Why isn't there this same interest and fascination for outreach to the indigenous community on this scale. I am an indigenous Australian and my family is the only indigenous family in our particular church that is run by two pastors spread over three congregations on the Tweed coast.
My husband and I cannot help sometimes to feel annoyed being told how important it is to go on mission and outreach to other countries when we have our own first Australians of this country living in similar conditions to third world countries and are in the same need to hear the Gospel as say anyone in Africa.
Do people even know there are indigenous communities that are close to big towns or cities that look just like poverty striken places in Africa. There are young indigenous children who have malnutrition who look just like those little orphan children with their big bellies, neglected and hungry, learning difficulties, suffer sexual and physical abuse on a daily basis, whose life expectancy is half that of white Australians. And saddest of all. most of them don't even get the chance to know the Lord.
That just doesn't sound right to me, especially in this country that people are currently risking their lives on boats to come here for asylum to this free country. Yet our native peoples are not considered a priority in our churches for outreach and missions. That doesn't sit well with me.
The Government (plural) doesn't and hasn't made it better, they seem to be part of the problem throwing funding at communities and thinking that is going to help. No amount of money can ever fix these problems, money does not have the power to heal, it does not have the power to fix broken souls and broken hearts, that, yes, believe it or not are still broken.
Our way of life before white man came has been destroyed, languages lost, identities lost, stories lost, land lost, songs lost, traditions lost, our culture lost and it was replaced by what white man bought over here on their boats.
What was it replaced by?
It was replaced with white man's alcohol, drugs, language and disease. We were a strong culture once, a strict culture with strong rules against sin, and now we are lost. Please, I am not saying that everything was perfect, but in my view, it was a whole lot better.
Now-days our men and women and some young people know more about alcohol and gambling than they do about their own culture. There were over 500 tribes spread over Australia and 500 different languages each unique to a different area and tribe. They know now more swear words than words in their native tongue. They now know more about where to score drugs than about what their totem is or their traditional customs.
I am not putting down my culture, and I sure wouldn't want anyone else too, I'm being honest because it shouldn't be an indigenous problem or a Government problem, it should be an issue and problem for every and all Australians and especially all Christians.
Our indigenous people are lost and they don't know the way back any more. But who does? Who is the one person that knows the way back? Knows how to lead them to the light? Who knows how to reach the the most stubborn heart? Who isn't afraid to walk through the valley of darkness, it sure isn't our politicians.
It's our Lord who leads us back to safety when we have gone astray; it's Him who knows we are worth it , it's him who knows the way; and Him who go chasing the one sheep in the flock that was lost and went astray while leaving the other ninety-nine while waiting for their shepherd.
It's Him, Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour who says that anything is possible for him who believes. Well, I say us as Christians and as a church, start showing our own first Australians the way, help them not to be lost any more, by showing them Jesus. Yes, it is always important to reach out overseas, but what about our own country?
What about trying to fix our own backyard before trying to fix everywhere else? By my family being the only indigenous family in our church says a lot. In my memory we have never been specifically taken aside and asked what we think can be done in outreach to other indigenous families or communities.
Nor, whether there is a definite need for short or long term missions to any number of outreach indigenous communities within Australia. It would be a lot less expensive than travelling overseas. Monitoring mission progress would help open the eyes to white Australia and Christians who have little or no idea about our indigenous peoples.
My husband and I have had deep conversations about this and how to plan it, but it's not something we can do alone and we feel it is very important as a church and as Christians how much it's needed to outreach to our indigenous people.
We are praying that others, especially in our own church, can see the need of Christ for their fellow Australians. This short list illustrates how limited outreach has been. (en.wikipedia.org)
I also need to acknowledge there have been stunning examples of our indigenous peoples achieving great heights in their chosen endeavours - lawyers, doctors, nurses, school teachers, pastors, politicians, Governors, tradesmen and mechanics, chefs, and a whole lot more. But in reality, these are such a tiny number.
Tisha Williams is an indigenous home maker and mother on the Gold Coast / Tweed. He husband Edward is an indigenous painter, training to be a carpenter and teaches their children his language and dream time stories which have parallels in the Bible.
Tisha Williams' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/tisha-williams.html