Chats that include Jesus – Evangelism in today’s culture is HARD but not impossible

Growing up in a home of somewhat cynical/anti-religious stock, I’ve always been wary of those crazy Christian folk and any agenda they might have. Especially the ones in caravan parks in summer!

Evangelism in this culture is HARD. There are so many social barriers! Being honest, my initial thoughts of joining mission were probably more to wrangle a family holiday with some purpose and intentionality, (not much of a restful holiday, for the record).

However, my underlying hope was to find a meaningful way to connect in a thoroughly Australian context. To genuinely live out mission/evangelism/outreach in this unique cultural moment and setting. So, I was very privileged to experience a taste of that this year.

On the second day of mission, we ran our first nature story walk; a chance to walk children through the stories of Jesus, in his creation. It was great! During this activity, we made a connection with a mother and her two children.

The following morning, we ran a coffee cart – a great time of milling around and meeting fellow campers. It was during the coffee time that I was able to follow up from the story walk connection and began chatting to the mother. I was blown away by the warmth and honesty of the conversation as it quickly moved to deeper things.

She was interested in how we were living (homeschooling our kids, part of a small homechurch and living in an open home context with different people coming and going over the past five years). The beautiful thing about all of that is I literally have no reason for doing any of it, other than the calling of Jesus.

1 Peter 3:15: Always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

So, I got to tell her! Moreover, the questions kept coming: Why did you become a Christian as an adult? What convinced you? One of the few perks of growing up in an unbelieving home, especially a cynical one, is that you have to have some pretty solid reasons for changing your worldview, and lots of folk seem intrigued by that!

You’d be aware that ‘conversion’ often doesn’t happen in one conversation. However, I am hopeful seeds of life were planted. It was a wonderful joy to see God use the exhausting craziness of beach mission to build genuine connection and to have an opportunity to testify to the hope that I have.

Jaye Van Wollingen

Perfect Recipe for Human Happiness
Q&A with Naomi Pritchard; Naomi and family went on their first ever Flinders Family Festival recently and came back a-buzz.

  1. What propelled you to join the family festival team? I’m always up for a bit of adventure, and with Barb in the lead team I was confident she would run a great trip. I just felt like this was something I had to do, though I had no idea how to make it happen when I signed up (getting the right camping gear, organising, getting annual leave, admin forms and courses, pet care, camping with a family of 5, the list of excuses was endless!). I just felt I had to say yes and then give it to God. In the lead up I just kept giving it to Him to clear the road blocks and if it was something He meant for us to do, He would make it happen.
  2. Did you learn something new about yourself/being with other Christians/God?
  3. My husband just keeps thanking me for pushing us to have a go, as crazy as it sounded from the outset and as fullon as it was during. It was just the right mix of chaos and order – turns out that this fine balance is well documented as being a perfect recipe for human happiness. We felt challenged, out of our comfort zones, connected, supported and immersed in God’s work. So what did I learn? That I can be filthy dirty and yet so beautifully cleansed.
  4. What’s a highlight your family will remember? I think my bright pink towel will go down in Flinders camp history and is the illustration of a big lesson I needed to learn. I offered to do a group wash as I just had a small amount of things that needed cleaning. Didn’t think twice and just threw a pile of things in… turns out someone had a red singlet in there and it turned the whole wash, including a white towel of mine, a lovely shade of pink! OOOPS! But I learned:
    A. It’s just stuff, there are much more important things in life.
    B. Mistakes happen when you’re tired.
    C. I tend to help and give to the point of ridiculousness! Living in this intense environment is a fantastic way of identifying such personality traits. The personal growth that came out of this whole adventure will stay with me forever. Yes, I now treasure that pink towel and the bonds that were formed making it!