I kind of lost touch.  I hadn't thought about him for months.

So, I went out to the foyer, not sure what to expect.  When he saw me he said, "Hey churchy!  How's the family?  How's the kids?   Just wanted to say Merry Christmas, mate."  With that he handed me a ripe yellow/gold mango, and shook my hand with his steel grip.  "Now don't say I never gave you nothin'!"  I told him Merry Christmas and thanks, and he joked, "Where's my Chrisy present, mate?"  and with that, he was off again.

I held the mango in my hand, brought it to my nose and smelled it.  Sweet and ripe.  I took the mango back to my desk, blessed by the gift from a friend.  Imagine I had told Tom I didn't want his mango.  Or what if I just didn't acknowledge that I even knew him, didn't even leave my desk to go out to the foyer?  Where would that put our friendship?

But Tom's gift reminded me of another gift given over 2000 years ago.  The mango from Tom was a gift that continued and reaffirmed a friendship, but the gift God gave us of His Son, Jesus Christ opened the way for a relationship with God Himself.  Imagine we ignore His gift to us, don't even bother with it.  Or imagine we go "out to the foyer" to chat with Him, and politely refuse His gift.  Where does that leave us in our relationship with God?

This Christmas season, in the midst of all the busyness and noise, I challenge you to "step out to the foyer", and think about how you will respond to God's gift of Jesus Christ. 

"Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which translated means, "God with us."
Matthew 1:23 (NASB)

Monday, September 1, 2014

A Jitterbug in Heaven

I recieved some very sad news this evening.  My Grandma Mary has gone to be with the Lord.  She was my step-grandma, but she will always be just "Grandma Mary" to me.  She immediately accepted me, Jamie and Jeremy into her family just as if we were her natural grandkids when my mom and Brad married.  I remember the first time I spoke with her on the phone, I said, "Is this Grandma Mary?"  and she replied, "Yes!  Who is this?  Jared?"

I remember having our Easter dinner at Grandma Mary's, and we would eat cold ham sandwiches from The Honey Baked Ham Company with perfectly buttery rolls.  At first I wasn't too sure about cold ham, but it grew on me.  
I remember that each birthday, she would give us one dollar for every year we were celebrating, and each of the one dollar bills were perfectly crisp and new, and sequencially numbered from 1 to whatever age we happened to be that year(I couldn't wait to be 100..).  She would wait at the bank or at King Soopers and specifically insist the numbers were in order!  She did that for all of her grandchildren. 

I remember when I was learning to swing dance in high school Grandma Mary said, "You know, I used to be quite the jitterbug when I was your age!  We used to do something called the Minneapolis stomp!"  And then she commenced to show me and my sister how it was done.  She was in her late 70's at the time. 

I remember that every present she wrapped was PERFECT.  There was no tape showing anywhere, and the patterns always matched up so you really didn't want to open it, but you really did, and it almost seemed like a shame to waste such a beautiful present... and I would aspire to wrap my presents just as perfect(never with such perfect results)!  Also, at every birthday celebration with Grandma Mary, there was the obligatory "cake picture" with us holding the cake up and smiling so Grandma could get a good shot. 

I remember when I was a boy she was shopping at the grocery store and noticed someone with a cart full of cake mixes.  She asked what all the cake was for, and the person flashed a nametag from a local cake shop!  Grandma went home and immediately called her friend, who called the cake shop and asked, "Are all of your cakes made from scratch?"  When the shop owner replied, "Oh, yes.  Of course."  Grandma and her friend both had a good laugh.
Even after we moved to Australia, I always knew she was thinking of me and my family.  When I spoke with her at my brother's wedding this past summer, she said, "I have your calendar up at my house!  I love looking at your family and your beautiful children." and she gave me a hug.  That was the last time I got to see Grandma and talk to her.  Grandma Mary was a blessing to me and our family.  She brought joy and laughter to our lives, through her quirky personality and great style, as well as her love for us... and mischeivous personality.  She will forever be loved and missed.  I can just see her in heaven taking Grandpa Dale by the hand and doing the Minneapolis Stomp!