May 2013 News from the Pett Family serving in Arnhem Land North Australia with MAF International
Welcome to our first newsletter of the new year and a new format for our email newsletter. We hope you find it easy to read. Look out for the links which will take you to pages our recently-developed website.
Thank you for your continued interest and support for us as a family - we really value your partnership with us as we serve in this challenging, needy and isolated place.
What happened to the rain?
Christmas passed and we have experienced the hottest, dryest period for many years with very little rainfall, so we wondered “where is the wet season?”. It finally arrived in late March and lasted a only a week, but it still caused lots of disruption!
Highs and tropical lows
The church here at Galiwin'ku has had many ‘highs’ over the years, including a revival in 1979 which transformed the community from the inside out. Each year the church remembers this spiritual awakening in March with a Thanksgiving weekend. Over recent months a new local gospel band has been leading worship and evenings events around the community, and there has been a swelling of the Sunday congregation with younger people and more men. It is exciting to be part of this renewal.
A tropical low formed in the Gulf bringing wild winds. The church roof was holed by a falling tree, several houses were damaged, and an empty minibus was crushed. The low became tropical cyclone Oswald, which then continued down the eastern side of Australia bringing major flooding to Queensland and New South Wales. So that is where our rain went...
The Elcho Staff We are fully staffed again at Elcho Island with four pilots Arjan, Matt, Des and David (flying part-time).
The Paas family - Arjan, Aartje, Rachel (5), Thamar (3) and Ethan (1) - are continuing to settle in. Arjan took over as the Elcho Base Manager in January.
We welcomed the Vautier family - Des, Emily, Jack (7), Dominic (6) and Nevaeh (5) - in January, recently arrived from New Zealand. The family spent three months in nearby Yirrkala receiving technical and local orientation.
Matt Alcorn has been part of the Elcho team for the last four years. He will be leaving us soon to join the MAF team in Gove. He is restoring a classic Holden Ute (pickup) and needs to repaint and assemble it by July!
David is now able to concentrate on his Operations role, working from the home office, and to conduct check and training flights on behalf of the Chief Pilot. All MAF pilots undergo regular checks on meeting flight standards, and training to widen their skills.
The Arnhem Land program is understaffed at present in both pilot and engineering roles. This is putting a strain on the remaining staff and requires flexibility and wisdom to enable us to sustain our current services throughout the rest of this year.
Sunday School Restarts It is exciting to see the Sunday School activities restart this year. Ngandama, a very faithful lady, who has run Sunday School for years and years asked some of the younger ladies from the weekly Bible Study to take up the leadership. With support from Graham and Jen they are leading a group of 20-50 children each week.
Jonathan provides valuable technical support from home for the Sunday School, and all the family are still involved with the weekly market stall which provides resources for local Christians and funds towards specific needs such as an LCD projector for Wangarr (teaching and discipling) and a replacement 4WD vehicle for Margaret (Facilitator), both involved in the Co-ordinate program in East Arnhem Land.
Praying through the week.
That the Galiwin'ku Sunday School team who provide activities and teaching during the church service will be encouraged.
For protection and stamina for those MAF staff who work outside in the heat.
Ladies' Bible Study meets at our house each Tuesday from 4.30-6pm. Give thanks for this time of fellowship, study and challenge which has had such an impact on the ladies and also on their families.
The Yolngu mens' fellowship group which aims to meet weekly on Wednesday evening for talking, encouragement, prayer and Bible reading. Commitment and communication are proving to be difficult at present.
For effective outreach and teaching to the youth of Galiwin’ku to help them find real hope for the future.
That the Christian resources sold at the weekly market - books, CDs and DVDs - will inspire, challenge and teach the Yolngu about the love and grace found in Jesus.
For more mission staff, especially engineers, to join the MAF programs in the coming year.
So let us not become tired of doing good; for if we do not give up, the time will come when we will reap the harvest. ((GNT))
Capel Community St John's Newland St Mark's Kempshott St Michael's Brantham Lower Earley Baptist St Mary's Dunsfold Lilydale Baptist, VIC