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City mission team encourages remote rural corps

City mission team encourages remote rural corps

City mission team encourages remote rural corps

10 February 2017

A "Youth with a Mission" team, connected to Brisbane's Stafford Corps are spending a week serving at the Narrabri Corps in Western NSW. From left to right: Tyler, Rahel, Beth (team leader), Stacey, and Liza. Tyler is from Colorado USA; Rahel from Dresden, Germany; Beth from Vancouver, Canada; Stacey is from Devon County, UK and Liza from Essen, Germany.

By Simone Worthing

“It’s easy to become insular when you’re this far away from everyone else,” said Lieutenant Belinda Cassie, Corps Officer at Narrabri, 500km north-west of Sydney and 1100km north of Melbourne.

“When we see others coming to us, and contributing to our ministry, our people don’t feel forgotten. They feel they’re part of something bigger and matter to others. This positive contact can be the difference between small isolated corps disappearing into oblivion or finding the spark to keep going.”

According to National Church Life surveys, at least 42 per cent of churches in Australia are located in rural settings (www.ncls.org.au/).

For the past week, a mission team of five from Youth With a Mission (YWAM), who are connected to The Salvation Army Stafford Corps in Brisbane through one of its members, has encouraged and supported the Narrabri Corps and local community through its caring presence, hard work and positive encouragement.

“This was a response to a Facebook post last year, when I asked for a practically-minded team to partner in mission with us, who weren’t afraid to pick up a paintbrush and grab cleaning gear,” Belinda explained.

The team of five, all from overseas but currently living in Brisbane, has been engaged and ready to serve since they arrived in Narrabri on Saturday 4 February. On the first Sunday they drove 100km with Belinda to Moree Corps, where they led the Sunday meeting and shared a fellowship lunch with the congregation afterwards.

The team spent the few days painting the office block within the corps building and cleaning up the church building so the area can be renovated.

Sanding, cleaning and painting was a big part of the team's job, which they enthusiastically carried out.

A special visit to the local Robert Young Nursing Home was also on the team’s agenda. They sang to the residents, told their individual stories, and spent time listening to the residents. “As I was leaving, the activities officer told me that this was a morning the residents won’t forget,” said Belinda. “The fact that these young people would hold the hands of these elderly people and listen to their stories, has left such a positive mark.”

On Thursday 9 February, the team assisted with two new corps initiatives – Kidzone, a weekly after-school club for children in grades 3-6, followed by a community dinner.

Eight children came to the first Kidzone, where the team played board games with them, served afternoon tea, led a Bible spot, listened to the children tell their news, and organised craft.

A regular community dinner will follow Kidzone each week. When this initiative began late last year, it was mostly grandmothers bringing their grandchildren who attended. “There are a lot of fractured families, drugs and alcohol issues and violence in this town, so the kids really love having a safe adult around them who is showing them the love of Jesus, listening to them and being genuinely positive and encouraging,” Belinda shared. “At our pre-Christmas dinner we had nine adults and 16 kids. The kids have really gravitated to this space.

“Having the team to help me this week has been a huge blessing to me personally, and to those attending our events, including our volunteers at the Family Store. It shows us all that there are people beyond Narrabri who care about us – and that is a huge thing.”
The Gosford Corps on the Central Coast of NSW, where Belinda completed her out-training as a second-year cadet, has also reached out to support the Narrabri Corps, including running a kitchen drive to provide new utensils, crockery and cutlery for the corps.

“A couple of people from Gosford have also come out to support us which has been hugely encouraging and a real blessing,” Belinda said. “Our people know for sure that they are part of something bigger and are not so isolated and it gives us all the spark we need to keep going and do our absolute best for this community.”

For more information, connect to The Salvation Army Narrabri on Facebook.

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