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!

Monday, August 25, 2014



It's a number I will never forget because it represents God's provision and a dear child of His obediently caring for our family.
My friend called me up one day while our family was raising support to come to Australia and work with the indigenous church developing resources in Kriol, and distributing the Kriol Baibul.  She told me that she had spoken with her husband about supporting our family in the work God had called us to do, even though she had just lost her job (and 1/3 of their family's income!).  She asked her husband, "Couldn't we just support the Mullets?"  But he was realistic (being an engineer--a generous engineer), "You just lost your job!  We should be cutting our support of missionaries, not adding another one."

My friend persisted.  "Couldn't we just live carefully, spend wisely this month, and see what we have left, and give THAT to the Mullets?"  Her husband graciously agreed.

When she called on the phone she said, "We usually support our missionaries with $50 per month.  But I wasn't sure what we would be able to support your family with...But God provided, and at the end of the month we had $50.31 left over after all of our expenses!  So, we are going to support the Mullets at $50.31 per month.  And I won't leave off the .31 on our checks to you, because it's a reminder to me of God's faithfulness."

Our whole family was blessed through this family's kindness toward us, and my friend's desire to give all she could.  She consistently remembered our family in prayer as well.  She would use landmarks or objects to remember to pray for people.  She told us that whenever she drove down a certain street she prayed for "so and so" because she had done something with her there.  Then she said, "And I remember to pray for your family every time I look at the word "Precept" because I first met Cheri at (Bible) Precepts class.  And since I'm a Precepts leader, you can guess how often I see that word!"

When our son went through kidney failure and dialysis, Tina was one who regularly read our blog and continued to pray for our son.  She was a blessing from the word go.

Tina Downey will be dearly and truly loved and missed.  Each time she is remembered, she will be remembered with love and honor.  She was a blessing in life and I am truly saddened by her passing.  However, she has blessed and inspired me and our family to trust the Lord, and give it all you've got!  May God bless and keep her family during this time of sadness and mourning.  We will be praying for you all and are so grateful for the chance we had to get to know Tina and your family.  We are looking forward to the day when we will meet again.    

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Ministry & Family Update

Since my visit to the US for my brother's wedding a lot has happened, and I'd love to share with you all about it.

As you know, God has blessed us with a house in Katherine.  Only about a week after returning from my trip to the States, we were given the opportunity to host our first guests!  I(Jared) recieved a call from my indigenous dad, and he was looking for a place to stay during the Katherine Show.  When I asked him how many people would need to stay with us, he began listing more than just him and his wife...I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised at all, as that's the way it usually works.  We ended up hosting 7 people at our house, on couches, beds and on the floor.  You know, that's one of the reasons we asked for this larger house in the first place, and God answered our prayer.  It was an encouraging visit with my dedi and his wife, and we're getting to know their family better each time.  One of the people who came with them introduced himself and said, "Remember me?  You came and visited me in the hospital."  That made my heart glad because we had a chance to serve, and God used us!

When I first started to work at Mission Australia, I was told I would be stationed as a teacher out in Beswick (Wugularr), an indigenous community about 100km from Katherine.  Well, I've been working for MA for a year now, officially, and this week I will be heading out to Beswick to begin the process of starting the SEE Program(Skills for Education and Employment) out there!  FINALLY!! :)  And the most exciting part for me is the exciting news I recieved from my boss: "I want you to teach it in Kriol."  YES!!!  I was SO EXCITED!  I can't wait to start out there, and I started to translate our materials into Kriol last week.  I will use my notes to teach from, but also use the English "road rules" book so my students will be learning English reading/writing/numeracy as they study road rules to get their drivers' licences.  

On the church front, our family was involved this year in doing a VBS (Vacation Bible School) with our church.  It's the first one our church has ever done, and it went pretty well.  I was the emcee and the teacher for the 5-8 year old class.  It was a lot of fun, and I'm praying the Scriptures we looked at with the kids will stay with them, especially the ones concerning salvation.

Another exciting note:  the pastor and his family we have been waiting for has finally arrived!  We're really excited to have them after 2 years of waiting(on our half... the church has actually been waiting for about 4).  You can pray for them as they begin the ministry the Lord has called them to in our church.  Their names are Justin, Jessica, Colin, Elijah, and Aiden.  Cam has already made friends with Colin who is the same age as him.  Please pray for our church as we continue to minister in Katherine and share the gospel.

After much prayer and consideration, Cheri has decided to put her studies aside in order to focus more on our family and our home.  Perhaps she will return at a later date, but that hasn't been decided as of yet.  As a family we are seriously looking into becoming foster parents, and Cheri will be going to their office tomorrow morning to get more information.    There will be a special training over my birthday weekend(beginning of August) to learn more and prepare.  You can pray for us in this area as well, as it may be that we take on long-term care of some children.

On that note, please also pray for the Lord's provision of a 7-seater vehicle we can use both in town and community. Our landcruiser has seen it's last days, and our only other small car fits the 5 of us, with no room for extra children. 

Thank you to all who have been praying for our family and who have asked for an update on what we're doing.  We are so thankful for your prayers and I'm personally encouraged when I think of each of you.  God bless, yumob!