By Adrian Raethel - President
To say that we are having an extraordinary summer is a gross understatement. On top on crippling drought, we are acutely aware that a number of states across the country have experienced devastating bush fires resulting in the tragic loss of life, homes, businesses, livestock and native animals. However, we can be proud of the work that ADRA, Adventist Community Services and local churches have been engaged in to support their local communities through this difficult time. On top of the immediate Government grant, 30 Adventist families have received the emergency $500 cash payment from ADRA. Churches such as Dorrigo, Foster and Wingham have provided shelter for evacuated people, their animals and emergency services workers. Ten churches within our Conference have provided first responders and displaced residents with food and water. ADRA has supported each of the local churches serving their community with a $2000 grant. The Alstonville Senior Living kitchen has provided meals and water to local RFS personnel. We appreciate the ministry of David Haupt as the Conference ADRA and Adventist Community Services director in facilitating much of this support. One of the 4 key focus areas of the Conference strategic plan is “Serving Humanity” and we thank all church members for their tireless service to their local communities.
In mid December, the Australian Union Conference (AUC) president Pr Jorge Munoz requested that churches across the country participate in a week of special prayer for rain in drought affected areas. We praise God for the rain that has fallen, particularly across some of the fire grounds but so much more is needed, especially in rural areas and across the water catchments. Tens of thousands of Christians around Australia are praying for rain. God hears every one of their prayers but significant rain has not yet fallen. I’m reminded of the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18. Jesus introduces the parable by stating that we should always pray and not lose heart (v.1). As an officer team, Abel, Russell and I invite you and your local church to continue to pray for rain. Choose a convenient Sabbath early in the new year to have a special prayer focus as part of the worship service. The chapter on Prayer in Steps to Christ provides excellent resource material on the conditions of prayer. These would be great discussion points.
As well as praying for rain, the AUC have 2 additional prayer requests that they have asked that we focus on:
- Praying for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit
- Praying for the various ministries that are operating around the country.
For example, by the time you read this, 4 summer camps would have been held at Yarrahapinni requiring a huge amount of planning, organization, energy and resources lead by the Youth Ministries team, Dana Howard and Blair Lemke.
In addition to Serving Humanity, the other key focus areas of the Conference strategic plan are:
- Growing spiritually
- Making disciples
- Proclaiming the gospel
As a new year gets under way at a rapid pace, how am I working towards these goals in my own life, in my family? What plans does my local church have in place to address at least one area?
Wishing you God’s continued rich blessing for 2020.