Art, Outreach, and Dreaming in Arnhem Land

Three organisations organize around the same goal; to share the Gospel with the people of Arnhem Land

Story and Photos by Charlene Neale.

Bremer Island is a small peaceful island of the northeast corner of Arnhem Land. It takes just 10 minutes to fly there. Once there you’ll find around 6 small houses, an airstrip, a small boat and a car or two!

The island is inhabited by about 25 Rirratjingu, a clan of the Yolngu tribe. One elder from the clan had invited us there for outreach and so with a request to go and the availability of a pilot and the aircraft MQR, a date was set to visit the island. MAF pilot Rhys Morrell, Fabio Zuglian (Pioneers) and Roger Latham (God’s dreaming ministry) teamed up for the day’s outreach not knowing what to expect but grateful for the opportunity to share the gospel with the community.

When they arrived it had been raining, and so the ladies were settled under the veranda. Some were busy weaving whilst others were gathering sticks. To break the ice Fabio joined in by attempting to weave also. It’s not the norm for men to weave but it was certainly a way to connect with the ladies there.

The team took along a God’s dreaming banner that was purchased by MAF. God’s dreaming is a unique and effective tool for Indigenous Christians and others to reach their families and the nations with a creative expression of the Kingdom of God. The artistic nature of the project combines the Indigenous peoples’ natural connection to story and art with Jesus Christ’s message of redemption.

The rain continued so it was great that Roger had some small A4 pocket sized booklets of God’s dreaming. He showed the ladies and shared God’s story with them from the beginning.

Lunchtime came so it was great that the team had brought along some sausages. As soon as the sausages came out all the men came out too. Among the men was another leader of the clan, a man that had recently been in jail and a teenage boy, so there was a real mix.

The sun made an appearance and so they rolled out the banner. Roger used the resource to tell the story and it was evident that the men were very interested. The 20m banner tells the whole story of the bible from creation. For those there that can’t read or write, storytelling is a huge part of their communication. On this very day on an isolated community in Arnhem Land these men heard about forgiveness and how Jesus died for them because God loves them. The men were asked for their thoughts and when they were asked if they wanted a personal relationship with the Lord, they said “yes” and so Roger led them in a prayer of salvation.

“They had a real desire to put their life back on track and this is just the beginning for them.” –Fabio Zuglian

Rhys, Fabio and Roger will continue to go back to encourage and support them. In fact a few weeks later the team returned to the Island to follow up with them.