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Years 10 and 11 Mission Trip to Far West NSW

On Friday 10 February a group of fifteen Years 10 and 11 girls headed out to the Far West NSW town of Brewarrina. The purpose of the trip was to support the ministry work of Pastor Isaac Gordon in Brewarrina and Pastor Henry Louie in Gilgandra. The girls were accompanied by Mrs Justine Collins and Mrs Amber Erasmus along with Mr Andrew McGillivray. The first part of the trip was to Brewarrina Christian School at the Gongolgon campus. The team were greeted by Mr and Mrs Turner and their children who are teaching at the school out there. The girls stayed in the girls dormitory with Mrs Collins and Mrs Erasmus. On the first night after unpacking the bus and trailer, a group of youth from Brewarrina came to the school campus along with a few of their youth leaders for a night of fellowship and a meal together. This was an opportunity to establish some friendships with the local youth. Both parties were a bit slow to warm up but as the night went on, conversations were struck up.

The next day after having a time of devotions (which they did each morning), the team went to a small community called Weilmoringle where they spent some of the afternoon with local Aboriginal elder, Josie Byno. Josie shared with the girls some of her memories of growing up in the area and how she used to spend her time as a child. She shared some of the challenges that she faced growing up as an Aboriginal person. The girls were captivated by her stories. After listening to Josie, everyone joined together in singing some worship songs, this was incredibly special. Later that afternoon, the girls spent a short time at the local pool where they enjoyed spending time together and with some of the locals.

On Sunday the team headed into town for church. One of the girls in the team shared her personal testimony to the church congregation which was a great encouragement to them. The team also sung a few items which were also a great blessing to the community. Pastor Isaac encouraged the congregation to never lose sight of Jesus. Following church, the team were treated to a beautiful meal prepared by Pastor Isaac’s wife, Eileen. It was an opportunity to sit with some of the congregation and build relationship. The girls also shared in evening church where three of the girls shared a testimony. The team stayed for a while after church building friendships with some of the local youth. As the team arrived back at the school, they stopped to look up into the night sky and wonder at God’s amazing creation. The sky was ablaze of brightly shining stars!

Early Monday morning, Mrs Collins and Mrs Erasmus took the girls for a walk around the 1200-acre property and enjoyed some time to share their experiences so far and strengthen connections with one another. The team also had the privilege of going with Pastor Isaac to the Old Mission site. The Brewarrina Mission was one of the biggest Missions in NSW and some 1500 people moved from up to 10 different tribal nations. Isaac shared some of the stories of the Old Mission and highlighted some of the commemorative plaques that told some of the stories from the mission. In the afternoon on Monday, the team broke up into three groups - sport, drama and craft where they worked with one of the GPCC leaders in running some activities for the students at Brewarrina Christian School. This gave Mr and Mrs Turner and the other teacher a bit of a break. The girls on the team did a marvellous job and the students thoroughly enjoyed their afternoon. As it was the team’s last night in Brewarrina, the locals were invited to come out to the school and have a meal and some fellowship. The highlight of the night was two of the girls on the team, Amelia and Katinka were baptised in the river on the school property by Pastor Isaac’s son, Doug. It was cause for great celebration and rejoicing. A great night of food and fellowship was had by all.

The team’s last day in Brewarrina was spent saying goodbye to the staff and students of Brewarrina Christian School and then spending the rest of the morning at the Brewarrina Aboriginal Museum. Local knowledge holder, Bradley Hardy took the students through the museum where he shared stories of his people’s culture, their history and the ancient fish traps. The girls were intrigued by what he shared. Having already packed earlier in the morning, the team headed to Gulargambone for the second half of the trip. After setting up camp at the Gulargambone Caravan Park, the girls settled in for a night of debriefing and fellowship as well as some testimonies which blessed those that heard them.

On Wednesday the team headed into Gilgandra to pick up Pastor Henry Louie and head out to some of the local sites where they would spend time sharing stories and listening to Henry tell of some of his life. The team spent time at Hickey’s Falls on the road to Coonabarabran as well as in the beautiful Warrumbungle National Park. That night, a number of the team shared their testimony around the campfire. These were a great source of encouragement to everyone.

After a restful night of camping, the girls went into town for a bit of Op shop shopping before heading into Pillaga to meet up with Pastor Henry again. The team all enjoyed a much-needed soak in the Pillaga Hot Bore Baths and a sausage sizzle with Pastor Henry and his wife Maria as well as some visitors from Sydney. After lunch the girls headed over to the church in Pillaga that Pastor Henry preaches in. It was a wonderful time of fellowship and Henry and the others were greatly blessed by the girls’ singing of some worship songs. Pastor Henry gave the girls some words of encouragement before having a prayer with them. After some words of encouragement by the staff, the girls settled in for an early night in preparation for the journey home the next day.

On the final day, the team stopped at Gligandra where they had a prayer with Pastor Henry and his wife Maria and headed back to GPCC where they were warmly greeted by family.

Special thanks to Mrs Collins and Mrs Erasmus who did an amazing job leading the girls through devotions and caring for them in a beautiful Christ-like manner. The girls were truly blessed to be led by such wonderful role models.

Mr Andrew McGillivray