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Volunteers aged from 5 to 75 joined together in the last week of April at Camp Geographe. Teams were formed and the weather remained fine and sunny. Old bunks, new bunks and miscellaneous items covered the lawns surrounding the cabins as the floor work was undertaken with enthusiasm.

Teenagers from Cornerstone Christian College assisted, doing heavy lifting, cooking, dishwashing and being available wherever needed.

Morning tea was followed by daily prayer, with Mobile Mission Maintenance sharing prayer needs and information on their ministry around the world. “This will be the highlight of our safari tour,” one MMM volunteer said.

Ministry and bookings have increased over the last five years as we improve the grounds and facilities here. SU is now making full use of all school holiday periods for Holiday and Breakaway camps. Praise God for the provision of this beautiful place, for funds to improve it and for the ministry that happens here!

Dianne Abbott

God has blessed us over the last 12 months in SU’s School Camping Ministry and is continuing to bless us with increased opportunities for ministry. In addition to more opportunities, the quality of the ministry, the outcomes, volunteer sustainability, and the experience for our volunteers continues to grow.

Stories such as the following are common place again in school camping:

“Throughout camp we looked particularly into servant leadership – such as how Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. The team had the idea to re-create this moment and let the students be served by us and their teachers. Our team and the deputy principal were on hands and knees washing the student’s feet before breakfast on the last day of camp. This had a powerful impact on the kids.” Lauren

It is our continued prayer that God blesses more schools and more young people through the SU school camping ministry over the next 12 months. With this in mind we launched our Christian Schools Camping Promotion in the lead up to the Christian Schools Australia WA Conference in July, at which SU exhibited, and Mike Bezant presented on the topic of School Camping with God. Please continue to pray for our team and the School Camping Ministry.

Mike Bezant

Over the last year we have been working on understanding and evaluating the impact of holiday camps and other SU programs. Joyce Arnott has put together a number of tools for gathering stories and evaluating programs. One of the tools is a camper feedback form. This form has been trialed and rolled out to summer and autumn holiday camps. The information collected will help Team leaders plan better programs and camps but it also captures the impact of holiday camps. The feedback forms are also used for followup of campers by providing them with bibles, connecting them with a church or youth group as well as connecting them with a leader they got on well with and helping them grow in their faith.

Joyce Arnott

SU Schools Ministry has been once again roller coaster of a journey where God has shown His faithfulness to us in this wonderful ministry. There have been many opportunities where our team leaders for school programs have gone above and beyond to ensure that they are able to have the chance to proclaim the Gospel. The SUPA clubs continue to persevere through a tough environment and are continuing to serve and love the kids that come.

The following is from one of our SUPA Clubs at Mundaring…

When reviewing the Bible verse Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength,” we asked, “who is the ‘I’ referring to?” A girl answered, “a person who trusts in Jesus.” We were thrilled with the understanding of God’s Word shown in this answer. Our group of children have shown deeper understanding of the Bible verses we are learning this term.

They have grasped the understanding that God loves everyone but can only help and strengthen those who have trusted in Him.

Dan Rodin

At SU WA we have a strong sense of the great privilege of being invited to work with God in his worldwide ministry of reconciling all people to himself (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). This also encourages us to seek and value partnership with other parts of the body of Christ; Christian schools, churches of all denominations and other parachurch ministries.

One such partnership is camps and community missions we run with TEAR; a Christian organisation who bring relief, effective development, and advocacy to those suffering under poverty and injustice. As a school chaplain I found students and staff with no experience of the gospel would often engage readily with such issues. When you explained the concept of human rights as we understand them today originated with Jesus, their interest was stirred in who Jesus really was.

With TEAR we have been exploring how to help high-school aged Christians grow in their understanding of God’s heart for justice and his concern for the poor and marginalised. In this way we hope to empower our young Christians in schools to be secure in the knowledge that no one has greater concern for bringing justice for all people than our God, and we, as his ambassadors, can be confident his Word and his Spirit equip us to serve those in need.

