From 7-11 December 2016, a team of seven from EFCA Lindfield (Alex So, Betty Chan, Charis Chan, David Chen, Joseph Chen, Stephen Yu, Sylvia Wei) joined up with an NTE Mission team from ECU (Evangelical Christian Union) to serve the church at Chester Hill.
It’s fair to say that even in five brief days, we saw God at work in many different ways for His kingdom. For the first few days, the team split in two, with some of us going to local train stations in Chester Hill and Sefton to hand out leaflets while others stayed at the church to chat to parents dropping off/picking up their kids from the school across the road. Praise God that we saw incredible fruit from the efforts of both teams. For example, although leafletting at the train station was energy-intensive (and required 7am starts!), God brought many people willing to stop in their tracks and engage in conversation with us. Indeed, we found that by leafletting at the same spot, twice a day, we earned the trust of some local commuters, so that by Friday morning/afternoon, we received a few “You’re still here! Okay, I’ll take a flyer”-type responses. It was a good reminder that things only happen by God’s timing, not ours, and that there is great value in persistence and engaging the community at a ground level.
Another excellent opportunity we had was to go door-knocking around the community. For some, this was a scary prospect, but we were encouraged hearing from Pastors Nate and Paul share about the many positive responses they had received door-knocking around the area in the past. And of course, God generously answered prayers and this is exactly what happened with us. In one instance, Sylvia and Danny Mullins were invited into a house where they had an hour-long conversation with a Muslim lady on ISIS, the sinful nature of humanity and the gospel of Jesus. Both parties were respectful of each other’s views and we were able to learn about what Muslim people thought about Christianity. Although we did not see the family turn up to the Sunday church service, we were thankful for the hospitality and generosity the family gave in welcoming a stranger into the house. God taught us to trust in Him and to be prayerfully dependent on His strength.
In addition to trying to present the gospel to everyone we came across, another goal was to invite the community to church on Sunday so that they could hear an evangelistic talk, partake in Sunday service, and join us for a Sunday fun-day lunch afterwards. As we stood by the welcoming table on Sunday morning, we were initially anxious – would anyone new actually turn up? They certainly did, and it was one of the highlights of the mission to watch new people streaming down the long church driveway towards church, many for the first time. As Pastor Nate emphasised when he welcomed everyone at the start of service, there were truly many, many nations all gathered together to worship, with people from places such as Syria, Lebanon, Vietnam, China, and so forth. The multiculturalism of the area was something we had heard about, and occasionally seen (and tasted!) during the week, but to see all these people gathered together was something special indeed. What a wonderful picture of God’s faithfulness to His Word (Isaiah 2:2) and reminder of what awaits in heaven!
Throughout the flurry of activity and conversation across the five days, something that struck us all was the centrality of prayer in all of our efforts. Virtually before and after every event, and in some cases, immediately after a good conversation, team members would gather together to pray and commit all things to God. We were also blessed with daily team time in which Pastors Nate and Paul opened the Scriptures with us and reminded us of how it is really God at work, and the privilege that comes from being used by Him. Team time was also a great opportunity to debrief, and as we went around the circle every-day sharing a highlight and prayer point, we were constantly struck by how the gospel continues to spread and also challenged as to where God might have us serve in the future.
Our team would like to thank everyone who made this mission possible, including Pastor Dave for his planning and leadership, Pastors Nate and Paul for their leadership as well hospitality from their families in billeting us, and the many people back home praying for and encouraging the team. We thank God for you all, but most of all, we thank God for His endless grace given to us through Jesus, and for the lessons learned and challenges given to us at Chester Hill.
Although the mission has ended, there is much of God’s work to be done. Please continue to pray for Chester Hill Anglican:
- That God will bring and unite more people from different ethnicities to the church
- That God will raise committed and faithful bible study leaders to teach the Word
- That the people in Chester Hill will come to know Christ and call Him as their Lord and Saviour