Day 5: The state of Tasmania
Wednesday, Day five of Hobart mission, was another encouraging day for us serving in Bellerive. As a team we have found ourselves quickly warming up to a culture down here which is very friendly; even when we are doorknocking and people don’t want anything to do with church, people are generally polite about it, often even at pains to not offend us in their rejection of our offer to talk about Jesus and church. Doorknocking is a daunting activity, but the attitude of those we have talked to so far has made it easier for us to persevere, by the grace of God.
Our Wednesday morning meeting was followed by a session with the Anglican Bishop of Tasmania, Richard Condie, who was appointed at the beginning of 2016. Those of us who had been at the “considering theological training” night the night before had heard him describe to us the state of the church in Tasmania, which, having had some struggles, has turned a corner and is now seeing some really exciting growth. One of the initiatives since his appointment has been to require lay people to undergo a level of training to be able to serve in certain roles in churches. In our meeting with him, we were encouraged by his humility and a number of helpful tips he gave us for sustainable lives and relationships in ministry.
Over lunch, Susan, Alan and Tom had the opportunity to go to the local primary school where they ran a kids lunchtime group for around 30 kids. It is unusual in Tasmania for a church to have the opportunity to teach in schools, but God in his providence helped a good relationship to form between the minister of St Mark’s and the principal of the school. During the session, Susan explained the story of Jesus and Nicodemus, and explained that the only way to get to heaven was to trust in Jesus. The kids then enjoyed an interactive quiz which helped to reinforce what they had learned throughout the story (and showed that they had been listening attentively!)
The afternoon had us heading once more out into the streets of Bellerive, seeking to engage with people in their homes about church and what they think about Jesus. By this point we had weary feet, but God opened up some great conversations, reaffirming to us that the fruits of these times of doorknocking are definitely not in our control, but are all the result of God going before us.
In the evening, our team members were able to join with three different connect groups. These were great times of fellowship and digging into God’s word, with some regular attendees curious about our experience of doorknocking so far, and one asking the question of why this isn’t more of a regular task of church attendees. It is awesome to see the desire of members of the church to get out there personally and engage with the community, and share what they believe with their friends and neighbours.
The state of Tasmania is definitely one that we are enjoying being a part of this week – and we are very ready to explore more of this great state tomorrow!
Please pray for:
- A great day off on Thursday
- Energy for our team as we come into the second half of mission
- Continued good relationship between the local primary school and the church
- The kids who attended the lunchtime group, that they would grasp clearly the gospel message
- Bishop Richard Condie as he continues to work alongside churches right across Tasmania