Scripture, study and song under the desert sky
Towards the end of April, the first FRM bush course for 2022 was held outside Mt Liebig community on the western edge of the greater MacDonnell Ranges, some 325km west of Alice Springs. Known locally as Watiyawanu, Mt Liebig is a go-between community for families with connections to Haasts Bluff, Papunya, Kintore and Kiwirrkura.
About 30 people were registered to attend, including FRM staff and volunteers, however, around 60 people turned up to participate in the study sessions, including many women and a group led by Pastor Russell Bryant who had travelled more than 2500km from the Yalata Community in South Australia.
The topic for the Bush Course was The Letters to the Seven Churches in the book of Revelation. During the day Dr Stephen Haar (senior lecturer and vice-principal at ALC) taught on Revelation 1–3, and Paul Traeger (FRM) interpreted into Luritja and David Strickland (from AuSIL) into Arrernte language.
‘God promises great blessing to those who listen, trust, and respond to the message of the Book of Revelation’ said Stephen reflecting on the course. ‘Pastors in the Centre wanted to learn more about how to read and teach what this beautiful book has to say for the Church; especially since it has been misunderstood and misused by many people in the past, and by people today.’
As with all bush course experiences, there are particular moments that stand out. For Stephen, one such moment occurred at lunch on the first day when more than 100 people turned up to share the meal; including one less welcome visitor - a king brown snake! ‘There was no shortage of advice in many languages about how to dispatch the danger. Thankfully, one senior Ingkata (pastor) was mighty in both word and deed.’
The next bush course ALC will lead in partnership with FRM, is scheduled for September.