There is no doubt that last Summer was one of the most challenging ministry seasons due to the bush fires, excessive smoke and water restrictions. Interim State Director, Glenn Coombs, reports:
Yet there is so much to celebrate as SUFM, SUmmerife, SUmmerkids, Holiday Bible Clubs and Summer Camps were bursting with life, as thousands of passionate gospel-centred SU volunteers focused on sharing the love of Jesus, in all circumstances.
The testimonies have been pouring in about God turning up in surprising ways and people’s lives being changed for good. Here are a few:
“We had a lady pray to accept Jesus into her life with one of our team members. We also gave out many gospels, and whole Bibles. About seven people have continued to read these and they’re sending through the questions they have! For others, we pray that God will use his Word in their hands to accept Him into their lives.”SUmmerlife Byron Bay
“When we had no power at the park, we were able to practically help people, for example with food, water, first aid. We also saw lots of campers become more open to conversation when we were all stuck and the team was so creative in working out how to live without power and be useful in the park. We were very encouraged by so many answered prayers in terms of safety, health and protection over critical equipment.”Bawley Point SUFM
From Darkness to Light
Andrew Flaxman’s family and friends lost all their camping and surfing gear in the Summer South Coast bush fires, however, God rescued and provided for them in the most miraculous and surprising way. Glenn shares his story:
Andrew recounted to me (Glenn) that although he had been checking the proximity of the fires to their camping site on various apps all day, out of nowhere, the next thing they knew, they were running for their lives down to the water’s edge with a wall of flames behind them. All 11 of them were rescued by Michael Cripps and his son, Brett, in their small boat, who themselves were fleeing from their burning house. When they saw the Flaxman kids playing on the adjacent beach, with no idea of the danger they were facing, they quickly turned back to rescue them all.
When the Flaxmans finally returned to their camp site, after spending five hours in the Cripps’ small boat on Lake Conjola, they found that every one of their earthly camping and surfing possessions were now ash. Andrew said however, “We actually didn’t lose anything, we gained everything. Ours is a story of hope: our family was safe and God had declared, I AM WITH YOU!”
After a very uncomfortable evening, they headed into Lake Conjola the next day with no cash, phones, or showers. The kids were understandably restless. Andrew thought, ‘How will I provide for the family?’ He says, “And then I saw the most beautiful sight, the SUFM marquee. I am sure it was glowing. Immediately I knew we would be OK, we were safe. The team welcomed us, fed us, honoured us, loved on us and even offered us some cash to get by. I said to all my kids, ‘This is real Christianity in action.’ It was like being delivered from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light, an experience we will never forget.
Whilst I appreciate this is only a small sample that doesn’t give full insight into the incredible Summer ministry season, many of you would of course remember how so many teams gave practical help and hope during the volatile bush fire situation.
Counselling has been offered and provided for those affected during the bush fire season, and an independent review of all our bush fire policies and procedures is currently underway with the report due to be released in July 2020.
Read Emmanuel’s story
The SU family is made up some pretty amazing people who serve every year up and down the coast. We asked SU volunteer, Emmanuel Chua, what it was like to serve at his first SUFM over Summer – read his story!
Andrew’s story has been published with permission.
Read more . . .