Day 4 of Bush Mission – 29 September: The Garden of Living Waters!
Insight from Oliver Herd and Lora Howard
The final day of the Bush mission saw our intrepid adventurer’s in the drama finally reaching the garden of living waters under the guidance of Ranger Smith. Despite taking the wrong path and regularly choosing to ignore the guidance offered, three of the adventures (Teddy Stoves, Grace, and Isabella) decided to trust Ranger Smith, though undeserving, the Ranger was overjoyed to show them the garden and lead them to life!
What a trip this has been, we have been able to proclaim the good news of God’s mission to reconcile all people to Himself through Jesus Christ our Lord. There has been lots of fun for the kids of Leonora and our team, some tough challenges, and some joyful breakthroughs as we see kids respond with trust in Jesus. Read on for a few reflections on the final day from Oliver and Lora.
On the final day of the program, we woke up to the melodious sound of Oliver’s singing, once again. We had a regular morning session with the usual crafts, dancing, singing, and games. It was an emotional time for many of us when it was time for the kids to leave as it was the final time to see many of them. The rest of the day was spent cleaning up the rec centre, and prepping for the dreaded bus ride on Friday.
We then headed out to the Prickle Patch which is owned by ‘Sir’. He is well-known to the kids as he was a teacher at the school. The Prickle Patch was like a tiny zoo in the outback; there were alpacas, evil horses (according to Oliver), donkeys, geese, and chickens. Many of us were surprised by the dog called ‘Bear’ which was literally the size of a bear and was eating a goat’s head !!!
All the kids joined us for a barbie and a sing-along. Then, all the littlies went home on the bus so the big kids could play Raiders. There were two teams, each with a fire. The fire was surrounded by two circles – one of rope, and one just drawn on the ground. There were seven circles inside the two larger circles. These seven circles each contained a pipe. The aim of the game was to steal the other team’s pipes. Whenever you entered the drawn circle, you could be tagged, and you would become a prisoner. There were two roles on the team either a guard (so guarding one of the pipes) or a raider (pipe stealers). Whoever had the most points at the end of the game (based on number of pipes and number of prisoner) won. The teams were led by two of the girls who have played Raiders for many years. Although DJ’s team won, Monty’s team was carried by Lora who stole two pipes!
Thursday was a sad day for many of us, as well as the kids who had to say goodbye to new friends. However, it was also a huge relief because now we can finally have our holidays! Leonora was a great experience for all of us: ministering God’s word to people who need it, experiencing the difference in the team and the kids’ lives in Leonora, or even trying potato sprinkle for the first time!
The Final Day – 30 September: The End of This Adventure
Insight from Jean and Eli
Friday morning greeted us with – you guessed it – Oliver’s singing. Many of us had stayed up late the night before, so we struggled to get ourselves out of bed, but eventually the people around us forced us awake, some with noise, some with brute force. We swiftly gobbled up some breakfast, pumping up our energy to soon start packing everything up with the bittersweet feeling of leaving Leonora (and the car, Fluff).
We cleaned up the classroom, the kitchen, the toilets, working together to try our best to leave the place spotless. We turned on our efficiency mode as we made a line to carry the luggage onto the bus. Yummy – sorry, I am eating a golden honey oat bar to get my brain working. We prepared ourselves for the awaited adventure that John, our bus driver, was about to take us on. Sleeping bags, pillows, lollies and snacks were ready for the road trip.
As soon as we got on the bus, eyes started to droop, and about 15 minutes in, I was asleep along with others, exhausted from the week of ups and downs of preparing for the week of the mission.
Our first stop after about 2.5 hours of driving was at McDonald’s in Kalgoorlie where we stressed the workers out of their minds with our 30 or so hungry tummies (the staff were excellent, and Mr Taylor gave them a big thank you). Though I felt pretty unhealthy eating my hashbrown, chicken wrap and bacon egg McMuffin, I was satisfied.
