The Lord calls us to reach out, use our talents, evangelise, and cultivate enthusiasm for His work, rather than doing our ‘own pleasure’!
He is very patient toward each one of us, and we thank Him for that!
Though not fulfilling the goal of ‘Cooking Classes’ and ‘Public Evangelistic Outreach’ planned for the final part of 2018 (these will have to be rolled over into 2019), we have been engaged in some ongoing regular outreach in some areas within our ‘big’ state with ‘little’ people numbers!
Both regular visitors and members can vouch for the thoroughly enjoyable Sabbath times together at our one little Somerton Park Church hall, even through little things that may go wrong some times. During winter, (23/6/18) we experienced a major drop in power. Heaters were coming on, then going off, and church was getting rather cold. It was found that a transformer had finally ceased working (blown) after many decades of service, and so all transferred to the sunny dining room for our morning services till professional electricians could fix the problem, keeping the children entertained for a good hour or so. Our lunchroom service on the subject of True Religion and Relationships will not be soon forgotten. We cannot take our connection with our Creator for granted, and we all need to work together to solve problems. No more power problems after that, and nice to have a warm, rather than a cold lunch together (as the ovens and stoves came back to life).
We continue to ‘soldier on’ in nursing home visits. Our main nursing home patrons from Austral Tce, Morphettville, never get sick of listening to us. We can all attest that we get as much (or more) out of the sing-alongs as the older people, who listen and join in as much as they can. By God’s providence, we have a few enthusiastic musicians who help set the tone for the hearty singing and smiling faces all round. (We have violin, acoustic guitar, piano, saxophone, and clarinet.) Sr Janet is usually the one to lead out and tries her best to explain the story behind some of the well-known hymns. Because of our varied ethnic backgrounds there is usually someone amongst us who can connect with different cultures of those visited, from Dutch, to German, to Polish, Serbian, Indian, and even Australian!! (Visits have been made on 7/7, 3/11, and 15/12.)
The overall tenor of much of the sermons this last half of the year has been on the church as a close-knit family, working together, encouraging closer relationships with one another; and not getting too comfortable with our lives in order to serve others rather than ourselves. We have had the opportunity to put these lessons into practice in the following ways: regular visits of a brother in Adelaide Detention Centre for Immigrants; assisting another brother for his personal health and accommodation; communicating with and visiting a brother while in hospital for a few weeks and with his continuing health problems; assisting one another in areas of employment; and encouraging one another in the Prayer Meetings, which have not always been operating due to various reasons.
Actual letterboxing as a church has not taken place; but, praise the Lord, our brother living in Whyalla during this period, has had the privilege of distributing at least 7000 Present Truth Correspondence Course flyers, of which there have been a few requests. Our brother has also canvassed the area, door-knocking and offering The Great Controversy books for free. Some people have accepted the books. He plans to continue this work in both Port Lincoln and Port August in the new year (2019).
Social evenings, though infrequent, have been welcome, as an extension of the beautiful time in free open discussion on our Sabbath afternoons. We plan to make them more productive in the new year with planned discussion topics from between 2:00 and 2:30pm Sabbath afternoons. We do not usually have Youth Meetings as young people are not usually present. (Maybe we could re-name this time ‘Church-family-time’ with all our visitors and members welcome to present or address any item of interest or concern- Sabbaths are so precious as we often don’t see each other through the week.)
May the Lord bless each one of our Fields (and small church groups) as we reach out in the new year, and possibly learn from each other – Church Visitors Day (for direct church neighbours) as practiced in Schofields Church recently, was a brilliant success, with quite a few visitors!
May God bless us all in 2019!
~ Gary Southwell