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April 1, 2019

It was late and I was tired and hungry.

It had been a long night.  The clean-up was done, the youth leaders had all headed off and I just needed to pack the car and then youth was all done… home… and then bed. 

Maybe a snack?

I had barely eaten anything for dinner in my haste to get out the door… okay snack then bed.

"Wawa?"

An older Yolŋu man, white hair, dark skin sitting peacefully on the concrete outside of the church. Behind him, a Yolŋu woman asleep on the concrete with a bag under her head as a cushion.

"Yo" I replied

"Have you got any food?"

"Bäyŋu, sorry wawa.  I don't have any food with me." 

"mm"

I go to turn off the lights and lock up.

"Wawa?"

"Yo"

"Wawa…"

I turn to look at him and he pats the concrete next to him.  I comply and sit cross-legged on the ground.

He looks up briefly at the sky and says:

"Jesus said… we should give food to the hungry ones…. Give them food like with separated sheep and goats."

Wow, that was a new one. I had been humbugged before (pressured to give mone...

August 13, 2018

We cry tears of joy when we reflect on the miracle of Isla Joy Elizabeth Richards. When God creates new life, it is a miracle! For us, we have prayed and waited so long to see this promise that God gave us come into reality in our lives. We give Him all the glory for what He has done, His faithfulness and His fulfilled promises.

Isla Joy Elizabeth Richards arrived June 9 at 5:45am. Her birth was an incredible joy! We had my mum, Roslyn, come to stay with us and support us before and after the birth. The timing was perfect! I truly value and treasure having my mother present during the birth, and the reassurance and comfort she brought.

We have been overwhelmed by the support and blessings of so many people in the lead up to Isla's birth and in the time since! We had a beautiful baby shower in Melbourne last December which was a powerful time of encouragement to me in a time of incredible fear. For the first 20 weeks, I had not only suffered from severe morning sickness, but an incredible...

October 20, 2017

Tim has always valued his morning devotional time. We have experienced some amazing times together as Tim has led us in prayer, worship, and Bible reading. The more regularly we are willing to submit to this, the more we have been experiencing the presence of God and hearing His voice specifically for our situation.

Recently, Tim has been getting up before the sun to go for a run in the cool of the day. His route takes him around the houses, and then up the steep hill of Mount Saunders (also known as 'Nhulun' for which Nhulunbuy is named). At the top of this mount, there is a lookout a couple of stories high where you can see a 360 degree view of the town, mine, beaches, and lagoon. It is here that Tim stops to pray for the community. It is here that Tim belts out worship for God over the community!

As one of the youth prophesied recently, "God wants us to PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!" Tim was encouraged. He shared with the group of boys how God had been leading him to pray for the community and ca...

October 17, 2017

There are a number of people in the community who live outside of town on the beach. This is often called 'Long-grassing'. It is the idea of living on the fringe of the community, 'in the long grass' having no home and moving wherever needed to survive. These people in our community do not have houses, and cannot get them. They have been on waiting lists for years, often bumped off again and again because they do not respond to letters. They do not receive the letters. No one knows where to address them and they do not know that they are being sent.

Many of these individuals are also suffering from mental illness. Sometimes, this is the reason why they cannot return to their families and homelands. Sometimes, the mental illness comes from the long struggle of living on the edge of two cultures, living without, going hungry,  losing family.

There are many community service providers in our town, but there are always gaps. Often these individuals have tried to communicate with these servic...

September 21, 2017

Tonight, we were startled by loud crackling sound only to find the bush burning behind our house. It is the time for burning the bush; dry enough for the fire to stay alight and damp enough so it doesn't reach the canopy or move too quickly. This one obviously disturbed the neighbours because the fire department arrived to monitor it.

Having grown up in the bush, I am accustomed to preparing for/preventing bush fires in Victoria. It is still very strange to casually watch the bush burn!

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September 20, 2017

As everything is dry and brown from the dry season, these green fern-like plants stand out brightly. I'm sorry I have forgotten the name, but my Dhuway, Charmaine, tells me that they are a tree belonging to her clan.

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September 19, 2017

WARNING: Images may disturb some viewers. Video is of a kangaroo being gutted.

I completely understand that many people would find this video disturbing. I am sharing it because I found it incredibly interesting and was honoured that my Wawa (brothers) were eager to show me their skills. When you live off the land, this is part of the process. I have become comfortable with gutting fish, and have been eager to learn more the process of hunting. I used to ready the children's books 'Little House on the Prairie' that detail the butchering of animals, how is this any different?

I frequently laugh when it comes to hunting kangaroo. Thanks to the modern 4wd, it is very rare to go out looking for kangaroos. Hunting kangaroo just comes easily. When you drive 'the track' (the one main dirt road in and out of East Arnhem), it just happens. And thanks to the convenient bull bar, there is a very good place to keep one outside the vehicle when driving. Obviously, we are moving too fast for the flies...

September 18, 2017

Here are some videos and photos of Bukudal, this place of paradise! It is the homeland of our adopted family. Four generations have lived on this land since the Homeland Movement. Brayuwa is the oldest family member and leader. His father and mother and family walked on foot to this place with him when he was only two years old. For us, it takes three hours to drive!

You will also see the small island off the shore which has been affectionately name Brayuwa Island after him by the rest of the family.

The next oldest family member is Brayuwa's next brother Lolpungyi who has been organising the church services in Bukudal. We have been honoured to be included and able to visit on the weekends with the extended family and neighbouring homeland. We have been blessed by the gentle and quiet worship services as everyone sits in a circle, each bringing a word, song, or prayer.

The army style tents have been built on the homeland as a cultural education camp for school visits. My dhuway, Charmaine...

July 30, 2017

It's a really big deal when you parents come to visit on the other side of Australia. They probably could have traveled to Europe for less! But I was so blessed to hang out with my Mum, cook and work on projects together like we used to. And I was also blessed to go fishing with Paul! I didn't catch anything, but he did! Thanks for the fishing reel Paul :)

 And the best birthday cake ever!

July 29, 2017

This year I turned 30 years old.

And I had TWO PARTIES!

Here are some pics from my early birthday party at Mum and Dad Richards' house in Ringwood North, VIC.

And here are some pics from my birthday party on my the date of my birthday at our place in Nhulunbuy, NT. My Mum and Paul flew up especially for the event and my Mum made me the most amazing birthday cake ever! I didn't see it until the evening so I was surprised to find it in the shape of a butterfly! In the video below, you will see my Yapa (sister) Moipi who adopted me a few years ago. Back then, she gave me the Yolngu name 'Bunba' which means butterfly.

 Party Games!

Birthday Singing!

Speech, speech!

AND, Tim completely spoiled me! Now I just need to build a workbench :)

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