Our next stop was at a petrol station roadhouse, where some of us bought hot chips to share, some bought chocolate milk, lollies and other snacks. We had a good stretch and hopped back on the bus. We’ve seen many beautiful fields, clear skies, had some good chats and relaxed.
Right now, we are on the way to our last stop before the school – Tammin Roadhouse. Nearly everyone is asleep, and as I write, I reflect on the week behind us and know that it had shaped all of our hearts for the better. Though we experienced many downs, the countless ups made every moment worth it.
Final words from Mr Taylor
It’s been an awesome week with many wonderful stories. Our students have made connections with the kids of Leonora and had opportunity to share testimonies, pray, and spend time showing God’s love. On Sunday, I shared with the students a quote from a book by Christopher Wright who defined mission as, “Our committed participation as God’s people, at God’s invitation and command, in God’s own mission within the history of God’s world for the redemption of all creation.”
This is the context for our mission trip to Leonora, it is participating in God’s mission. As we leave, we take heart knowing that He will continue to water the seeds we have sown through His word and through the power of His Spirit. Please keep praying for the kids in Leonora and for the local church.
This trip doesn’t happy without lots of work from a whole lots of people and I want to take a moment to give them a shout out, so here goes.
A huge thanks to:
John, our reliable and ever willing bus driver, you demonstrate Christ’s heart through your willingness and eagerness to serve.
And Linda, the super granny who kept looked after our kids while Mrs Taylor and I ran the program.
Mrs Howard, a wealth of wisdom, the most reassuring presence, and someone who is never phased by anything that comes our way.
Mr and Mrs Classen, the power couple who work constantly behind the scenes making everything flow; DJ’ing, bass playing, dish cleaning, organising, prepping, serving, and giving your testimonies both through your actions and in your words (thanks again Conrad!).
Sam and Allira, the soon to be Mr and Mrs Fernandez; never have we met two more hard working, reliable, trustworthy, and servant hearted people and we are continually thankful for your commitment to this mission, our students, and the kids of Leonora. A big thank you to Sam for capturing some of the moments across the week of the blog and big prayers that you are feeling better soon.
Sam and Kev Downes, the greatest camp cooks around! Sam and Kev have fed us and kept us entertained across the week with the finest meals and desserts (first, seconds, and sometimes thirds!), it goes without saying that we could not run this trip without you!
The Hurren Family for joining in with the fun and making t-shirts for our children. It was a pleasure to have you join in with the team and get involved with your kids in the program. All the Hurren children have new friends in Year 10 🙂
Mr and Mrs Staer, Mark who mans the door and has a heart filled with passion for Jesus and drives a van that is a billboard for Jesus, Julie who makes that craft room tick and quietly goes about ensuring everything flows.
Daniel Staer (aka dancing Daniel), you are the ever present member of our team, you led our music team with expertise and your passion for Leonora, the kids, music, and discipling our students is such a blessing to everyone involved.
Jordan Ongkili, you came in and took on the role of games master with great enthusiasm. Thanks for making each day fun and injecting some new ideas to our game’s night and community night!
Ms Smoker, thank you for all your hard work in the lead up to the bush mission. We missed your presence on our trip this year but are so grateful for the preparation you did for us, especially all the last minute errands and tasks in the days before the trip!
Mrs Taylor, who works tirelessly for many terms planning and preparing, bringing all our exciting ideas into reality. Anyone who saw you working across the week can attest to your servant hearted leadership and your love for God that is poured out into the lives of the kids of Leonora. And thank for being my amazing wife!
The Year 10 students, wow! Our deep hope for students at Rehoboth is that they become young men and women who serve the Lord in His kingdom work and this week, we saw such a wonderful picture of what that looks like. You all committed yourselves and your unique giftings to the service of the kids of Leonora. You sat with them, talked with them, showed them loves, and most importantly pointed them to Jesus.
To the whole team, rest up and may the Lord God Almighty bless you in the week ahead as you recover and spend time with family and friends. Don’t forget those names of kids you met and continue to pray for them. Enjoy sleeping in your own bed and having a shower that doesn’t turn off every 10 seconds!