So far churches in three different denominations have shown interest in supporting training for their youth, and our first MAD workshop will take place in August this year. It joins our other activities with TEAR: AMUC (AMong the Urban Community), our local exposure mission camp for adults, and the annual MAD camp for senior school students. We acknowledge the work of SU staff Joyce and Paul, Steve McKinnon at TEAR and several key SU volunteers.

God very often uses AMUC and MAD to bring powerful transformation to those who attend as campers or leaders. As Jacqui Burgess, Youth Pastor at Subi Church, who have generously hosted MAD camp several times, said recently, “All Christian teenagers should do MAD camp. No, make that ALL Christians.” We say Amen!

Sally Howe & Taylor Cowper

A powerful impact of SU ministry is the way we empower young people for service in the kingdom of God.

Lawson, a team member of the Augusta Turner Family Festival with his family since 2013 began his connection with SU by attending a camp and Leavers in 2012. “I was encouraged by the leaders to take my faith more seriously and saw how God uses camp communities to build up his church”. “Those ten days in January are always a highlight of my year because of how our team pulls together to pull off such a jam-packed and Jesus-proclaiming program”. Lawson has learned skills in how to share his faith with young people and their families in a practical way. “Beach mission provides an amazing opportunity for me to see how God uses our team for his glory. I’m reminded of just how needy people are for Jesus, no matter if they live in a 3rd world country or the blissful South-West”. As a youth leader, his SU experience has helped him assess his leadership style under stress and taught him how to delegate.

“I’ve learned that saying “YES” to scary new challenges is the way to go! Sharing the Good News and being comfortable often do not go hand-in-hand. I learn the most and I’m at my most productive for the Gospel, when I stop doing just what is easy and jump into the deep end”.

Paul Edwards

These past 12 months together we have reached out and touched the hearts of young people and children with the gospel of Jesus. He met them on the Murray river, at Camp Geo, Maida Vale, Parkerville, Safety Bay, Harrisdale, Glen Echo, Albany, Dwellingup, Geraldton, Ningaloo, and Melbourne, just to name a few. Young lives have been transformed and others have commenced a journey of discovery and all these happen because SU is propelled by volunteers and supporters who make things happen.

An earnest thanks to everyone who responded to God’s prompting, whether as a volunteer, team supporter, ministry partner, or donor; we really appreciate your love and provision in helping impact the lives of children, young people and families across the state through SU WA.

Our income includes fees, bookings and donations and a timely bequest at Christmas significantly helped the ministry as we strove to meet the annual budget. We would appreciate your prayers that those who love the mission and ministry of Scripture Union and who may never have partnered through donating will this year decide to give.

Below, the financial breakdown displays that 86% of our expenditure during the last financial year was spent directly on ministry to young people, children, and families, along with staff. But of course, all of our expenditure is in aid of our ministry and aims as SU.

Lester Sutton

This year we’ve been blessed to have two interns join our staff team. Having interns involved in ministry, and around the office, adds a richness to the work of SU WA. Not only do they take care of a lot of the practical work involved in leading camps and programs, but their youthful exuberance transforms the office and reminds the rest of us that our work should be done from a place of joy –Jesus’ yoke is easy and his burden is light.

Suzanne: “This past few months I’ve really grown in knowing my own strengths and gifts. Before this year I never really got much feedback or support in things I did at work or with friends and this year people have really made me aware of the abilities God has given me.”

John: “My relationship with God has improved so much, being surrounded by Christians almost 24/7 and living my life for God and putting him first in everything I do.”

El Holmes

Our last SU News told the story of Flinders Bay Mission 2018. Here’s the backstory of how Flinders Bay Mission came to be.

Almost a decade ago, a group of long-term mission volunteers from Augusta Turner Family Festival were keen to engage more unreached Australians with the Good News of Jesus. As they pondered this, they were led to a caravan park just up the road in Augusta – the Flinders Bay Caravan Park. Once it was chosen as a potential mission place, a small group of people camped there one summer and got a feel for the caravan park.

