We visited Lightning Ridge Community church, and the BCA Minister, David Piper, his wife Joanne and their 3 boys – Daniel 8, Luke 6, and Matthew 2.. We attended Sunday service –30 people including about 12 children. The congregation is of all ages and from numerous cultures. About half the congregation (and half the residents of Lightning Ridge) live in camps on the outskirts of the town, with no mains power or water laid on – a unique lifestyle. David conducted the service, and the sermon was preached by a visiting Papua New Guinean pastor, with music ably supplied by Joanne leading the singing, on keyboard and guitar. After church we joined the congregation for morning tea in the Sunday school area at the back of the church. Sunday night was a shared tea and Bible Study and Prayer in the Vicarage - Piper’s home behind the church.
The next few days Trev spent working through some jobs on a “wish list” that David had prepared for visiting BCA Nomads like us, as well as some jobs not on the list. At the Vicarage he fixed leaking taps in the kitchen and bathroom, and the noisy exhaust fan. He fixed the leaking guttering on the house, and finished repairs to some bench seats at the church. He also cleaned out the grease trap, cut down a couple of dead trees, and sprayed for weeds around the property.
I did some gardening, and mulching for Joanne. They are keen gardeners and have a thriving vege patch, green grass! and chooks. We had taken them some books (some from St Barts Library, and some childrens books), and spent time after school reading to the boys.
Digger Donovan had given us a couple of wooden toys – a dump truck and a digger – for the boys, and they were very well received.
We were able to take David and Joanne out to coffee one morning (yes, there is a great coffee shop in the Ridge!) and hear more about their ministry. The Pipers have lived in the Ridge for 9 years and are very involved in the community - School, Breakfast Club, Playgroup, Easter festival – where they seek to be a Christian presence. They always organise a float in the Easter Parade, to remind the community of the real meaning of Easter. David teaches Scripture (RI) in both the Primary and High School, and in the small outlying settlement of Goodooga. They are always available to people in need.
It was a privilege to spend time with the Pipers, on behalf of St Barts, and to briefly share in their busy lives , and learn what God is doing through them at Lightning Ridge.
Penny and Trevor Fuelling