Friday, September 23, 2016

God's Work

So many times I feel like people say to me, "Wow, it's great that you found your calling, and you're doing 'God's work'."  They mean it in an encouraging way, and I appreciate it, but I hope they don't forget that they are doing God's work as well.  God's work isn't confined to Bible studies, preaching at a church, and doing baptisms for new believers.  Those are a joy and a blessing, and I love the fact that I've been given the opportunity to do those things.  God has been kind to me.  If I could just do that, I would LOVE LOVE LOVE IT.

However, God has also blessed me with another job as a teacher.  I enjoy teaching and helping folks reach their goals through teaching language, literacy and numeracy.  I work in an office setting with many different people.  God has put me there.  I know I need to be a light at work and a blessing to those around me.  

God has put his children exactly where he wants them to be to accomplish His purposes.  There are people around us every day who have a skewed view of Christians and, even worse, a skewed view of who Christ is and what He's like.  As Christians, we are called to be a light.  We're called to be witnesses.  What does that look like?  Following God's Word.  What does the Bible tell us to do?  Love God, and love our neighbour as ourselves.  Pray for our enemies.  People will see a difference in our lives, and they will ask.  When they ask, we have an opportunity to share the gospel with them with gentleness and respect.  That doesn't mean we have to march through the four spiritual laws the first time someone asks if we go to church somewhere, or preach hellfire and brimstone at a person who is seeking(though that is a fact that will need to be shared at some point...with gentleness and respect).  

That may sound a bit scary, sharing your faith.  But usually(in my experience) the people who have asked me about it are my friends or acquaintances.  I already know them, and they aren't out to burn me at the stake.  The Bible tells us that we need to be ready to share our faith in and out of season, we need to be ready to give an answer to someone who asks us for the reason we have hope, when the rest of the world doesn't really seem to.  

Why do we have peace?  As believers, we have God continually living inside of us.  That is pretty amazing.  We are called his children and He is our loving Father.  He promises never to leave us.  He promises to guide us if we let Him.  We don't have to worry about tomorrow, because He is with us, and He knows exactly what will happen.  We are in God's hands, and no one can take us away from Him.  Ever.  

Our world is looking for peace.  They look in so many different places.  Money: if I can just buy happiness and peace, I'll be fine.   How many millionaires have committed suicide?  Money can't buy peace.  

Politicians:  if my candidate is in office, he/she will do what I want and we will have peace.  So far, no government has brought about lasting peace.

Family:  as long as I have family, I have peace.  But what about family feuding?  When one breaks out against the others, the peace is gone.

Religion: if I just live a certain way, follow the proper ceremonies, traditions and laws, I'll be good, and I'll find peace.  But how many religious fanatics die without peace?  How many are living in the turmoil of "If I don't make this sacrifice, my family will be sick." or "If I don't act a certain way, people will judge me and shun me, and my god will abandon me." Where is the peace?

True peace is found in Christ.  True peace is found in knowing that God is in control, and no matter what comes in the future, He is with me.  The Creator of all, is with me, and has promised never to leave me.  He knows the beginning from the end, and He is with me.  Jesus said, when we pray we're supposed to pray, "Our Father..."  God is our Father.  The God of all, calls me His son.  God is with us throughout our trials and troubles.  He will help us through.  So we have peace.

This world does not have our Father.  They do not have His peace.  The have turned their backs on Him.  They want nothing to do with Him and the only way they can come is through the Holy Spirit drawing them to Him.  So, we need to pray for those around us who do not know God yet.  Pray God would draw them to Himself.  Share the Gospel with them!  We can't change people's hearts, but we can pray for them.  Without the Holy Spirit working in their lives, all the talking in the world won't make a difference.  Trust God for peace.  Trust Him to lead you exactly where he wants you to be, and then look for those opportunities to share your hope with those who don't have Him.  