They learnt that it had a very different feel to Turner’s Caravan Park and that the bulk of those camping there were ‘unreached’ families. As the group got a sense of the rhythms and people camping each January, they asked questions about how to connect with these holiday-makers and to share the Good News of Jesus with them.

They worked hard to learn from their years of summer mission experiences, but not be dictated to by them. The group decided to camp on different sites around the caravan park, rather than all together as is usual on Summer Missions. This gave them more natural connections with a broader range of people.

The new missioners were very conscious of being like the rest of the campers – not to ‘stand out’, except as followers of Jesus. They eat together as a team once a day but at other meals they eat at their separate campsites to enable more opportunity to connect with other campers over BBQs and to invite neighbouring campers for a meal. They run community activities like a movie night, a sandcastle competition and a bushdance and they look for opportunities to connect with people through activities like fishing, boating and sport.

Over time the team has explored what it looks like to proclaim the gospel as well as embody it. They’ve had powerful times sharing elements of the
Good News and testimonies of their lives being changed by Jesus at community events. This has often prompted further conversations with campers.

This style of mission requires each team member to be well equipped to share the Good News of Jesus in more informal and relational ways. We also ask the hard questions: Is what we are doing the best way to proclaim the gospel? This process enables us to embody the Gospel in the context of the Flinders Bay Caravan Park and is impacted by the gifts, personalities and experiences of new team members.

Following the example of Jesus, we go into the midst of people and become one of them (John 1:14) – we become all things to all people that some might come to know the Lord Jesus (1 Corinthians 9:22).

P.S. Are you inspired by this story of exploration and contextual gospel-sharing? That’s the SU way. We would love to journey with you to start a holiday mission or a mission in your local area. We already have a Kalbarri Mission coming soon! Talk with our Community Mission Coordinator today.

Rob Lampard has been volunteering with SU WA for many years – our Director Kent Morgan remembers Rob as his Sailing Camp leader in the nineties (see pic below, right!), and Rob and family are still serving strong. Rob recalls his first experience getting involved, and a moving memory from a recent Beach Mission.

After following other young Christian adults into leading with SU, Rob started considering this ministry more intentionally. “Serving on Beach Mission was more of an adult decision to really make a contribution to Kingdom work. I looked at my life and the way I spent my time and decided I needed to find opportunities to be involved in something that furthers God’s Kingdom.”

“Like anyone (I went) along for the first time to Beach Mission to see what it’s like – our kids were very little then. But from that, we just saw ‘OK this is clearly a way to be in contact with people who don’t know Jesus’. Somehow in some little or large way you can get them to think about who Jesus is.”

Rob relayed one particular instance of a young person moving unexpectedly closer to Jesus at Beach Mission.

“A few years back at Denmark, on one of the evenings after our activity that night, I was just sitting in our area outside the marquee. I had my bible with me, I wasn’t intending on sitting there for any quiet time, I just found myself there, flipping through pages fairly aimlessly. There was a crew of teenage boys in the park who had been known as the trouble-makers. They’d been kind of skirting round the edges of the teen program. I wasn’t really sure what they were looking for – but one of them spotted me out on the lawn and came over and asked me, ‘What are you reading?’ And so this very brief conversation ensued with me telling him it was the bible, he must have cottoned on… He asked me ‘How much of it have you read, front to back?’ and asked me about what the bible is.”

“There was no aggression, there was no hostility. Then right at that point one of our team leaders came out of the tent, and wandered over and was able to strike up a conversation and a few of the boys from his crew joined in that night in the gospel tent.”

“Did we see them get saved that night? No, but it was a remarkable moment. If you’d seen those boys in the beginning of the week, you wouldn’t believe they’d be in the tent by the end of the week. Something had happened. The prayer was that whatever they heard that night from the bible, there was a seed planted. That was one of those very unexpected moments.”

Over a few decades of leading Rob has noticed cultural changes, which missions have responded to and moved alongside, as have Rob and his family as they’ve joined in serving. “Beach missions are interesting things these days, they’re very different to what they used to be, cultural rules are a lot different, there are lots of things you could do then that you just can’t do now. But of course, God still is working regardless of all that.”