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Surprise Answer to Old Prayers! :)

I was reading through my old journals today, and I came across a prayer request/hope I was praying about that God has answered in a really awesome way!  We were still with Wycliffe when I wrote this journal entry on 8/19/2012:

"...We are very seriously considering moving to Katherine.  There is one specific home we are interested in..." (God gave us a home!!)
"...I would like to have a job somewhere else  and then have ministry with our church working with youth and doing praise and worhip leading.  Also if we could start some sort of indigeous outreach at the church(in Kriol) that would be great.
  Since there are so many indigenous folks in Katherine (Who may have left their communities for one reason or another) we could reach out to them, disciple them, and they can take Christ back into their communities!  How would/could we do it?"

As you all know, God has opened a huge door to share the gospel with men and women at the Venndale Rehab Centre 30km from Katherine.  Our church has been blessed to be going out there to lead church services for over a year now!  Praise God for His amazing answer to prayer!  I need to journal more often, and read through things to see how God has answered other prayers I may have forgotten I even prayed!

At the bottom of this certain journal there are verses on each page.  The verse at the bottom of this entry was Deuteronomy 31:8 "The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you."

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Prayer Update from the Mullets! :)

To all the folks I was blessed to talk with on our visit back to the USA, it was a real encouragement to come back for a visit!  Thank you so much for your reminders that you're praying for us, and check this blog every once in awhile to see how we're going!  Here's a list of the different praises and prayer requests:

-Cheri is progressing in her mid-wifery studies and is half-way there to her degree!
-Jared is nearly finished with a graduate diploma in Adult Language, Literacy and Numeracy education.
-Our kids are all healthy.  (for the most part!  Colds and other common sicknesses happen...)

-We have been blessed to continue our relationships with all the church folks out at Barunga.  The longer we are here, the stronger those friendships become.  My (Jared) favourite part of living here is building relationships with the folks around us.  Since we're living in Katherine, we see them 2 times a week (sometimes more).
-I've been working at Mission Australia for three years now, and have been offered permanent employment with them! :)  Up to this point it has been on a contract basis.  It is a blessing to know my job will continue even if our program ends, but as of right now, the program is going strong.

Prayer Requests:
-Please pray for continued growth in the church.  We live in a very transient area, and there are always people coming and going, especially in the dry season when the rivers aren't too high and flooding doesn't prevent travel between communities.  However, we have a great base of strong believers who want to see their community and their people come to the LORD. :)
-The Venndale outreach continues each Saturday.  While we were away in the USA, it went well, and for a couple weeks stopped, as there was no one to drive people out to Venndale!  When I got back to Venndale to teach, the students were asking me, "When are we having a service?  Are you and the olgamen (old ladies) coming this week?" Please pray for me as I prepare messages each week, and pray for the ladies as they build strong and lasting relationships with the people at Venndale.  Without them, this ministry would not be as successful as it has been.  Pray for health and strength for each of them.

-Please continue to pray for the men and women at the Venndale rehab centre.  We've now been going there for over a year as a church.  I was talking with one of the ladies who has been going out to Venndale nearly every week with us since the beginning, and she said she loves going out to Venndale to encourage the men and women, many of whom are her family through the skin system.  The people have specifically asked for "Nana" or "Auntie". :)  Praise the Lord for continued favour with the staff at Venndale rehab as well.

-Men and women come in and go out of Venndale on average of 3 months at a time.  After they leave Venndale, many return to their communities.  Please pray the gospel would spread through those who have returned to their communities, and God would continue to grow those men and women.  Also, please pray they would find their strength in Christ Jesus, and turn to Him when they are tempted to relapse.
-Pray they would find a strong Christian or church in their community where they can be encouraged, held accountable and built up.  In many communities, churches exist, but only meet sporadically, and may or may not have a pastor.  Going back to their communities without the proper support makes relapse common, but Christ can break the cycle!

Thank you all so much for your continued prayers.  The longer I am allowed to serve God, the more I see that it is only the Holy Spirit who can truly transform lives and change hearts, rescue the lost and hurting, and give lasting hope for the future.  Pray with us for God to be glorified in and through the ministry He has blessed us with.

By God's Grace Alone, Jared

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!